The use of dogs for hunting deer is a very popular and traditional form of hunting practiced throughout much of South Georgia. This year, Georgia's General Assembly passed House Bill 815 which served to address a variety of hunting related issues including the hunting of deer with dogs. For the first time, property owners and lessees will be required to obtain a permit from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) prior to hunting deer with dogs. WRD has worked with an advisory committee of interested landowners and dog hunters to develop an implementation plan and regulations for this new permitting program. Information on this page was developed to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this new law and associated permitting guidelines.
How did House Bill 815 change hunting deer with dogs in Georgia?
House Bill 815 was passed by the 2003 Georgia General Assembly and becomes effective July 1, 2003. This legislation changes the way the hunting of deer with dogs is conducted in three primary ways:
- Property owners or lessees desiring to hunt deer with dogs on their land must first obtain a WRD-issued permit
- Permitted property must contain at least 1,000 contiguous acres; and
- All dogs and vehicles used in deer hunts on the permitted property must be identified with the permit number.
Who initiated these changes?
In order to protect the long term future of deer hunting with dogs, the Georgia Dog Hunters Association, working with the House Game, Fish and Parks Committee, initiated and lobbied for this change in state law.
Why were these changes needed?
Until now, problems could only be addressed by changes in hunting regulations for most or all of a county. This legislation was designed to provide an improved mechanism for WRD to surgically address isolated problems associated with the hunting of deer with dogs while serving to preserve the privilege for those hunting in a legal and ethical manner. This tool will allow WRD to work jointly with area-hunting clubs and landowners to identify and address isolated conflicts and problem areas without requiring a county-level regulation change.
Will these changes affect the deer hunting season?
No. The number of days and locations open for hunting deer with dogs in Georgia have not changed from the previous year.
How much does a dog hunting permit cost?
The annual fee for the tract (or club) permit has been repealed.
Anyone 16 years of age and older is now required to obtain a deer-dog hunting license to legally hunt deer with dogs. The cost of this license is $5 and can be purchased where hunting licenses are sold. Honorary, Sportsmens, and Lifetime License holders must also obtain this license, however, there is no charge.
When and how can I apply for a permit?
Permit applications are available through regional Game Management and Law Enforcement offices annually after August 1st.
Does every hunter need a permit?
Anyone 16 years of age and older is now required to obtain a deer-dog hunting license to legally hunt deer with dogs. The cost of this license is $5 and can be purchased where hunting licenses are sold. Honorary, Sportsmens, and Lifetime License holders must also obtain this license, however, there is no charge. .
Is this new permit needed to hunt small game species with dogs?
No. Permits will be required only for hunting deer with dogs. A permit is not required to pursue rabbits, squirrel, quail or other game species in Georgia.
Can any piece of property be permitted for hunting deer with dogs?
Only properties lying within a county or that portion of a county open for deer hunting with dogs and containing a minimum of 1,000 contiguous acres are eligible for permits.
What if my property has a road that runs through it - does that mean it is not considered contiguous?
Regulations define "contiguous acres" to mean a single unit of land that may include multiple ownerships and may be transected by public roads, creeks, rivers or rights-of-way of any public service corporation. However, railway right-of-ways are owned & operated by the private railway companies that utilize them. Therefore, a tract bisected by a railway is considered two separate tracts requiring separate permits UNLESS the railway company provides written permission to hunt across their right-of-way.
Who can fill out the application and what does it include?
The applicant must be the landowner or lessee of deer hunting rights for the tract of land. Completed forms must include:
- Name, social security number, address and telephone number.
- List of hunters allowed to hunt on the permitted property.
- Printed names and signatures of ALL persons owning any portion of the tract or an authorized agent thereof.
- A written description of the tract boundaries and associated acreage. Acceptable documents are limited to certified plats, recorded deeds, surveys, tax maps or notarized leases.
- A map showing key features, including the boundary of the 1000 contiguous acres, public roads, streams and rights-of-way on or bordering property, occupied dwellings on adjacent property and points of access from public roads to be used by hunters and guests.
When do I need to submit my permit application?
Permit applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the first day for hunting deer with dogs on an eligible tract.
What type of identification do I need to hunt on permitted property?
Hunters using permitted land must both identify the dogs used and vehicles on the property:
- Dogs - All dogs used in deer hunting on permitted property must be identified at all times during the hunt with the owner's name and permit number for the tract being hunted. It is up to the individual dog owner as to how best mark their dogs with the required permit number. There is no size, color or other requirement for marking dogs.
- Vehicles - A decal or card showing the tract permit number in numerals not less than two inches high must be displayed in the front or rear windshield. If a vehicle lacks a front or back windshield, the tract permit number must be located in a prominent and visible location on the front or back of the vehicle (in numerals not less than two inches high).
- Hunters - Authorized hunters must be listed on the permit application. Guest hunters who are not listed must carry written permission on their person while hunting.
How long is the permit valid?
The permit is valid until the final day of dog deer season for the county in which the permitted tract is located.