Bear Hunting In Georgia

Bears sometimes seem like humans. Maybe it is because they can simultaneously stand, create havoc, and be cute. But what sets them apart is their beautiful dense hair coat and wild behavior.

Unpredictable and sometimes considered silly, hunters love some bears. And when discussing bears, how can we not mention the bears of the gorgeous Southern state of Georgia?

Georgia lies in the United States of America, and hunters worldwide know this place for their annual event titled bear hunting in Georgia. The practice is common, and many people globally dream of this event. Although a fairly big game to hunt, bears are among many wild hunters.

So, if you want to know more about all the important information surrounding bear hunting in Georgia, continue reading this fantastic article.

The Type Of Bear

Types of BEAR IN USA

Before we jump into bear hunting in Georgia, let us know about bears. We mean, what is there not to like? This article could be hundreds of pages long if we include all the interesting facts about bears. But don’t worry; we include only the essentials that will help in your next big hunt.

With its amazing geographic feature, you might guess that Georgia might be filled with bears. But the reality is quite the opposite. Did you know that Georgia, a Southern American state, has only one type of bear? At least what we know of.

The name of that bear is the American black bear. Also, you might assume that the presence of only American black bears is quite uncanny. What about grizzly bears or brown bears?

Grizzly or brown bears are native only to northwest and northern Canada. So, if you participate in the bear hunting in Georgia program, expect to take only the American black bear home.

Going into the details about the American black bear, you will find another type of bear in Georgia, which is also a subspecies of the American black bear. The Florida black bear is also found in Georgia.

The Florida black bear has slightly different genetics and skeletal features than the American black bear. And that is how you can differentiate between these very similar-looking bears.

Distinguishing Features

flORIDA BLACK BEAR

Wondering where you can find the majestic American black bear? You can find them easily in the North Georgia mountains like Blue Ridge, Central Georgia near the Ocmulgee River, and South Georgia.

Also, in South Georgia, you can particularly see the Florida black bear. Additionally, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a hotspot for black bears.

Talking about the distinguishing features of the American black bears, they have a predominately black body. But their snout is either tan or blonde. Also, some of these black bears may have a splash of white or blonde on their chest.

They are also comparatively smaller than other species of bears. Their females can weigh only around 90 kilograms or 200 pounds. While the males are slightly larger weighing around 272 kilograms or 600 pounds.

If we measure these beauties from their head to their tail, their length will be 4 to 6 feet or around 1.2 to 1.8 meters. Also, the American black bears up North of Georgia are slightly bigger than in other regions.

Further, their population was estimated to be 5,100. The survey was done by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GNR). They are usually found hiding behind dense and lush vegetation. As they are shy species, they enjoy being alone.

Finally, they are omnivores meaning they feed on anything ranging from berries, fruits, acorns, grasses, and animal matter, including insects or mammals and even deer. Also, they sometimes love to eat human garbage too. Sounds familiar?

Season Dates

Black Bear Hunting Season Dates USA

Our article about bear hunting in Georgia will only be complete if we mention the 2022-23 season dates. Even though you might want to hunt these peculiar creatures all year long, there are some dates that you must follow strictly.

And as we mentioned above, bears are found in three different regions of Georgia, North, South, and Central.

So, the dates for these three regions also change according to the location. In addition, the season dates may differ according to your hunting equipment. So, let’s get started!

The Northern Bear Zone


Northern Black Bear zone.

First, let us know what constitutes the Northern bear zone of this Southern Georgian state. The Northern counties have different season dates in their bear hunting in Georgia program according to the weapon you use. This creates fairness and estimates the hunt’s toughness according to your weapon.

If you are using archery for your bear hunting in Georgia, your hunting dates are September 10, 2022, to January 8, 2023.

Further, if you are old school at heart and thinking of using primitive weapons in your hunt, go for the bear hunting from October 15 to October 21, 2022. Also, in the Northern Bear zone, only if you are a youth meaning 16 years old or younger, under the primitive weapon criteria, can you use a firearm. But make sure that the firearm is legal for hunting deer.

Finally, if your weapon of choice is something bad-ass like the firearms, your season hunting dates are October 22, 2022, to January 8, 2023.

* A tip: If you want to use your beloved hunting dogs as your hunting partner in your hunt, then it is restricted at least in the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Wildlife Management Area. However, stay current with this tip because it might change too.

Tagging Your Hunt

It is mandatory by the state of Georgia to report and tag your big hunt. Also, you need to submit a harvest record after hunting in the Northern Bear zone. After you hunt down a bear, you must immediately report it through the Georgia Game Check within 24 hours of your hunt.

Additionally, if you hunt a bear during bonus deer hunts, you must again report it through the Georgia Game Check. Then, it would be best to take your bear to the agencies where they will tag the kill.

Also, remember that you can only take three business days to take your bear as a whole or only its hide and head to the Game Management Office for tagging.

Finally, you can take your hunt to any of the Wildlife Management Areas of the Northern bear zone’s counties from 8 AM – 8 PM. Ensure the management areas are open for a bear or bonus deer hunt.

The Central Bear Zone

Georgia’s bear hunting season date for the Central bear zone is quite straightforward. Don’t get sad as you read this. You can only use firearms. But the season date is also much less than December 17, 2022. One day! If you are a pro-hunter, this won’t be a problem.

Like the Northern Bear zone, you cannot use your hunting dogs while hunting in the Central Bear zone. Also, thinking about hunting inside the Wildlife Management Areas? Then, think again because that is prohibited too.

Tagging Your Hunt

All the reporting and tagging of your hunted black bear must be ensured in Georgia’s Central Bear zone. The checking and tagging can be done at Oaky Woods Management Area. Do it immediately the day you hunt, from 12 to 9 PM.

