The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update on the deer hunting bill

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This probably won't interest a lot of you, but I had some requests.

HB 277 has been amended to split the state into hunting zones for baiting deer.

"
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Northern zone' means the northern zone for hunting deer with firearms as established pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 27-3-15.
(2) 'Southern zone' means the southern zone for hunting deer with firearms as established pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 27-3-15.

So what does Code Section 27-3-15 state? Prepare yourself to be un-enlightened. (and I have no idea why this is indenting at left.)

"(c) In accordance with subsection (b) of this Code section and as may be appropriate, based on sound wildlife management principles, the board is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations establishing open seasons on a state-wide, regional, or local basis and establishing daily and season bag limits."
 
Subsection (b) as mentioned above in (c) sets down seasons and bag limits for huntable critters in Georgia.
What does "the board" mean?

Georgia Code Section 27-1-2 - "(7) 'Board' means the Board of Natural Resources."
So, what does this mean? The General Assembly is passing the ball to the DNR Board to set where the Southern and the northern zones are located in Georgia.

Now if I was the kinda person who was capable of evil thoughts, I would point out the DNR could set the northern zone for the state at the Georgia-Florida border and everything below that to be the Southern zone. In other words, the DNR board could end-run around the issue and leave things exactly as they are. 

This would result in some DNR Board replacements I am sure since it goes against the spirit of the law, but stranger things have happened.

However, the law does provide some guidelines for setting zones. Older hunters like me may remember the state's divisions on dove hunting. That split put the northern zone in Crisp County, one county above Turner County where I presently reside.

Oppossum season in the north zone is that area north of and including Haralson, Paulding, Bartow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties.
 
Coon season in the north zone is that area north of and including Carroll, Fulton, Gwinnett, Barrow, Clarke, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro, Wilkes, and Lincoln counties.
 
I illustrate the present state divisions in the map at left. 
 
These lines are rough estimations. 

Top line - northern zone for opossum. 

Middle line - northern zone for coon.

So if I had to guess and based on my conversations with deer hunters around the state, I'd say the deer zone would be somewhere along the third line, in white.
 
Sheer speculation. Could be a lower or higher, but this appears to me, based on my talks with deer hunters, where the division over baiting begins.
 
Of course there is some fudging both ways. If the line is to move, I say it would come South rather than move north. A few counties South of that line, Dooly and Macon County comes to mind, are in Quality Buck Management programs and the DNR may not want to tamper unduly with that program.
 
I couldn't find, in my brief search, a list of counties that are QBM except for this 2007 report from Georgia Sportsman - "Two Georgia counties -- Dooly and Macon -- have countywide antler restrictions that help grow bigger deer. In those two counties, you may not take a buck with less than a 15-inch outside antler spread. Seven other counties -- Hancock, Harris, Meriwether, Montgomery, Randolph, Talbot and Troup -- require all bucks taken to have a minimum of four points on one side."
 
A lotta clubs and some landowners and WMAs do QBM as well.
 
Another option I see as quite likely, split the state according to regional DNR offices and their areas of responsibility. This is pretty close to my line, with some counties shifting a bit.
 
 My line and the DNR regional office lines track not too far off the Fall Line.
 
Regardless, the bill ain't passed yet, but I hope it does. When it does, we'll have to talk with DNR about where the division will be.
 
Updates as I get 'em. 

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete

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