Picture credit- Flicker

The week-long primitive weapons deer hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 13. Last year, almost 41,000 hunters took to the woods with muzzleloaders, bringing in more than 6,400 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“Primitive weapons season allows hunters with select equipment to get into the woods before firearms season starts,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with the WRD Game Management Section. “Remember, once you harvest a deer, be sure to report that harvest through Georgia Game Check. Deer can be checked on the Outdoors GA app, which you can use even without cell service, or at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.”

More than one million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas.  Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2018-2019 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide (http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations).

“Don’t forget that during primitive weapons season, youth under 16 years of age may hunt deer with any legal deer firearm, including during any wildlife management area primitive weapons hunts,” said Killmaster.

Looking for information on the county you wish to hunt? Hunters can check out an interactive map to see available opportunities available. More info at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.

Hunters getting ready for the opening day of primitive weapons deer hunting season, Oct. 13, should first review safety information.

Primitive weapons, such as muzzleloaders, have specific safety use rules, beyond general firearms safety, that should be reviewed each year before heading to the woods. Following are recommendations to ensure a safe experience:

  • Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.
  • Use an intermediate device, such as a measure, to pour powder into a barrel.
  • Keep flask and powder containers away from flames and sparks to prevent an accidental explosion.
  • Use only powders specific to each muzzleloader and recommended by that firearms manufacturer.
  • Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.
  • The gun is safely unloaded only after removing the bullet, powder and percussion cap. If using a flintlock muzzleloader, remove the bullet and powder, and un-prime the flash pan.
  • Use the recommended loading materials, the correct powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead material.
  • Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
  • Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before capping and firing.
  • Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish sparks.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Read the owner’s manual and be familiar with its operation before using a muzzle-loading firearm.
  • Handle every gun as if it was loaded.
  • Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.

All hunters, including archers, must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during the primitive weapons season.

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