The Southern Bear Zone

Unlike the variety of weapons, you can use in the glorious Northern Bear region of Georgia, you can only use firearms in the Southern Bear zone. Do not get sad, as we have exciting dates that will motivate you to start practicing on those firearms today!

The bear hunting in Georgia dates of the Southern bear zone are September 22 to September 24, September 29 to October 1, October 6 to October 8, and October 13 to October 15, 2022.

Quite a lot, isn’t it? We told you so.

The good news: If you cannot give up your hunting dogs, the Southern Bear zone might be a godsend because you can take your canine best friend. Unless and until you are not hunting the American black bear in Lanier and Lowndes counties.

Tagging Your Hunt

You also have to take care of reporting your great bear hunt while you are hunting at Georgia’s Southern bear zone. While reporting, you must at least have the bear’s hide and the skull, which must always be tagged.

After tagging, take your gorgeous hunt to either Fargo Georgia Forestry Commission Office or Folkston Georgia Forestry Commission Office. These two offices are open for tagging on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 AM to 7 PM. Also, if you are free on Saturdays or other hunt days except for Thursdays and Fridays, go from 12 to 9 PM.

You can also go to Dixon Memorial Wildlife Management Area to tag your black bear from September 29 to October 1. The time of your visit must be from 8 AM – 8 PM.

If you have any further queries, call 1-800-241-4113 or 912-262-3173 to ask about reporting harvested bears and arranging to tag.

See also:

Bag Limits

Bag Limits For Black Bear Hunting in Georgia

Ugh, bag limit, are we right? Do not make your heart small. They are there so you can hunt in every season without declining the bear population haphazardly. You can get through this, we promise.

Okay, the big stuff, the bag limit for hunting American black bears in Georgia’s Northern Bear zone is only two bears per hunting season. Also, you can take only one bear or hunt only one in Georgia’s Southern and Central bear zones.

Restrictions You Must Follow

What fun is there in hunting if there aren’t any restrictions while doing it? Restrictions constitute half of the fun while hunting Georgia’s bears. So, are you ready to read some exciting restrictions?

You cannot hunt a mama bear with a cub or cubs surrounding her. That makes sense, right?

You want the mother to take care of the cubs because, after some years, you will be able to hunt them. And if you hunt the mama bear, then those cubs will die. Survival is hard in the wild, my friend.

Then, you cannot kill any bear that weighs 75 pounds or around 34 kilograms or less. You don’t want to take a bear on the brink of dying from malnourishment because you deserve a strong, healthy bear whose head will look perfect on your mantle.

Last, you cannot use baits to hunt your targeted American black bear. Yes, that is right. Using any kind of bait is not admissible. Also, this adds to the level of fun of hunting those suckers.

Reasons For The Hunt

If you have ever wondered why you are allowed to hunt abroad in the world debating animal rights, then we have the answer. Sometimes one must kill to control the population; the same logic goes for hunting bears. The reasons behind the state of Georgia’s opening to hunt bears in Georgia are:

  1. To control the nuisances created by American black bears. The major havoc bears do is destroy garbage bins and outdoor pet feeders.
  1. It is one of the most popular recreational activities practiced in the United States of America. Many sports people enjoy this activity, and America is a free state that allows their fellow citizens to exercise their right to hunt.
  2. Last but not least, to control and regulate the bear population. Controlling the bear population is important to reduce human-bear fatal interactions while allowing the bears to hunt in a more genetically advanced way by not fighting with each other.

The Bear Huntable Zones

There are many hunting zones in Georgia. But let us discuss the hunting zones opened for the 2022-23 season. These zones are almost the same every year but sometimes might differ.

In the Northern bear zone, the hunting zones are Gilmer, Dade, Catoosa, Whitfield, Walker, Fulton, Carroll, Douglas, Haralson, Polk, Paulding, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Walton, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, Hart, Franklin, Banks, Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Cherokee, Bartow, Floyd, Chattooga, Gordon, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Stephens, Habersham, Union, Towns, Rabun, Fannin, and Murray. There are forty in total.

Talking about the Southern bear zone, you can hunt in Lanier, Echlos, Lowndes, Clinch, Ware, Brantley, Charlton, and Camden. There are eight hunting zones in the South of Georgia.

Finally, the four hunting zones in the Central part of Georgia are Houston Bleckley, Twiggs, and Bibb.

Permitted Weapons

Permitted Weapons For Bear Hunting In Georgia Usa

Do you need clarification about the weapons you can use while bear hunting in Georgia? Then read this article as we try to remove all your confusion. So, get ready.

If you are an archer, you can use longbows, recurve bows, crossbows, and compound bows. These weapons are not only for bears but also for feral hogs. However, the bow you will use to hunt bears must be of broadhead type.

For primitive weapons, you can either use a muzzleloading firearm or a piece of archery equipment. Also, you can use a scope.

Further, firearms you can use either a modern rifle or a handgun. The handgun should have centrefire only, be .22-cal or larger, and have expanding bullets. In addition, if you are going to use a rifle, then the magazine capacity for rifles can be any.

Additionally, shotguns are permissible too. However, the shotgun must be 20 gauge or larger and should have buckshot or slugs.

If shotguns, modern rifles, or handguns aren’t your cup of tea, you can also use a muzzleloader. The muzzleloaders should be at least .44-cal. or larger. Also, you can use a muzzleloading shotgun 20 gauge or larger. Finally, you can use a scope easily for aiming.

Finally, if you were a convict with a criminal record, you are not legally allowed to have any firearm or muzzleloading firearm. However, if you have approval from the state to own any firearm, you can use it in bear hunting in Georgia.

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