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WRD News Story


Hunting Dates and Regulations for the 2003-2004 Migratory Bird Season Announced

The Board of Natural Resources recently approved the dates and regulations for hunting waterfowl and other migratory birds for the 2003-2004 season, announces the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).  Information detailing season dates, bag limits and other regulations is available on the WRD website at or in the “Late Season Georgia Migratory Bird Regulations, 2003-2004” brochure available at all WRD Offices.

“Hunters should be pleased to note that canvasbacks may once again be harvested this year.  The season for canvasbacks and pintails will be from December 27 through January 25 and there is a daily bag limit of one canvasback and one pintail per hunter,” says WRD State Waterfowl Coordinator Greg Balkcom.  “Waterfowl hunters also can continue to pursue Canada geese during the early teal season, September 20 through 28, as well as during the goose season later in the year.”

Hunting season for all ducks, except canvasbacks and pintails, will be open from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30 and Dec. 6 through Jan. 25.  Other migratory bird species seasons listed on the WRD website and in the brochure include, snow geese, woodcock, rails, snipe and gallinules.  There also is a special early weekend, Nov. 15-16, when only youths age 15 or younger may hunt ducks, coots, gallinules, mergansers, sea ducks and geese.

One of the more popular areas in the state for waterfowl hunting, the Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area in McIntosh County, is undergoing some major renovations this year.  In partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the WRD is building new dikes, improving existing dikes, and replacing water control structures on the Rhett’s Island unit.  The Georgia Chapter of Ducks Unlimited has contributed over $200,000 towards completion of this critical project.  “Without the cooperation of Ducks Unlimited, this project would not be possible,” says Senior Wildlife Biologist Carmen Martin.  “Ducks Unlimited has been a tremendous supporter of our waterfowl management efforts in coastal Georgia.”  Because of these ongoing improvements, the Rhett’s Island Unit will be closed during the upcoming waterfowl season; however, Butler Island and Champney Island will remain open.

To legally hunt waterfowl in Georgia, sportsmen and women must possess a Georgia hunting license, a Georgia waterfowl conservation license and a federal duck stamp.  Those hunting on a wildlife management area (WMA) must possess a WMA license.  Hunters also must possess a free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program Permit (HIP Permit) before hunting migratory birds.  HIP is an annual federal program that requires those who hunt migratory bird species to fill out a short harvest survey and in return receive a free participation permit.  Hunters may purchase licenses at over 1,200 license agents, on the Internet at or by phone at 1-888-748-6887.

Legal shooting hours for migratory birds are one half hour before sunrise to sunset.  The daily sunrise and sunset times for Georgia can be found on page 55 of the 2003-2004 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide or on the WRD website.

Hunters who need a hunter education course before pursuing migratory birds can now search for and register for a class by phone or on the Internet.  Hunters can call the Central Reservations System (CRS) at (770) 389-7275 inside metro-Atlanta or (800) 864-7275 outside metro-Atlanta to register by phone.  A service charge applies to registrations made through CRS.  Alternately, hunters can go to the WRD web site at to search and register for a hunter education course at no charge.  Pre-registration is required by one of these two methods before attending a hunter education course and there is a cut-off date for registration three days prior to the start of a class.  The hunter education course also is available on a CD-Rom (a two-hour classroom course is required for CD-Rom students for a review and final test).  

For more information on the upcoming migratory bird season, visit the WRD website at , contact the local WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.





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