Special to SEGAZINE
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division will expand by more than 1,390 acres the already 4,800-acre Oconee Wildlife Management Area in Greene and Hancock counties.
The agency said the addition is made up of three tracts of land that will enhance the Oconee WMA by increasing the availability of public land for hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.
“We are thrilled with these new additions to the Oconee WMA, as this will expand opportunities for hunters pursuing deer, turkey, and small game,” Dan Forster, Director of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, said in a statement. “Even better, no need to wait to use them – they are open now!”
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division staff will manage the new tracts for hunting in conjunction with the management of the natural habitat. The tracts are populated with a variety of wildlife inhabiting a mixture of hardwoods and planted pine stands, along with some large pasture area.
Hunting enthusiasts can immediately begin pursuing small game and deer under current Oconee WMA regulations, the wildlife agency said. Hunters pursuing deer may use archery equipment through Jan. 1, 2014. Firearms deer season is closed for this WMA. Small game hunting continues through Feb. 28, 2014. Additionally, several opportunities to hunt turkey are available in the spring. See page 48 of the current hunting regulations for more information.
State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.