Archery season opens to new rules on hunting over bait

  • Follow Rob Pavey

P our, wait, draw.

Video: Augusta Outdoors
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That’s what whitetail hunters in counties south of Augusta are doing this weekend, now that Georgia’s archery season is finally here.

The waiting and drawing of bows has been done for decades. It’s the pouring – of corn – that’s different this year.

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Nathan Deal added his signature May 5 to a new law that decriminalizes shooting deer over bait in the state’s Southern Zone.

Although the measure was opposed by our Wildlife Resources Division, the idea seemed to have support from hunters down south who need extra help getting a deer in their sights.

There are some stipulations.

No baiting is allowed on state or federal lands, including Fort Gordon and Georgia Wildlife Management Area sites. On private lands, the use of bait also requires written permission from the landowner.

If you’re hunting in Richmond or Columbia counties – or elsewhere in the Northern Zone – you’ll have to get your deer the old-fashioned way: with scouting, food plots and proper stand placement.

All ribbing aside, it will be interesting to see how the passage of the “baiting bill” affects harvest rates and hunting activity.

With much of the state in severe drought, and minimal late-summer browse available for deer, piles of legal corn are certain to generate some interest.

Last year,122,316 archery hunters harvested 66,352 deer, according to Department of Natural Resources estimates.

The archery season opened Saturday.

Primitive weapons season commences Oct. 15, followed by the regular firearms season that begins Oct. 22.

A complete explanation of the baiting rules is available online at: http://www.eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/georgia-baiting-laws-summary/.

QUAIL UNLIMITED: Financially beleaguered Quail Unlimited has been quite busy since the group closed its Edgefield headquarters two years ago.

In a letter to members last week, President Bill Bowles shared the encouraging news that the Edgefield property has finally been sold, and that a new office was donated in Albany, Ga., by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

The hospital’s foundation, Bowles added, also donated eight acres to QU for a new, permanent headquarters.

The organization has also reduced its vendor debt from $880,000 to $472,000 during the past 18 months, and has reduced debts owed to QU chapters from $226,800 to $74,900.

“This is certainly good news, but we realize that our recovery is not complete until all of QU’s obligations are honored,” the letter said, adding that the organization could have a stable financial position by next summer.

The coming months, Bowles added, are still critical to the group’s survival. Membership drives and fundraising banquets by chapters are essential for continued recovery.

For more details on the group, and its current programs, visit www.qu.org.

GOLF ANYONE?: HUNTforLIFE, a nonprofit group that provides hunting and fishing adventures to children with life-threatening illnesses, is planning a benefit golf tournament Oct. 27 at Jones Creek Golf Club.

The event will begin with lunch at noon, and a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Sponsorships are available, and donations of items for tournament and door prizes are also needed.

The organization was founded by Evans High School student and cancer survivor Tripp Boggus.

For more information, call (706) 955-3174 or e-mail deniseleathers@huntforlife.com or visit www.huntforlife.com.


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