Folkston, GA - August 11, 2011
Okefenokee is one of many national wildlife refuges in the United States that offer hunting programs. The primary objective of a national wildlife refuge is to provide habitat for the conservation and protection of all species of wildlife. The harvest of surplus animals is one tool used to manage wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment, provide recreational opportunities, and permit the use of a valuable resource. Public hunting on the Okefenokee NWR is permitted in three areas, the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (Eastside), the Pocket (Westside), and the Cowhouse Unit (Northside) at certain times of the year.
Suwannee Canal Hunt
A total of 40 permits will be awarded for this hunt, 10 of which will be reserved for disabled hunters in wheelchairs. Hunts are scheduled for two half-days: Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, 2011, from two hours before sunrise until noon. The hunt is for deer (either sex, limit 2 per day) and feral hogs (either sex, no limit). Hunters are required to use shotgun slugs or muzzleloaders only. Use of buckshot is not permitted.
Applications and information are available on the refuge website at www.fws.gov/okefenokee, at the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center, located off Hwy. 121/23 near Folkston, GA by calling (912) 496-7836 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Completed hunt applications must be postmarked by August 26, 2011. The two half-day permits will be issued in a public drawing. All applicants will be notified by mail of their selection status. Selected applicants must each pay the $12.50 permit fee by personal check, cashier’s check, or money order payable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by close of business September 30, 2011 in order for the permit to be issued. Hunters will pick up their permits when they check-in on the morning of the hunt. Deer taken do not count against the state limit, and a special refuge tag will be provided upon check-out for each deer taken. Stand-by hunters may be chosen from a lottery from those present on the morning of the hunt if openings are available. Stand-by hunters must be prepared to pay $12.50, in exact change or check for a hunt permit. All hunters must possess a valid Georgia hunting license.
The Pocket Hunt
This free hunt for archery only will take place at the Pocket Unit near Fargo September 10- October 14, 2011 in accordance with State regulations. All hunters must sign in and out, and possess a valid Georgia hunting license and entrance pass (see website or call about entrance pass info.). All stands must be removed daily. Park private vehicles on the shoulder of the road and do not block access roads or ditches. Walk into the hunt area; ATV’s are prohibited. Contact Stephen C. Foster State Park at (912) 637-5274 for early exit to hunt area if you are staying in the park overnight. Information for this hunt is available on the refuge website at www.fws.gov/okefenokee
Cowhouse Island Hunt
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is managing this free hunt on Cowhouse Island in conjunction with their Dixon Memorial Forest hunts. Hunters on this portion of the refuge are limited to foot traffic only. Hunters must sign-in and sign-out and must possess a valid Georgia hunting license. Regulations and information may be obtained by calling (229) 426-5267 or at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com and http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee.