Young Wildlife Does Not Need Rescue


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (June 13, 2016) – “Rescuing” an animal can sometimes cause more harm than good, even if done with the best of intentions. This is often the case when people come in contact with seemingly “orphaned” young wildlife, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“Young wildlife taken into captivity can lose their natural instincts and ability to survive in the wild,” explains John Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division chief of game management. “In most instances, there is an adult animal a short distance away and just out of your sight. Adult animals, such as deer, spend most of the day away from the immediate vicinity of their young to reduce the risk of a predator finding the young animal.”

The best thing people can do when they see a young animal, or in fact any wildlife, is to leave it alone exactly as they found it. Situations become much more complex, and sometimes pose a danger to the wildlife or people, when an animal is moved or taken into a home.

What If the Animal is Injured?

Persons not licensed and trained in wildlife rehabilitation should not attempt to care for wildlife. In fact, Georgia law prohibits the possession of most wildlife without a permit. If you encounter a seriously injured animal or an animal that clearly has been orphaned, please contact a local, licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

A list of licensed rehabilitators is available at (select “Special Permits” from the right hand side of the home page and scroll down to “Wildlife Rehabilitation”).

Why Wildlife Does NOT Belong in Your Home

Handling of any wildlife or bringing them into the home poses health risks for both people and domestic pets. Despite the fact that they may look healthy, wildlife can transmit life-threatening diseases such as rabies and can carry parasites such as roundworms, lice, fleas and ticks. Certain ticks transmit diseases such as ‘Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever’ and ‘Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness’ to humans.

Protect yourself and your family. Contact the local county health department and/or Wildlife Resources Division office if you encounter an animal such as a bat, fox, skunk, raccoon, coyote or bobcat that appears to show no fear of humans or dogs, or that seems to behave in a sick or abnormal manner (i.e. weaving, drooling, etc.). The animal may be afflicted with rabies, distemper or another disease. Do not attempt to feed or handle animals. Pets, livestock and humans should be kept away from the area where the animal was observed.

The two most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your pets from rabies is 1) get pets vaccinated and 2) avoid physical contact with wildlife. As another precautionary step, adults should instruct children to NEVER bring wildlife home.

A video about this topic is available at , click on “Videos” to find the title “Orphaned Wildlife in Georgia.”

For more information, visit, contact a local Wildlife Resources Division office ( or call (770) 918-6416.

Field Days Give “Next Step” in Hunter Education; Georgia Game Check-Turkey Season Results




SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA (June 9, 2016) – Completed Hunter Education – now what? Take your knowledge to the next level by attending a Hunter Education Field Day. These “hands-on” learning experiences give students a chance to build on the knowledge and skills gained in their initial hunter education course.

“While all of the hunter education courses available to Georgia students provide a beginning knowledge of hunting safety, firearms and other equipment, it is not usually a field experience,” says Walter Lane, hunter development program manager for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Field Days allow the student to handle a bow, a muzzleloader, rifle or shotgun and to test out safe ways to access a tree stand or to navigate in the woods – it really solidifies the experience much more than the course alone and is a great compliment to the initial instruction.”

Field Days include a live fire opportunity and field exercise and are designed for students who have completed and passed a hunter education course. Potential Instruction sessions include a combination of two of the following activities: rifle, archery, muzzleloading, orienteering, wildlife identification and tree stand safety.

Hunter Education Field Days typically take two hours and are available across the state. The Field Day events are free of charge. However, it is possible that the venue for the event may have a parking or usage fee.

For more information, visit



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (June 9, 2016) –Hunters participating in the spring 2016 turkey season, which ended May 15, had something new to remember, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division – the reporting of all harvested turkeys.

All turkey hunters, including those under 16 years of age, landowners, honorary, lifetime, and sportsman license holders, were required to obtain a free harvest record and to enter date and county of harvest prior to moving a harvested bird. Then, within 72 hours, they had to complete the reporting process through Georgia Game Check.

According to the Georgia Game Check System, the number of turkeys reported during the 2016 Georgia turkey season is 11,224. Based on previous year harvest estimates, it appears that approximately 40-45% of the actual statewide harvest was reported via the Georgia Game Check system.

“It is important to understand that this year’s results from the Georgia Game Check System do not represent the full statewide turkey harvest as this was the first year of required reporting. Certainly, there are some hunters that were unaware of this new system and did not participate,” said Tina Johannsen, Program Operations Manager with the Game Management Section of the Wildlife Resources Division. “However, while the number returned represents only the minimum number of harvested turkeys reported, the Game Check system is a real-time tracking of the harvest.”

