Deer season in Georgia may end this weekend, but Cpl. Chad Cox with the Department of Natural Resources hopes local hunters will continue to obey state laws and regulations.
Cox arrested three men in the early morning hours of Christmas Day for not following those rules, bringing the total number of hunters arrested in Polk County this deer season to seven.
In each instance, the people were charged with hunting deer at night, hunting upon or discharging weapons across a public road, and hunting from a vehicle.
Cox said while he couldn’t respond to the specific cases as they are pending in court, he did say that there are strict laws against shining bright lights — including vehicle headlights — into fields along roadways at night to try and draw out deer.
It can also cause deer to freeze in their tracks, making them easier targets, as a practice known as spotlighting, which is illegal and carries a heavy fine as well.
“You can’t shine a light from a vehicle into a field. That’s called blinding wildlife. And if you have a weapon in the vehicle, that’s called hunting at night,” Cox said. “It’s a big safety issue because you can’t see where your bullet goes at night. You can’t see what’s the backstop or past a field, and normally it’s where people do not have permission to hunt.”
The three men arrested on Christmas were from outside of the county. Two were listed as from Buchanan while the other was from Carrollton, according to Polk County Jail records. They were all released on bond.
Cox said deer begin moving out of the woods and into the fields as hunting becomes more common later in the season. Deer season in most of Georgia, including Polk County, ends Sunday, Jan. 10.
“When deer move out into the fields, some hunters get desperate and try to go out and get them any way they can,” Cox said.
He said Polk County has become a popular place to hunt deer and said the exact locations where hunting from the road has occurred varies.
“Some places might be where big deer have been spotted or there are a lot of deer. But we don’t really know,” Cox said.
Cox said anyone with questions about hunting laws and regulations can find a regulations book online at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com or at any local sporting goods store, including Walmart.
He also reminded hunters that they must take a hunter safety course before getting their hunting license. The JL Lester Wildlife Management Area at 2568 Antioch Road in Cedartown hosts a spring and fall course, with the spring course set for Feb. 23 and 25.
Pre-registration is required at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.