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Bear Hunting In Georgia

Hunting Methods:  Fair Chase - Hounding

In the 1930’s Georgia Black Bears were nearly eradicated due to hunting, poaching and habitat loss. As a result, the Georgia Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources made it illegal to kill bears in Georgia.


When Did Bear Hunting Start In Georgia?

Georgia's first bear hunting season opened in 1979.

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The State Of Georgia has three bear zones which include;

The Northern Bear Zone

The Central Bear Zone

The Southern Bear Zone

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Bear hunting season starts on September 9th in the Northern Bear Zone - (All counties north of and including Carroll, Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Walton, Barrow, Jackson, Madison and Hart counties).


Archery: Updating Info!

Primitive Weapons: Oct. 14 - Jan. 14

Firearms: Oct. 21 - Jan. 14

Central Bear Zone - (Bibb, Houston, and Twiggs counties) bear hunting season Jan 13, 2018

Firearms: Jan 13 Southern Bear Zone - (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Ware, Charlton, and Brantley Counties) bear hunting season is Sept. 21-23; Sept. 28-30; Oct. 5-7; Oct. 12-14

Firearms: Sept. 21-23; Sept. 28-30; Oct. 5-7; Oct. 12-14

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Crossbows, longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are allowed for hunting any game or feral hog. Arrows for hunting deer, bear, or wild hog must be broadhead type.


Primitive Weapons: Archery equipment and any muzzleloading rearm are legal during primitive weapons season. Scopes are legal.


Firearms: Modern Rifles and Handguns: Centerfire Only, .22-cal. or larger with expanding bullets. There is no restriction on magazine capacity for rifles.  Shotguns: 20-gauge or larger loaded with slugs or buckshot. Muzzleloaders: .44-cal. Or larger, or muzzleloading shotguns 20 gauge or larger. Scopes are legal.


Note: Convicted felons may not possess any firearm or muzzleloading firearm while hunting unless that individual’s right to carry has been restored.

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

It is prohibited to kill a female bear with cubs or cubs under 75 pounds.

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. Killing bears over bait is prohibited.


Note: Taking of any big game over bait is subject to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment up to 12 months.

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Georgia?

Yes. Hunting with dogs is allowed in Georgia’s Southern Bear Zone, except for Lanier and Lowndes Counties, where only still hunting is permitted.

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

In the Northern Bear, Zone hunters must report their kills within 24 hours, to the Wildlife Resources Division.


  • Hunters must bring bears to any Game Management Office within three business days of kill for tagging.

  • Killed bears may also be checked in at varying WMA check stations.

  • In the Central Bear Zone bears must be tagged and checked at the Oaky Woods WMA check station between 12 p.m.-9 p.m. on the day of the hunt.

  • In the Southern Bear Zone bears must be checked in and tagged at one of several check stations.

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division

When Does The Georgia Department Of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division Hold Their Meetings?

The DNR holds their meetings ten times a year. The dates and locations will be posted on the DNR website.


Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

The Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) invites the public to participate in meetings and provide input on the development of changes to current hunting regulations. Paramount to this process is the understanding that the Georgia General Assembly passes laws and the Board of Natural Resources passes regulations. Laws take precedence over regulations, and the Board can declare regulations only specific to the authority the General Assembly grants it.

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Georgia’s elected General Assembly Members have the power to vote on and change laws.


Mark Williams, Commissioner of the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources.


Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting

Bearwise -

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Safari Club International - Georgia Chapter -

Georgia Wildlife Federation -
Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation -

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