Hunters’ input sought on future regulations

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By Crystal Ledford, Regional staff

As the Georgia Department of Natural Resources works to develop new hunting regulations, the public is invited to give their thoughts on the matter.

The DNR’s Wildlife Resources division will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8 in the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, located at 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd., in Cumming.

The meeting is one of eight being held throughout the state seeking input on development of hunting regulations for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 hunting seasons. Other meetings in North Georgia are set for Jan. 8 in Rock Spring and Jan. 10 in Clayton.

Input can also provided by mail or online through Jan. 18 at http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/SubmitComments

“Basically, this is the first part of our two-year regulations process,” said John Bowers, assistant chief of the game management section. “Part of our process is public participation, public involvement. This is one step in that process and this is the first step in that process.”

The purpose of the hunting regulations is to manage Georgia’s game birds and animals according to “sound principles of wildlife management and to meet public objectives for use of these renewable natural resources,” the DNR website states.

DNR officials commenting earlier this week on the deer season that ended Monday in North Georgia, said success rates have been up this year for hunters.

In years past, management area hunts generally yielded a 4 percent to 5 percent success rate for hunters. This year, that rate was between 8 percent and 10 percent, estimated Ken Riddleberger, game management region supervisor for the Northeast Georgia District of the DNR.

“If they’d like to see changes in the way we’re managing the deer herd, they can certainly provide that input to us,” Riddleberger said.

The DNR is currently overseeing duck season, which began in mid-November and runs through Jan. 27. After that, turkey season opens in March and rangers will then focus on the lake.

All participants at the meetings can present data, make statements or offer a viewpoint in writing.

Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement.

“These meetings are one opportunity for the public to provide input for us to consider in developing regulations, so if there’s something they would like to see changed, this is an opportunity to come and provide input,” Bowers said.

“Where we can, and where it’s biologically appropriate, we’ll incorporate public input into (the regulations).”

Bowers said the meeting will begin with about a 15-minute presentation, followed by the public comment portion.

“Once we’re done with that, the meeting becomes officially closed, but we’ll hang around … because people always have some questions and sometimes questions will come up in the input session.”

Those unable to attend any of the meetings may submit input electronically or in written statement form. All input must be submitted by Jan. 18.

“Clearly, we can’t have meetings in every town in the state, so we do try to rotate them around,” Bowers said.

“But at the same time, we recognize that not everybody can make it to a meeting.”

Written statements can be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: John W. Bowers; 2070 U.S. Highway 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025. Electronic statements can be submitted online.

Hunting regulations proposals will be available in April and will be considered by the Board of Natural Resources in May 2013.