Georgia is where the Blue Ridge Mountains end — and your bird hunting begins.
Most of northern Georgia is mountainous. As you head toward the coast, you get into the rolling Piedmont hills and finally to the flat plains of southern Georgia. You’ll find swamps down there, too, most notably Okefenokee Swamp.
While about 90 percent of Georgia is privately owned, there are more than 100 wildlife management areas covering about one million acres. (Read How to Hunt Public Land Bobwhite Quail) The Private Lands Program is a means by which hunters can access private property. The program concerns more than just hunter access and involves plans like the Bobwhite Quail Initiative.
An annual resident license costs $15. Nonresidents pay $100, unless they prefer the $20 1-Day license. Additional days costs $6.
Northern Bobwhite Quail
Georgia has long been considered one of the best places to hunt quail in all of the country. And so much so in fact, that the state made the bobwhite the State Gamebird in 1970. Since then, however, populations have declined more than 85 percent. This drastic decline in population levels is partially the result of changes in habitat. As a response, the state of Georgia set up the Bobwhite Quail Initiative. In partnership with private land owners, the Bobwhite Quail Initiative seeks to bring back better habitat for quail. The region for northern bobwhites extends from the Blue Ridge Mountains down to the coast.
The season opens November 18 and closes February 28 with a daily bag limit of 12.
Up in the northern mountains of Georgia live the ruffed grouse. They prefer higher elevations and quite a bit of the Chattahoochee National Forest has good habitat for them. As far as public lands go, check out Coopers Creek, Rich Mountain and Chestatee for grouse hunting in Georgia.
The season opens October 15 and closes February 28 with a daily bag limit of 3.
Eastern populations of American woodcock have also declined quite a bit in recent years. Nevertheless, you should still be able to find the secretive American woodcock while bird hunting in Georgia. The American woodcock that migrate to Georgia do so from the middle of October to December. Woodcock go to roost in overgrown fields, early successional growth, and soft soil that holds earth worms.
The season opens December 9 and closes January 22 with a daily bag limit of 3.
(governed by federal migratory law. HIP survey required)
Other Species for Bird Hunting in Georgia
You can find a few other species for bird hunting in Georgia. You can hunt crow without any bag limits from November 4 to February 28. Mourning doves, which are abundant and live in diverse habitats throughout Georgia, have a daily bag limit of 15. Dove season is split into three parts: September 2 to 17, October 14 to November 2, and November 23 to January 15. For snipe, the best places to look are probably in the southern Hannahatchee, Chickasawhatchee, Elmodel, Horse Creek, and Flint River. Snipe season opens November 15 and closes February 28 with a daily bag limit of 8.
Related Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for Bird Hunting in Georgia
The Georgia Hunter Safety Course and Dog Training Regulations
Anyone born after 1960 must complete a hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to complete a hunter education course, but must be under the direct supervision of an adult. Hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 can hunt without direct supervision on many public lands as long as they complete a hunter education course. There are four approved websites where you can complete a hunter education course, all with varying fees.
Dog training for bird hunting in Georgia happens on the hunting dates for the species listed for each wildlife management area. As a result, the regulations for bird dog training in Georgia vary depending on where you are. You can train your dog on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests from August 15 to May 31. You may only use pigeons and pen-raised quail in designated areas. For a list of available wildlife management areas, go here.
The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division for the most up-to-date information on bird hunting in Georgia.