GA DNR LE: Deer Firearms Season Almost Here – Hunt Safely, Respectfully and Turn in Poachers!

rangerhotlinenobkgdSOCIAL CIRCLE, GA – As firearms season for deer quickly approaches, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division reminds hunters to always put safety first, use courtesy, and to respect the property where you hunt. One more thing – obey the laws of the state because a lot more eyes may be watching.

“We are essentially enlisting all the citizens of Georgia with our new Ranger Hotline Program,” says Col. Eddie Henderson, director of DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “If you see a poacher, call the hotline number, 1-800-241-4113 or send an email to RangerHotline@dnr.state.ga.us and report it. The call or email is anonymous and if your tip leads to an arrest, you get a cash reward for certain violations. It’s as simple as that.”

The program is housed in The Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, which is a 501c3 organization. Therefore, anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support this worthwhile program can visit http://gadnrle.org/node/2 or send an email to rangerhotline@dnr.state.ga.us.

Poaching is legally defined as illegal shooting, trapping, or taking of game or fish from private or public property, but in the conservation law enforcement community a poacher is a thief who steals wildlife that belongs to all citizens, robbing them of recreational opportunities, like hunting, fishing or wildlife watching.

“Shooting deer at night or from a public road, hunting out of season or on private property without permission are all illegal activities and we will continue to aggressively enforce the state hunting laws, as always,” said Henderson. “Our goal is for everyone to enjoy their hunt safely and legally.”

Regarding safety, hunters should never cut corners. Wear the fluorescent orange, practice firearm safety, always be respectful of other hunters and property owners where you hunt, and use extreme caution when using a tree stand.

“Our Rangers respond to tree stand incidents regularly and most of them are avoidable,” said Henderson. “Remember to install it correctly, use a haul line to pull gear into the stand, always let someone know your whereabouts and when you will return, have a rescue plan and, by all means, wear a safety harness.”

A few other points to remember while hunting:
• Stay on established roads – do not operate any vehicle, including ATVs, within stream beds.
• Pack it in, pack it out – take your litter with you.
• Always be sure of your target and the area beyond the target.
• Secure landowner permission before hunting on private property.

Firearms season for deer begins on October 18th in Georgia.

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A Friendly Reminder to Buy Your Wildlife Tags

With recent law changes, tags give wildlife a better chance.  Thanks to new legislation, the wildlife license plates that provide critical funding for work involving nongame, northern bobwhites and trout will cost less and provide even more support.

After July 1 the cost of buying or renewing the eagle, hummingbird, quail and trout tags will be $25 and dedicates more than 75 percent of that fee to wildlife programs the plates benefit. The breakdown is that $19 of every plate purchase and $20 of each renewal will, by law, go to help conserve and manage native Georgia wildlife and natural habitats, from bald eagles to longleaf pine forests.

The support from these plates is critical, considering that the state does not provide general revenue for the core missions of DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, which conserves rare and other nongame wildlife, and the Bobwhite Quail Initiative, which is focused on restoring quail populations and habitats.

The three nongame plates – the eagle and hummingbird designs – account for more than half of all contributions to the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, the source of non-federal funding for the Nongame Conservation Section. The bobwhite, deer and turkey plate is the sole funding source for the Bobwhite Quail Initiative’s support for habitat restoration efforts on private lands – efforts that benefit bobwhites and a host of other game and nongame wildlife species.

DNR’s wildlife tags will soon give Georgia wildlife an even better chance, and this is your better chance to make a difference.

9th Annual Sportsmen’s Dinner and Auction to be Held on August 28, 2014

Don’t forget the 9th annual Sportsmen’s Dinner and Auction, which will again be held at GWF’s Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington.  It’s our “don’t miss event” of the year, and the agenda includes an old-fashioned pig-pickin’ and barbecue, raffles and auctions, and perhaps best of all fellowship with other sportsmen and women.

Make your reservations now, as seating is limited. Tickets are $50 each. Tables with seating for ten are $500. Those who purchase tables will be entered into a special gun raffle at the end of the evening. We’ll have tons of fun gifts on hand for the auction, so mark your calendars now to join us.

Annual Spring Georgia Water Coalition Meeting a Great Success

The annual spring Georgia Water Coalition meeting, hosted by the GWF at our Alcovy Conservation Center on June 5, was a great success. Seventy-six people attended, representing 46 of the 216 GWC partners groups. With our meeting room filled to near capacity, all manner of important topics were discussed, including the recent coastal marsh buffer rollbacks, a review of the 2014 Legislative Session, the July 1 expiration of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Moratorium, toxic groundwater pollution from legacy industrial sites, and a review of the Georgia Environmental Action Network (GEAN) and the Camo Coalition.

In between the morning and afternoon sessions, the group enjoyed a scrumptious Italian lunch at our Tupelo Pavilion before reconvening to revise the GWC 2013 Biennial Report: Recommendations for a healthy water future. To learn more about the GWC, visit www.gawater.org

Clay Shoot for Conservation Raises Funds for the Camo Coalition

The shooting and laughter were loud and boisterous, and when coupled with outstanding food and camaraderie, melded together for a successful Clay Shoot for Conservation. The 7th annual shoot, held at Burge Plantation near Mansfield on April 25, 2014, was hosted by the Georgia Wildlife Federation and chaired by former Governor Sonny Perdue.

A crowded field of 28 teams, comprised of more than 120 shooters from all across Georgia, enjoyed the excitement of the day against the backdrop of the historic plantation. A few bobwhite quail pranced the fields and woods around the shooting range and provided some locally colorful wildlife.

GWF would especially like to thank our major sponsors of Thomas D. Jones, CFP, and CSX. Without the help of our sponsors and donors, including The Meadows, Polywad, Cheng Ma, Beretta, Atlanta Braves, Adventure Outdoors, and Decoy Hy-Wyd, the shoot could not have been possible.

Most of all, GWF is proud of its enthusiastic team of volunteers, led by GWF’s own – and equally enthusiastic – Adam Schiavone, who all did a tremendous job of making sure the shoot ran smoothly.

Make plans now to join the GWF in the spring for next year’s eighth shoot.

Georgia Outdoor Map is Key to Year ‘Round Outdoor Activities

Want to know where to hunt, fish, camp, hike, boat, or just enjoy outdoor recreation in Georgia?  Have you ever wanted to explore the Peach State’s historic sites and town squares or archaeological sites?  Then be sure to check out the new Georgia Outdoor Map at www.GeorgiaOutdoorMap.com.

The easily-to-navigate map pinpoints locations for things to do in Georgia’s outdoors, from picnicking sites to boat ramps to wildlife watching spots to golf courses and everything in-between.  Bookmark it now to help plan your next afternoon away from the office, a weekend getaway, or even an entire month of outdoors fun.

The map, a creative new project from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is sure to come in handy as you plan your next outdoors adventure.  And to remind you again, the website is www.GeorgiaOutdoorMap.com.

Celebrating Earth Day at Mill Creek

On April 19, despite gusty winds and misty rain, GWF volunteers celebrated Earth Day by working diligently to clear Chinese privet from the Mill Creek nature trails. But, it wasn’t all work and no play, as participants were able to soak up the sights and sounds of the wetland through guided bird and nature walks.

Later that evening, Robert Hill from Zoo Atlanta headed a 2-hour night hike through the wetland. Of the six species of frogs thought to be on the property, four were spotted –  the spring peeper, and green, leopard, and gray treefrogs.