Beyond minimum reported turkey harvest, the Georgia Game Check System also gives wildlife biologists additional data that provides other real-time information. This includes gobbler versus jakes harvest: 89% gobblers, 11 % jakes. Additionally, ninety-eight percent (98%) of turkeys reported were harvested with firearms, 1.7% with muzzleloader and nearly 0.4% with archery equipment. The reported turkeys harvested from public land was 1,461 (13% of total reported harvest).

The final annual estimate of statewide turkey harvest will be determined through an annual telephone survey that follows established and rigorous scientific protocols to ensure accuracy and confidence.

“We have had great feedback from hunters about Georgia Game Check and we anticipate improved cooperation as more hunters are informed and become familiar with the reporting requirement,” said Johannsen. “WRD will continue to educate hunters about Georgia Game Check in advance of the 2016-17 deer hunting season.”

For more information on the harvest record or the Georgia Game Check System, visit

GA DNR News Releases: Have Patience with Geese; Georgia Earns Three TopFishing/Boating Spots in Nation





SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA (June 8, 2016) – The Canada goose is an adaptable bird that can live in a variety of habitats, with many of those locations in close proximity to people, such as open farmland, rural reservoirs, suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas.  This ability to thrive sometimes leads to summertime frustration for landowners or land managers who may discover large areas of goose feathers and feces.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division asks people to be patient with geese during this time of year.

“Each summer, in late June and early July, geese go through a molting process during which they lose their flight feathers and are in the process of growing new ones,” says WRD State Waterfowl Biologist Greg Balkcom.  “We find that it is typically this time of year that the most complaints about goose feces and feathers are reported.”

So, what can you do if you have goose problems?  During most times of the year, geese can be scared away with the use of harassment techniques.  But because geese cannot fly during the molt, these techniques may not work.  During the molting season, WRD personnel encourage affected landowners and homeowners to be patient.  The new feathers will soon grow in, and the geese will regain their ability to fly and will likely move on.

However, if geese continue to cause problems, here are a few tips to try and reduce the trouble:

Harassment: Landowners who don’t want geese on their property can first try a variety of harassment techniques, including chemical repellents, mylar balloons, wire/string barriers, and noise makers.  These methods are proven to help reduce goose problems.  However, they require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100% effective.

  • Relocation or Lethal Methods: Homeowners who want to reduce or eliminate the goose population on their property can obtain a permit from their local WRD Game Management office (  This permit allows them to have geese captured and relocated to a suitable area or allows them to legally and lethally remove the animals.  The removal can be done by the homeowner or by a licensed nuisance wildlife trapper (list found

It is important to remember that Canada geese are a protected species under state and federal law. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase or possess Canada geese except according to Georgia’s migratory bird regulations.

For more information, visit the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at  For a brochure on a variety of methods of dealing with nuisance geese, (Select “Hunting”, “Game Management” and “Nuisance Canada Geese”).




 SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (June 8, 2016) — The Flat Creek Public Fishing Area, Marben Farms Public Fishing Area (Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center) and Red Top Mountain State Park have been recognized among the 2016 Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S., according to Take Me Fishing™, whose Top 100 list was released leading up to National Fishing and Boating Week. In total, locations in 29 states are represented in the Top 100.

“To secure three of the top 100 fishing spots in the Nation is a great nod to our amazing resources in Georgia,” said John Biagi, chief of the Fisheries Management Section.  “We encourage new and experienced anglers to periodically seek out new fishing spots and any of these three locations would be a great place to start!”

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign initiated the nationwide vote to provide families and outdoor enthusiasts with a recommended list of the best family-friendly places to experience the joys of boating and fishing as the weather warms up around the country. Criteria for the top places to fish and boat included having a public body of water within driving distances of a major city with good fishing opportunities, and family-friendly amenities. In years past, locations featured in the Top 100 list have received significant media exposure. Last year, the campaign as a whole earned more than 138 million impressions.

“The best way to enjoy fishing and boating is to find a special place to fish with family and friends, so we’re thrilled that so many people shared their favorite place to engage in this national pastime,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. “If you and your family haven’t tried fishing, we hope you’re nearby one of the Top 100 spots to cast away. It’s a great way to enjoy, conserve and restore our nation’s aquatic natural resources.”

