GFB News Magazine
GA DNR offers options to fight deer & feral hog crop damage
by Jennifer Whittaker
Posted on November 24, 2023 2:57 PM
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking steps to help farmers control deer and feral hog populations to prevent crop damage, Charlie Killmaster, a DNR deer and feral hog biologist says.
For example, feral hogs may be hunted year-round, day or night with no bag limits on privately owned land.
“It’s open season on feral hogs,” Killmaster said. “No one wants hogs.”
The DNR also offers permits so hunters can shoot feral hogs from a vehicle on private roads. Call a regional DNR office to get a permit.
To prevent hunters from creating feral hog herds, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation several years ago that requires a very restrictive permit from the Georgia Department of Agriculture to transport live hogs, Killmaster said.
“We’ve cracked down hard on the transport of hogs. You’ll get a huge fine, and it’s a misdemeanor if you’re caught doing it without the required permit,” Killmaster said. “Your Farm Bureau President Tom McCall was instrumental in getting this legislation passed when he was serving as a state legislator.”
DNR is working with the USDA on aerial gunning efforts. Georgia shares a USDA helicopter with other states but is working to get its own.
“We’re working with USDA trying to move the needle on controlling populations,” Killmaster said.
Killmaster encouraged farmers and landowners to research the control programs and eradication services the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts offers in cooperation with the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission. Visit www.gacd.us/feralswine to learn more about these programs.
For a list of feral hog control services available in each GACD Conservation District, visit https://gfb.ag/feralhoggacdresources.
Killmaster said DNR has made changes to Georgia deer hunting regulations for the 2023-24 season to control Georgia’s deer population. These include expanding the number of doe days in north and southeast Georgia and extending deer season in southwest Georgia.
“We recognize significant monetary damage is occurring when deer eat crops as they emerge and farmers have to replant,” Killmaster said.
To help farmers fight crop damage that occurs from the time row crops emerge in the spring through the growing season, the DNR allows farmers to apply for a deer crop damage permit. Outside of deer season, this permit allows the applicant and up to six other people to shoot deer caught in growing crop fields the applicant has registered.
Visit www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com to apply for a deer crop damage permit from late February through the summer. On the DNR website, select the Licenses & Permits icon, which will take you to a box titled Online Licensing Features. Select Purchase/Reprint a License/Obtain Permits. If you have a Go Outdoors Georgia account, log in to access the crop damage control permit application. If you don't have an account, select the Enroll Now! icon to create an account. While the application to receive a deer damage hunting permit must be completed online, applicants may call 1-800-366-2661 to request help with navigating the online application.
Visit www.gfb.ag/deercropdamagepermits to learn more about deer crop damage and the permits.