Numerous Pro-Sportsmen Bills on the Move in Georgia

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

  • House Bill 1147 (HB 1147), sponsored by numerous Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) members, would allow for the hunting and trapping of raccoons and opossums year-round in Georgia. HB 1147 passed the House of Representatives (House) and awaits action in the Senate.
  • House Bill 1148 (HB 1148), sponsored by numerous Caucus members, including Caucus Co-Chair Representative David Knight, strengthens Georgia’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prevention strategy by prohibiting the importation and possession of certain Cervidae (deer family) carcasses or parts from out-of-state. HB 1148 passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.
  • House Bill 1349 (HB 1349), sponsored by numerous Caucus members, extends the baseline date for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) No-Net-Loss statute to protect acreage available for hunting opportunities on DNR managed state-owned lands. HB 1349 awaits action in the House.

Why it Matters: Trapping is an effective tool that aids in managing a myriad of different wildlife species. CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease that occurs in farmed and free-ranging deer and has recently been confirmed in neighboring Alabama. Lastly, lack of access to hunting lands is cited as a primary reason that hunters stop participating in hunting, making the passage of No-Net-Loss legislation important to the continued tradition of hunting and fishing in the state of Georgia.

HB 1147: Racoons and opossums are notorious for negatively impact ground nesting bird populations such as turkey and quail. Allowing for the hunting and trapping of raccoons and opossums not only allows for outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the year, but it also aids in further managing highly successful nest predator populations.

HB 1148: This legislation would prohibit the importation and possession of certain Cervidae carcasses or parts from outside of the state, except for deboned meat, antlers, skulls, skull plates, teeth, or jawbones with no soft tissue attached, hides with no heads attached, and finished taxidermy. HB 1148 would strengthen Georgia’s efforts to keep Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from being introduced into the state. 

HB 1349: Georgia previously passed No-Net-Loss legislation which limits the loss of access to hunting opportunity by establishing a minimum acreage of state-owned areas open to sportsmen and women. This ensures that future generations have the same opportunities tomorrow that exist today. HB 1349 would extend the baseline date from 2005 to 2022 from which the DNR managed state-owned lands acreage is measured. The DNR has acquired new Wildlife Management Areas since 2005 so it is important to update the statute to reflect the acreage currently available for hunting.

The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) will continue to coordinate with the DNR, as well as in-state and national partners to support these bills.

If you are interested in keeping up-to-date on legislation impacting sportsmen and women, sign up for the CSF’s Tracking the Capitols

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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