Two Important Announcements From Georgia DNR

Announcements, Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

WORKSHOP FOCUSES ON WOMEN AND THE OUTDOORS

 

MANSFIELD, Ga. (Aug. 19, 2019) – Ladies, have you ever wanted to head out to go backpacking or fishing or shooting, but not sure where to start? The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division can help! The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Workshop, scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, provides a practical introduction to a wide variety of outdoor recreational skills and activities.  

 

“BOW workshops focus on learning outdoor skills in a safe and structured environment, giving women from all backgrounds the chance to learn outdoor skills in a positive, non-competitive atmosphere where they can feel confident and have fun,” said Katie McCollum, BOW coordinator. “Available class activities will include shooting, fishing, camping, photography, wilderness survival and more!”

 

BOW is an educational program offering hands-on workshops to women (18 or older) of all physical ability levels and aims to break down barriers to female participation in outdoor activities by providing a safe and supportive learning environment.  

 

Weekend workshops begin on Friday morning and end on Sunday. Between meals and special presentations and events, participants can choose from about 20 professionally-led classes, ranging from such topics as firearms, wilderness survival, fishing, orienteering, outdoor cooking, nature photography, astronomy and hunting. Sessions range in intensity from leisurely to rugged (strenuous).

 

“Although classes are designed with beginners and those with little to no experience in mind, more seasoned participants will benefit from the opportunity to hone their existing skills and try out new activities,” says McCollum. “All participants will receive enough instruction to pursue their outdoor interests further when the workshop is complete.”

 

Registration for BOW is now open. Participants can choose to bring their own tents and gear, or stay at the lodge at Charlie Elliott, part of a popular complex including a wildlife management and public fishing area. Cost per person, which includes food and programming, ranges from $220-265 (dependent on lodging choice).

 

For more information, including registration details and a complete listing of classes offered, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/BOW or call (770) 784-3059.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

GEORGIA HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED

 

SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA (August 19, 2019) – Outreach and involvement helped secure Game Warden Josh Cockrell of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Law Enforcement Division as the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year, according to the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.  

 

This award is presented annually in recognition of an instructor who displays outstanding efforts in educating sportsmen and women on wildlife conservation, and the importance of safety while hunting. 

 

“Teaching students to be safe, responsible, ethical hunters is the goal for all instructors” says Jennifer Pittman, hunter development program manager.  “Game Warden Cockrell is an exceptional example of the type of instructor that can encourage and inspire young hunters.” 

 

MORE ABOUT THE HONOREE

 

Game Warden Josh Cockrell: Some of the highlights of Game Warden Cockrell’s hunter education efforts include his involvement with several events. The annual Wilkinson County Quail Hunt targets new hunters that recently completed their hunter education class. Josh actively recruited new kids to attend, solicited donations, and was responsible for event set up, and coordination of the event. In February, Game Warden Cockrell assisted with the annual Squirrel hunt at a Lake Oconee Georgia Power campground, escorting two new hunters throughout the event. In addition to these, Josh worked at both the FFA convention in Macon and the Buckarama in Perry. These events see a steady flow of the public, and rangers have to be prepared to answer almost any kind of question. Game Warden Cockrell showed good knowledge about a variety of topics, including multiple hunter education questions.

 

For more information about hunter education, call the WRD Hunter Development Program Office at (706) 557-3355 or visit https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntereducation.    

 

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GDOT Pleads for Safe Back to School Driving in Northwest Georgia 

Announcements
Safe Driving for Back-to-School Season…
GDOT Pleads for Safe Back to School Driving in Northwest Georgia 

WHITE, Ga. – Students heading back to school means more traffic, increased congestion and the need for extra safety precautions. From school buses loading and unloading, to kids walking and biking, to parents dropping off and picking up – dangers abound.

As back-to-school gets into full swing, Georgia DOT urges drivers to put safety first – especially in and around school zones, buses and children.