Find out more about Georgia’s named three spots:

The release of Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 list kicks off the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW), which takes place June 4-12, 2016. All are encouraged to visit their local parks and other fishing spots, perhaps even one of the Top 100, during NFBW. Here are some other ways to celebrate:

  • Free Fishing Days 2016 – Most states will offer free fishing days for everyone to fish on public bodies of water without a fishing license. These days are the perfect opportunity for beginners to try fishing for the first time. June 4 and June 11 are both Free Fishing Days in Georgia.
  • #ReelFun Fishing Events – Kick-off events will be hosted at more than 1,000 Walmart® stores across the U.S. June 3 – 5. All ages and skill levels are invited to learn fishing tips from expert anglers, purchase a fishing license, and test their casting skills.
  • #FirstCatch – Create and capture moments fishing with family and friends, then share them with others online using #FirstCatch. #FirstCatch is Take Me Fishing’s initiative to help anglers come together and revel in the joys of fishing and boating by sharing their first fishing and boating memories – first catch of the day, first fish of the season or even the first catch of a lifetime.
  • Conservation through Participation – Buying a fishinglicense and registering a boat helps fund efforts to conserve our natural waterways through projects such as fisheries research, habitat improvement, fish stocking, aquatic education and fishing and boating access facilities such as docks and boat ramps.

For additional details on National Fishing and Boating Week, including Georgia’s Free Fishing Days, visit

 About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns to create awareness around boating, fishing and conservation, and educate people about the benefits of participation. Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites,, and, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.

For further information: Bruna Carincotte, 703-519-6917, [email protected]


Return of Iconic Eagle License Plate Aimed at Helping Wildlife


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Aug. 18, 2016) – If birds are singing in your yard and frogs are leaping in the local pond, it could be because one of Georgia’s most popular wildlife license plates is making a comeback.
A redesigned plate featuring a bald eagle and the U.S. flag is now available through county tag offices, the state Department of Natural Resources announced today.


This iconic combo is a throw-back to DNR’s smaller eagle-and-flag design that sold by the thousands from 2004 to 2013. Those tags, still common on cars and trucks, raised millions to conserve Georgia wildlife not legally hunted or fished for, as well as rare plants and natural habitats statewide.


Like DNR’s other five plates, the new eagle tag costs only $25 more than a standard plate to buy or renew. Most of those fees – up to 80 percent – are dedicated to wildlife. DNR eagle and hummingbird tags benefit the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, used to acquire habitat and conserve species, such as bald eagles. The number of eagle nests in Georgia has surged from zero in 1970 to more than 200 this year.


DNR Wildlife Resources Division Director Rusty Garrison said the new license plate will generate funds that enable the agency to better manage wildlife and serve constituents.


“Our mission is to conserve, enhance and promote Georgia’s wildlife resources, and this tag is going to help us do just that,” Garrison said.


The eagle-and-flag tag, created by DNR graphic artist Ryan Holt, replaces the flying eagle version, one of three DNR plates introduced in 2013 with designs that covered the full license plate. The flying eagle plates are still sold at county tag offices that have them in stock, but supplies are limited. Check with your office on availability.


Go to to learn more about the new eagle license plate. Upgrade to a DNR wildlife plate and show your support!


New Georgia Hunting Seasons & Regulations Guide Info




SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Aug. 3, 2016) –Beginning this month, the 2016-2017 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide is available online and in print, announces the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

This guide provides important information on season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, wildlife management areas, quota hunts, youth opportunities and much more. You may view, download and print the guide at . Pick up a printed copy at Wildlife Resources Division offices and license vendors throughout Georgia.

“We know that hunters eagerly anticipate the debut of this publication each year so that they can solidify hunting trips and more for the year,” said John Bowers, chief of Game Management. “We encourage all hunters, new or experienced, to take some time to review the publication to stay informed on any changes in hunting regulations and opportunities.”

Some of the major changes to the hunting regulations this year include:
Georgia Game Check: Beginning this deer hunting season, all hunters on both public and private lands must check their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Additionally, all hunters must download a Harvest Record available at All harvested deer can be reported by visiting, by calling 1-800-366-2661 or by downloading the GA Outdoors App.
· New Outdoors GA App: Purchase and store licenses, check your game harvest, locate properties and more with the new Outdoors GA App. Available now for both Android and iOS.
· Two new WMAs: Buck Shoals WMA (582 acres) in White County and Altama Plantation WMA (3,986 acres) in Glynn County.
· Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Seasons: No longer do bird-hunting enthusiasts have to wait for a later date for season announcements/bag limits/changes. Beginning with the 2016-2017 season, complete migratory bird and waterfowl seasons and regulations are now included in this publica­tion.

