The Board of Natural Resources recently approved proposed changes to hunting regulations for the 2011-2013 hunting seasons and adopted proposed rules for the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass.
The purpose of hunting regulations are to manage Georgia's game birds and game animals according to the sound principles of wildlife management that achieve a balance between biological constraints and public objectives for the use of these renewable natural resources.
"Regarding hunting regulations, changes include eliminating biologically unnecessary regulations, simplifying regulations, expanding hunting opportunities where biologically appropriate and responding to public desires," says Assistant Chief of Game Management John W. Bowers. "Some of these changes include elimination of raccoon zone lines, expanding woodcock hunting season, providing a one-day bear season in certain central Georgia counties and expanding hunting opportunities on Wildlife Management Areas and State Parks."
The Board also adopted rules pertaining to the new Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP). A GORP will be required for individuals between 16 and 64 years of age using certain designated sites (e.g., shooting ranges and multi-use trails) on state-owned Wildlife Management Areas and Public Fishing areas. Individuals who possess a valid WMA license, lifetime sportsmen's license, honorary license and 3-Day Hunting & Fishing license are exempt from the requirement to purchase a GORP. The GORP fee schedule is as follows:
- Individual 3-Day GORP: $3.50
- Individual Annual GORP: $19.00
- Small Group 3-Day GORP: $10.00
- Small Group Annual GORP: $35.00
A small group is not more than 8 people who visit a designated recreation site in a single vehicle. The Group Pass should be displayed in the vehicle windshield. All GORPs will be available through the same licensing system used to issue hunting & fishing licenses. The GORP requirements will become effective January 1, 2012.
"Since the establishment of WMAs and PFAs, hunters and anglers have been the primary source of funding to maintain and operate these important and valuable conservation areas," says Bowers. "The establishment of the GORP seeks to increase the self-sufficiency of maintaining and operating WMAs and PFAs by capturing revenue from non-hunting and angling constituents who have used these areas for many years without contributing direct financial support."
Interested persons may view the approved regulation changes in electronic format by visiting the Division's website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com (select “Hunting” “Hunting Regulations” then “Proposed Hunting Regulations”). The annual popular guide, which provides a less formal presentation of the regulations, will be available by August 1 on the Division's website, at DNR offices, and at license vendors throughout Georgia.