New wildlife area open to public in Southeast Georgia

New wildlife area open to public in Southeast Georgia

BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Hunters in Southeast Georgia now have thousands more acres of public land to look for deer and turkey.

The new wildlife area also serves as a place to grow the population of other animals.

The hope is that this Wildlife Management Area not only gives hunters access to thousands of acres, but also gives certain species a habitat to thrive.

Mike Todd and other hunters grinned ear to ear at the prospect of 6,000 acres of deer and turkey hunting in south Bulloch and north Bryan counties. He's been turkey hunting since it became legal in 1980.

“We hunted at Fort Stewart to start with, because it was convenient. There aren't many places in Georgia to hunt, unless you're on private land,” Todd said.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams explained how indigo snakes and gopher tortoises live here. If they thrive here, it could help keep the gopher tortoise off the federal endangered species list and affecting the whole region.

“Its habitat is not just public land, but private land. It would change how loggers have to log and how farmers have to farm,” Williams said.

For some, it will be a place to hunt, for others a place to walk in the woods.

“It's going to be forever preserved for people to come hunt deer and turkey and do some blackwater creek fishing,” Rep. Jan Tankersley said.

The $12 million project used state funds, private donations, and federal grants to buy the land.

With turkey season coming next month, this opening couldn’t come at a better time.

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