New to GA and want to hunt a bear

Thread starter #1
Hello Gents,

I moved to Georgia a while back and have finally gotten things in line to start hunting here this coming season. Most of my hunting in the past has been on public lands in Alabama and private land in South Carolina. I primarily bowhunt but also break out a rifle a few times a year.

One of the things I am most excited about with my new residency is being able to hunt a new species, black bear. I have never bear hunted before and am excited to learn more about these animals and for a new challenge in the woods.

Over in Alabama we have a mix of WMA and NF lands, and recently they started going to a quota type system for WMA hunts. If I am understanding what I am reading about GA regulations much of the WMA land is the same here.

Are there places that are open public land that have bears without the need to enter a draw available in Georgia? I am certainly not asking for anyone's spots, just general areas where access and game are legal throughout the season. Any good sources of information I may not have seen in my searches so far?

I live in the Atlanta area but have the set-up to travel and spend short stints at a location. I plan to take a few trips out during the summer and early fall to get an idea of where the critters are and what makes them tick.

I am sure that I will have more questions as I keep reading and learning, and I look forward to learning from the wealth of information we have here with all you folks.
LOADS of great info in this sub-forum. Lots of tips from experienced hunters. My advice would be to start reading at the begining.. And make sure you got some good walking boots!

The Chattahoochee National Forest is where you wanna hunt. You got a chance at a bear anywhere in the CNF. Some areas are more densely populated with bears than others, but they’re everywhere.. The WMAs inside the CNF have different regulations than the CNF (outside WMAs). Mainly dates of open season for specific game animals. Consult your reg book for dates etc. Good luck and I hope you tag one!
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Senior Member
As worleyburd has stated, the Chattahoochee National Forest & its WMAs are your starting points, and any of these areas will give you opportunity with proper boot leather on the ground.
Bow hunting gives you the best opportunity, followed by some of the early bear rifle hunts. It only gets harder as the season goes on as bears are so reclusive.
Focus your scouting on food sources. Look for white oaks, yellow jacket nests, & autumn olive thickets (a personal favorite for me) for early season.
Red oaks & white oaks as the season goes on.
Bears need a lot of water, so the warmer it is, keep adjacent creeks in mind to any food sources you find.
While I use trail cameras this time of year, its only for seeing the big bruisers cruising for females. Come hunting season, their patterns are all about food sources, particularly mast.


Senior Member
I was in your shoes three years ago. As others have said, read all you can on the bear hunting sub forum. Start burning boot leather learning where the white oaks are a different elevations. The Chattahoochee National Forest is almost one million acres with less than a 1/3 of that included in state Managed WMAs. While the WMAs have several managed hunts, very few if any are quota so you just sign in or check in and then hunt. The NF outside of WMAs has some excellent hunting as well with less time restrictions. Good luck this fall.
read the regs, read this forum (over & over), then boots on ground nearest you. its just a matter of putting time in the woods recognizing what you already read about here. not sure where you'll be focused (NW, N, or NE ga), but I'm up Blairsville area lots of weekends. be glad to meet and help. that said, i'm a newbie here, but do think i can help get you in the right direction.
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I can't tell ya nothing these nice guys havn't already stated but I noticed you said you lived in South Carolina and black 🐻 hunting is new to you? I heard they are just as populated and bigger there? Have I been mislead?:confused:
Let me know Doc when you get ready to get srrious about it. I will point you in a couple different directions !! My elderly parents can't have a patch of corn, or much of anythang for that matter, in their garden for the pests !!