Opinion & Attitude Survey Toward Deer Management in Georgia

Land Ownership and Uses of Land

All respondents were asked if they own land in Georgia: 71% of the general population own land, and a slightly higher percentage of hunters (81%) own land.

A majority of landowners who own a tract of least 20 acres use the tract for farming (53%); substantial percentages of landowners of tracts of at least 20 acres use the tract for forestry (34%) or ranching (17%).

Agreement exceeded disagreement that landowners properly manage deer on their land in Georgia, although substantial percentages disagreed.

Respondents more often think the GDNR should provide more deer management assistance to private landowners than think the GDNR should provide less assistance.

  • The types of assistance desired of those who think the GDNR should provide more assistance to private landowners managing deer include technical assistance, education, and the development of deer habitat. A substantial percentage of landowners also said they desired law enforcement assistance.

An overwhelming percentage (80%) of landowners who own a tract of at least 20 acres personally deer hunt and/or allow others to deer hunt on their tract.

  • Of those owners of tracts of at least 20 acres who answered that they do not allow deer hunting, nearly a quarter (24%) previously had allowed deer hunting. These people who had allowed deer hunting but now do not cited poor behavior of hunters, trespassing, crowding, and legal liability as reasons that they stopped allowing deer hunting on the tract.
  • Those owners of tracts of at least 20 acres who allow deer hunting on their tract most commonly allow immediate family to hunt deer, followed closely by friends and acquaintances.
  • A large majority (74%) of owners of tracts of at least 20 acres do not charge a fee for others to hunt deer on their tract; 14% charge a fee.
  • A majority (53%) of owners of tracts of at least 20 acres said legal liability is a major concern when considering whether to allow hunting access, and an additional 25% said it is a minor concern (78% in total said legal liability is a concern).

Owners of tracts of at least 20 acres of land were asked about whether they agreed with three statements about allowing access to their land. Similar majorities disagreed with each statement (from 55% to 61%).

  • 61% disagreed that they would allow more hunting but are worried about excessive government intrusion.
  • 57% disagreed that they would be very likely to allow more deer hunting if they did not have to worry about legal liability issues.
  • 55% disagreed that they would be very likely to allow more deer hunting if they received a financial benefit for doing so.

Landowners were asked if they experienced problems with legal and illegal hunters, with and without dogs, on their land. A substantial percentages (22%) had experienced  problems with illegal hunters hunting without dogs. Otherwise, problems with hunters were low-7% or less.

  • The most common problems with hunters were trespassing, violating game laws, and damaging fences and/or leaving gates open. Lesser problems were unsafe behavior, littering, damaging structures, and discourteous behavior.
  • The problems caused by illegal hunters, with or without dogs, were considered major problems by a majority of landowners who had experienced problems. The problems caused by legal hunters, with or without dogs, were considered minor problems by a majority of landowners who had experienced problems.