Members of the Board of Natural Resources enact hunting regulations by acting on recommendations made by the Division’s professional wildlife biologists and field personnel. Georgia’s game and fish laws are enacted by the elected members of the General Assembly.

For more information on Georgia hunting seasons and regulations, visit or contact a local Wildlife Resources Division office or call 770-918-6404.

The Latest Fishing Press Releases from the GA DNR Wildlife Division




SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (May 24, 2016) –Georgia lakes, rivers and ponds are waiting and what better time to get outdoors than during National Fishing and Boating Week, June 4-12, 2016, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Positive connections happen when families get together and enjoy outdoor recreation, such as boating and fishing,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries management. “Teaching a child to fish, or taking an outing on a boat can help build a conservation ethic, while also introducing an exciting activity you can enjoy for life.”

National Fishing and Boating Week began in 1979 as National Fishing Week and was created to recognize the tradition of fishing, to broaden the spirit of togetherness and to share the values and knowledge of today’s anglers with tomorrow’s anglers.

According to the National Fishing and Boating Week website, one of the main reasons people don’t go fishing or boating is because no one has invited them. YOU can help change this! Make it a mission during National Fishing and Boating Week, or the next time you go fishing, to take someone new: a child, a relative or a friend.

How to Celebrate!

· FREE FISHING DAYS: In the spirit of introducing new family members or friends to the sport of angling, Georgia offers two free fishing days during this special week – Sat., June 4 and Sat., June 11, 2016. On these days, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license or a trout license in order to fish. Residents can fish on any public waters in the state including lakes, streams, ponds and public fishing areas. Plus, residents do not need to obtain a wildlife management area license to fish on a public fishing area or on Waters Creek on these two free fishing days.

· FREE KIDS FISHING EVENTS: In addition to the two free fishing days, free kids fishing events are scheduled across the state during the week to help introduce children to fishing. These events offer a healthy form of entertainment for kids and provide an excellent opportunity for beginning anglers to learn from experienced volunteers. Many events offer prizes, free lunches and other fun-filled activities – so make plans to attend one!

For more information on National Fishing and Boating Week and all it has to offer, including the free fishing days, nearest kids fishing event or places to fish, visit .



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (May 24, 2016) –Fishing together with your child can build some powerful memories, so make this a summer to remember! Don’t know how to fish? No problem. Visit one of the many upcoming kids fishing events scheduled for spring and summer!

Kids fishing events typically take place at a location with a high successful catch rate and many events have on-site volunteers to provide assistance for those new to fishing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“There is nothing like watching a kid catch their first fish – and you could be the one that introduces that love of fishing for your child,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries management. “Kids fishing events are a great place to begin as they are organized and help you and your child get a feel for fishing before trying to ‘tackle’ it on your own.”

Research shows that most people are introduced to fishing by a family member, and most consider a family member to be their best fishing friend.

Kids fishing events are sponsored across the state and provide fishing assistance to both children (under age 16) and parents from knowledgeable instructors. The Wildlife Resources Division co-sponsors many events by providing channel catfish or trout to improve fishing, educational materials for participants and guidance for sponsors.

How do you find more information or local events? Visit Here you will find tips on fishing with kids, recommended places to go fish with children, a “kid’s first fish certificate,” and a link to a calendar where you can find local events.

For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit

Never Miss a Memory: Set Your Hunting and Fishing License To Auto-Renew


SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA (June 17, 2016) – Whether alone or with family and friends, fishing and hunting provides you with irreplaceable quality time and experiences. Now, you can rest assured you won’t miss a memory thanks to the new license auto-renew system.

“This new feature for license buyers guarantees that you will never miss the opportunity for your renewal discount,” said Dan Forster, Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. “Additionally, it provides you with the flexibility to renew all of your license privileges or select individual ones.”

Here is how it works:
1. Go to
2. Log Into Your Account
3. Activate the “switch” Next to Each License You Wish to Auto-Renew
4. Make Sure Your Credit Card on File is Up-to-Date

That is it! Once you are done, you will receive a confirmation email with a printable PDF of your license. Each year, you will get an email notification prior to auto-renew.

To purchase a hunting or fishing license or set up your licenses for auto-renew, visit

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