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Georgia Looks To Get More Youth Involved In Local Hunting Traditions

Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR)

Getting younger kids interested in Georgia’s hunting scene is a goal of the state’s officials. They’re now trying to get youth involved in Georgia’s ongoing squirrel hunting season as well as create a first-of-its-kind turkey season just for kids.

Georgia’s squirrel hunting season is now underway and is expected to last through the end of February. Hunting the gray and fox squirrels native to the state has been an ongoing Georgia tradition for years. State Department of Natural Resources Biologist Greg Nelms says it wasn’t always that way, but they’re hoping to make it a tradition for youth.

“Interest has probably has waned quite a bit over several decades I guess, but it’s now gaining popularity, again as a way to get kids into hunting. It’s actually a good method for that, and quite a few are introduced that way,” said Nelms.

But, Nelms says they’re not stopping there. Georgia lawmakers recently passed legislation directing his department to establish a special turkey season for kids, age 16 and younger as well as mobility impaired persons.

“This is the first time we’ve ever put in anything like this for a specific group outside of an open statewide season. We do have specialty hunts on our state managed wildlife management areas, but this applies to the whole state. And, actually, only private-owned lands because we do have all these specialty hunts on our management areas,” Nelms added.

And, for this particular hunt, there are guidelines that must be followed as well.

“If they require anyone to go with them and help them, that individual can’t, in other words, hold a gun, do the actual hunting. Same with the accompanying adult. If you have dad go along with you and takes his nine-year-old, the child has to be doing the actual hunting.”

But, he says that same accompanying adult can still assist in the hunt, like calling the turkey, while the child or mobility impaired person shoots. The two-day special hunt begins March 15th and ends March 16th. Nelms says that’s prior to the first weekend of the open statewide turkey season.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.