Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
- On May 10, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Member Governor Brian Kemp signed multiple pro-sportsmen bills into law. All of the bills were sponsored by members of the Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus).
- House Bill 1349 (HB 1349) 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.
- House Bill 1148 (HB 1148) co-sponsored by 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.
- House Bill 1147 (HB 1147) allows for the trapping, on private land, and hunting of raccoons and opossums year-round in Georgia.
Why it Matters: The signing of these pro-sportsmen bills into law protect and advance hunting opportunities for sportsmen and women in the Peach State. In 2021 alone, the sporting commmunity contributed over $64 million to conservation funding through the “user pays—public benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding.
With the passage of HB 1349, Georgia updates their 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. Georgia’s previous accounting from 2005, which protected 300,000 acres for hunting access, will be updated to reflect the more than 200,000 acres which have become part of the public trust over the past 17 years. This helps ensure that future generations of Georgians will have similar access to hunting opportunities tomorrow that exist today.
Additionally, Georgia is proactive in their fight to keep Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from being introduced into the state through the passage of HB 1148. CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease that occurs in farmed and free-ranging deer, and has been confirmed in neighboring Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 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, will be prohibited.
Racoons and opossums are notorious for negatively impacting ground nesting bird populations such as turkey and quail. With HB 1147’s passage, it will not only allows for increased hunting and trapping opportunities throughout the year, but the passed legislation will also aid in further managing highly successful nest predator populations.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds Governor Kemp and the Caucus for their continued support of Georgia’s rich sporting heritage through the passage of these bills.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (6.03%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.70%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (3.91%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (12.87%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.19%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.30%)