GOOSE

The blue-winged teal migrates farther south than any other duck that breeds in North America. (Photo/Terry Johnson)

For the past few weeks, I have been writing a series of columns dealing with hunting. This may seem strange, however, the truth of the matter is late August, and the first couple of weeks in September, are awash with hunting-related matters.  A number of quota hunt deadlines occur in late August and four different hunting seasons open during the first two weeks in September.

Last week I reported on the opening of the Dove Hunting Season on Sept. 7. It just so happens the first segment of the 2019-20 Canada Goose Hunting season also commences on the seventh. This portion of the season runs from Sept. 7-29. Three additional divisions will follow it. These installments are Oct. 12-27, Nov. 23-Dec. 1 and Dec. 12-Jan. 31.

During the 2019-20 Canada Goose Hunting Season hunters will be able to legally bag up to five Canada geese per day. The possession limit is 15.

If you are scratching your head trying to figure out the reason why a Canada goose season opens so early, it is because the birds that we see flying about Georgia at that time of the year are residents. In other words, they do not migrate. They are hatched and raised in the Peach State.  Consequently, the geese harvested in September will not affect the continent’s migratory Canada goose population. Meanwhile it offers additional hunting opportunities for Georgia hunters.

On Sept. 14 the Early Teal Hunting Season begin and runs through Sept. 29. During this special season hunters will be allowed to harvest six teal per day.  The possession limit on these tiny ducks is 18.

Legal shooting hours for Canada geese and teal are a half hour before sunrise to sunset. Blue-winged teal migrate from their breeding grounds in the northern prairies and parklands as far south as the Dakotas.  The bluewing’s principal wintering grounds stretch across Central and South America. Some birds, however, winter in Florida. 

The blue-winged teal migrates farther south than any other duck that breeds in North America. One banded bird was recovered in Peru.

The green-winged teal nests from the Aleutian Islands across Canada and the northern United States as far south as central Kansas and Minnesota. The birds that wing their way down the Atlantic Flyway winter from along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts into Florida.

The rationale behind the early teal season is slightly different from that behind the Canada goose season. Since blue-winged teal migrate very early and most winter well south of the United States, southern duck hunters would have practically no chance of ever bagging a blue-winged without an early teal season. 

In the case of the green-winged teal, most greenwings are normally well north of Georgia in mid September, although a few do reach Georgia during the month. Consequently, a few will be bagged during an early season. However, since many winter in Georgia, hunters will have a better chance to bag one later in the year.

If you plan on hunting teal and/or Canada geese on the Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area during these early seasons, keep in mind you can do so Wednesday through Sunday only from one-half hour before sunrise to noon during the state seasons for these species.

Archery Deer Season also begins Sept. 14. This season is open through Jan. 14.

The season bag limit for white-tailed deer is 12. No more than 10 may be antlerless and no more than two may be antlered. One of the antlered deer must have at least four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers.

Either sex archery deer hunting will be permitted on the Rum Creek-Berry Creek Area throughout the entire archery season.

The archery deer hunting dates for the Rum Creek WMA are Sept. 14-Oct. 6 and Nov. 23-29. Deer of either sex can be harvested during both segments.

Hunters will be able to hunt deer with archery equipment on the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge Sept. 14-Oct. 6.  Contact the refuge office at 478-986-5441 for details.

 This season the Oconee National Forest has set aside Sept. 14 through Oct. 11 for archery only deer hunting. Call the U.S. Forest Service office at 706-485-1776 for more information.

A complete listing of all state and federal lands open to archers this season and regulations relating to archery deer hunting can be found in the 2019-20 edition of the Georgia Hunting and Regulations Guide. The guide is available at all hunting license dealers and online at www.GoHuntGeorgia.com

Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column ‘Monroe Outdoors’ for the Reporter for many years. His book, “A Journey to Discovery,” is available at The Reporter. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth.net.