Deer in the grass

A big buck hides in the tall grass on a clear fall afternoon. Hunters will meet Monday night at Armuchee High School to talk about potential changes in hunting regulations for the 2019-2020 season. / Gena Flanigen, contributed

The Department of natural Resources is interested in getting thoughts with respect to changes for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 hunting seasons.

Chuck Waters, the Region One Game management Division supervisor in Armuchee, said the meeting is designed to take comments from hunters, not necessarily a question and answer session.

“A lot of times when people sign in and indicate they want to make a comment, but when we go through the list it's just a question," Water said. "Afterwards, we'll take questions or comments from the floor. Once that winds down we'll be around for a while to talk with folks."

“Science provides the foundation for the development of hunting regulations. Additionally, public input is also important and valuable. It is our goal to maintain simple, easy-to-follow hunting regulations that are biologically appropriate while encouraging hunting participation, and maximizing management flexibility and opportunity,” said John Bowers, chief of the Game Management Section in a statement from DNR headquarters.

Waters said he is not anticipating many major changes to the regulations, but is aware that state game management officials are interested in getting hunters thoughts about either sex days for deer on national forest land.

"We don't have proposed regs yet, this is part of the process," Waters said. "We've got some ideas about what we want to do on Wildlife Management Areas internally."

The DNR is constantly seeking to maximize hunters opportunities for a quality hunting experience and chance to harvest a quality animal. In addition to deer, which attracts the largest group of hunters, the DNR is also interested in input related to other species, including turkey and bear.

Waters said most of the either sex day changes over the years have been a mixture of science and public meetings.

"There's more than one way to do something that is biologically sound," Waters said. "If there is a way to do it that meets the public desire, that's the way we want to go."

Hunters who are interested in dove, duck and waterfowl hunting need to be aware that many of the regulations for those species are controlled by federal authorities. Input regarding those species is pretty much limited to establishing the appropriate dates for the hunts, whether to run one long season or splitting up the hunting opportunities.

"We actively solicit input there, because we have to make regulations within the federal framework," Waters said.