Originally created 02/11/01

Public can sign up for Fort permit



Ever wish you could hunt at Fort Gordon?

The 56,000-acre base offers some of the best whitetail opportunities in the region and even has 7,000 acres set aside for trophy management.

Hunting permits normally are issued only to military and government employees and contractors. But once each year, the public has a chance to apply to purchase a limited number of permits.

Soon it will be time to apply.

"Typically, we'll get about 500 requests, and the drawing will be by computer," said Ken Boyd, the post's wildlife biologist. The drawing will choose 150 names.

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources handles the application process, which will be open from March 1-15. The drawing is scheduled for March 16 at the DNR office in Thomson.

Anyone interested in applying must send a letter requesting entry into the public-access drawing, and the letter must include a full name, address, date of birth, phone number and Social Security number.

The letters can be sent to: Georgia DNR, Game Management Division, 142 Bob Kirk Road, Thomson, Ga., 30824.

Fort Gordon issues about 1,200 hunting permits each year, which includes the public permits from the lottery drawing, Boyd said.

"The people who participate in it are a good crowd, and they recognize it's a privilege to participate," he said. "We always have more requests than we have permits."

LACKLUSTER LAKE LEVELS:

Don't count on full lakes and accessible boat ramps and beaches at Clarks Hill this spring.

That's the outlook from state climatologists, who predict a fourth consecutive year of drought.

The 70,000-acre lake now stands at 319.7 feet above sea level, which is more than 10 feet below full pool. About 15,000 acres normally covered by water are high and dry.

Harold Reheis, director of Georgia's Environmental Protection Division, already is issuing warnings that water conservation will reappear this year, perhaps on a statewide basis.

"We are still early in the year," he said. "However, our data shows little relief from the drought so far."

BOATING SAFETY SAVES LIVES:

South Carolina, which diligently has tightened its boating safety regulations and lowered its tolerance for boating under the influence, has some pleasing figures to report.

"Fifteen people died in boating accidents across the state in 2000," said Glen Ward, the state's boating safety and education supervisor. "That's the lowest ever on record in South Carolina."

By comparison, there were 18 boating fatalities in 1999, 28 fatalities in 1998, 34 in 1997 and 20 boating deaths in 1996.

NEXT WEEK - DAM BEAVERS:

What do willow, sweetgum, sycamore, cherry, oak, poplar and pine have in common?

OK, they're all trees. But what else?

They're all favorite snack foods for beavers - the dam-building rodents landowners love to hate.

Beavers can flood acres of timber and kill hundreds of trees in a matter of days. Their dams are engineering marvels that sometimes require heavy machinery - or even dynamite - to remove.

But left unattended, their indiscriminate reservoirs also can create habitat for waterfowl, otters and other animals. The dying timber left behind creates cavities for woodpeckers and other birds.

Next week, we'll tag along with trapper Keith Bowers of Aiken County to explore the fascinating world of these tree-toppling, nocturnal mammals.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119.