Upland Bird Hunting Opportunities in Georgia

Upland Bird Hunting Opportunities in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division does not have statewide population density estimates for northern bobwhites, ruffed grouse or American woodcock but does monitor population trends. Unfortunately, the trends have been down for these three species over the past several decades. These declines are due to large-scale changes in land use that have greatly reduced the abundance and distribution of native grasses, legumes, forbs, briars, shrubs, and woody vines (collectively referred to as early succession habitat) that is needed. Hunting has not and is not negatively impacting these populations and therefore seasons and bag limits have remained relatively stable.  General information is provided below on each of these species. 

NORTHERN BOBWHITES (GEORGIA'S STATE GAME BIRD)

Bobwhites occur at very high densities on the privately owned (non-commercial) plantations of Southwest Georgia and Northwest Florida. These plantations are intensively managed for high quality quail habitat and are not open to public hunting. 

Moderate to low-density wild populations occur across much of the extensively row crop farmed landscape in Georgia’s Upper Coastal Plain Physiographic Province. This zone of Central and Southwest Georgia is comprised of portions of about 69 counties from Waynesboro/Statesboro through Dublin/Fitzgerald and down to Camilla/Moultrie. WRD Private Lands Program wildlife biologists work with landowners in this area through Georgia’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative and through the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (a 35 state bobwhite recovery plan) to integrate bobwhite management into their farming and forestry operations.  This effort is funded primarily through the sale of Georgia’s BQI License Plate.  Many of these farms have stable or increasing quail populations. Hunters must obtain written permission prior to accessing private lands in Georgia.  

Quail Hunting Opportunities on State Lands

Some of Georgia’s best quail hunting on public land is in Game Management Region III on Di-Lane Wildlife Management Area, located in Burke County near Waynesboro. Quail hunting on Di-Lane is by quota only. Please consult the hunting regulations for instructions on how to apply for hunting on this and other WMAs with quota quail hunts.  A number of other WMAs have habitat conditions necessary to support low to moderate bobwhite densities. These include but are not limited to:

  • Region III: Clarks Hill WMA
  • Region IV: Blanton Creek, Clybel, Oaky Woods and Ocmulgee WMAs
  • Region V: Albany Nursery (quota), Elmodel, Lake Seminole, River Creek and Silver Lake WMAs

Call any WRD Region Office for more information.

Quail Hunting Opportunities on Federal Lands

Portions of the National Forest and refuge lands in central Georgia are managed for the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker through timber thinning and prescribed burning, which can provide fair quail habitat. For detailed information contact the appropriate office.

Always be sure to consult the hunting regulations for details about open dates and regulations for any species or area that you intend to hunt.

RUFFED GROUSE

The North Georgia Mountains are the southern most extension of the ruffed grouse range. Populations are very low and the birds occur mainly at moderate to high elevations and on sites where timber cutting has occurred during the last 15 years and/or in association with mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets. 

Grouse Hunting Opportunities on State Lands

Contact the Game Management Offices in Region I and II for details on which WMAs have the best grouse populations in Georgia:  Region I (Northwest Georgia/706-295-6041); Region II (Northeast Georgia/770-535-5700).   

AMERICAN WOODCOCK

These are migratory birds that winter in the south and use creek and river bottoms to probe for earthworms. They also utilize early successional habitats like young forest regeneration areas. 

Woodcock Hunting Opportunities on Federal Lands

Some of the best public woodcock hunting in Georgia occurs along creek and river bottoms of the Oconee National Forest. Contact the offices of the US Forest Service Chattahoochee/Oconee National Forest or Regions III and IV WRD Game Management Offices for additional details on hunting opportunity for this bird.

Always be sure to consult the hunting regulations for details about open dates and regulations for any species or area that you intend to hunt.

BIRD DOG TRAINING AREAS

Bird dog training is allowed year-round in designated areas on the following WMAs.  Training is allowed during daylight hours only or as otherwise specified.  Only pen-raised quail and pigeons may be released and harvested using shotguns with number six or small shot while training pointing, flushing and retrieving dogs.  Dog trainer must maintain proof of purchase if using pen-raised quail.

  • Region I: Allatoona, Berry College, Coosawattee, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain, J.L. Lester and Paulding Forest
  • Region II: Hart County
  • Region III: Alexander, Mead Farm and Walton Public Dove Field
  • Region IV: Ocmulgee WMA – Gum Swamp Creek Tract
  • Region V: Albany Nursery and Elmodel
  • Region VI: Beaverdam, Grand Bay and Horse Creek
  • Region VII: Penholoway Swamp and Richmond Hill

Call any WRD Region Office for more information.

 



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