Primitive deer season opens Oct. 9

Georgia’s primitive deer hunting season opens Oct. 9.

Deer hunters, will you be in the woods when the week-long primitive weapons deer hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 9?

Last year, 27,000 hunters took to the woods with muzzleloaders, bringing in nearly 7,000 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“Whether you hunt it with a flint lock, inline muzzleloader, crossbow, or long bow, the primitive weapons season is a great way to get a jump on deer season,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with the WRD Game Management Section. “White oaks will be dropping and mid-October is a great time to be in the woods. Youth hunters get a special opportunity during primitive weapons season, as they can use centerfire rifles during the entire week.”

Over 1 million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2021-22 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide at eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/.

Youth, under 16 years of age, may hunt deer with any legal deer firearm during Primitive Weapons Season, including during any wildlife management area primitive weapons hunts.

Quick Basics

During the primitive weapons season, hunters may use archery equipment, muzzleloading shotguns (20 gauge and larger) and muzzleloading firearms (.30 caliber or larger).

State law allows hunters to harvest up to 10 antlerless deer, and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, 1 inch or longer, on one side of the antlers) or a minimum 15-inch outside antler spread.

All deer hunters, including archers, are required to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during primitive weapons season. Scopes and other optical sighting devices are legal for muzzleloading firearms and archery equipment.

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

All deer hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check within 24 hours of harvest. Deer can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (which works regardless of cell service), at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.

Safety

Before heading to the woods, hunters should review important safety information, encourages the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

Primitive weapons, such as muzzleloaders, have specific safety use rules, beyond general firearms safety, that should be reviewed each year before heading to the woods. Following are recommendations to ensure a safe experience:

♦ Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.

♦ Use an intermediate device, such as a measure, to pour powder into a barrel.

♦ Keep flask and powder containers away from flames and sparks to prevent an accidental explosion.

♦ Use only powders specific to each muzzleloader and recommended by that firearms manufacturer.

♦ Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.

♦ The gun is safely unloaded only after removing the bullet, powder and percussion cap. If using a flintlock muzzleloader, remove the bullet and powder, and un-prime the flash pan.

♦ Use the recommended loading materials, the correct powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead material.

♦ Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.

♦ Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before capping and firing.

♦ Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish sparks.

♦ Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

♦ Read the owner’s manual and be familiar with its operation before using a muzzle-loading firearm.

♦ Handle every gun as if it was loaded.

♦ Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.

♦ Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.

All deer hunters, including archers, are required to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during primitive weapons season. Scopes and other optical sighting devices are legal for muzzleloading firearms and archery equipment.

For more on deer hunting, including finding a game processor, reviewing regulations, viewing maps (either sex day or the rut map), visit georgiawildlife.com/deer-info.

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