  • Pay attention to school zone flashing beacons and obey school zone speed limits.
  • Obey school bus laws.
    • Stop behind/do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
    • If the lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, opposing traffic must stop unless it is on a divided highway with a grass or concrete median.
  • Watch for students gathering near bus stops, and for kids arriving late, who may dart into the street. Children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

According to the National Safety Council, most children who lose their lives in school bus-related incidents are four to seven years old, walking and they are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus.

“It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially in the peak traffic hours before and after school,” said Grant Waldrop, district engineer at the DOT office in White.

Research by the National Safe Routes to School program found that more children are hit by cars near schools than at any location. Georgia DOT implores drivers to watch out for children walking or bicycling (both on the road and the sidewalk) in area near a school.

“If you’re driving behind a school bus, increase your following distance to allow more time to stop once the lights start to flash. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to give them space to safely enter and exit the bus,” Waldrop explained.

Whenever you drive – be alert and expect the unexpected. By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in and around school zones. Let’s make this new school year safer for our children. 

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REVIEW TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY TIPS BEFORE SEASON BEGINS

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REVIEW TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY TIPS BEFORE SEASON BEGINS

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Before you head to the woods this Spring in pursuit of a gobbler or two, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages all hunters to take some time to review important turkey hunting safety tips.

“Firearms safety knowledge is critical to keeping you, and others, safe while in the woods,” advises Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition to firearms safety tips, hunters should review and practice safety precautions specific to turkey hunting.”

Turkey Hunting Safety Tips:

  • Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for when distinguishing a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head, but at times it may appear white or blue. Male turkey feathers covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.
  • Select a calling position that provides at least a shoulder-width background, such as the base of a tree. Be sure that at least a 180-degree range is visible.
  • Do not stalk a gobbling turkey. Due to their keen eyesight and hearing, the chances of getting close are slim to none.
  • When using a turkey call, the sound and motion may attract the interest of other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.
  • Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.
  • Although it’s not required, it is suggested that hunters wear blaze orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear blaze orange on their upper bodies to facilitate their identification by other hunters.

For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .

BEFORE TURKEY SEASON BEGINS, DO YOU NEED A HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE?

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BEFORE TURKEY SEASON BEGINS, DO YOU NEED A HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE?

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Do you need hunter education before you head to the woods? You have options! Hunters in need of the Georgia hunter education course can choose to go completely online or attend a classroom course, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“In 2018, over 14,000 people completed the Georgia hunter education course – either online or in a classroom,” says Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division. “I am glad that we can continue to offer both classroom and online options, as it gives students a choice of what works best with their schedules, especially those with time constraints.”

The four available online courses each require a fee (from $9.95 – $24.95) but all are “pass or don’t pay” courses. Fees for these courses are charged by and collected by the independent course developer. The classroom course is free of charge.  

Completion of a hunter education course is required for any person born on or after January 1, 1961, who:

  • purchases a season hunting license in Georgia.
  • is at least 12 years old and hunts without adult supervision.
  • hunts big game (deer, turkey, bear) on a wildlife management area.

The only exceptions include any person who:

  • purchases a short-term hunting license, i.e. anything less than annual duration (as opposed to a season license).
  • is hunting on his or her own land, or that of his or her parents or legal guardians.

For more information, go to https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntereducation or call 770-761-3010.

2019 STATEWIDE TURKEY HUNTING SEASON OPENS MARCH 23

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


2019 STATEWIDE TURKEY HUNTING SEASON OPENS MARCH 23

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Georgia turkey hunters are ready for the season to open on Saturday, Mar. 23. The 2019 turkey hunting season should be a fair season, similar to 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.  

“Reproduction in 2017 was lower than the four-year average, so that could mean a lower than usual supply of 2 year-old gobblers across much of the state in 2019,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “However, that lower average comes between two better years, so hopefully other age classes will remain plentiful.”

With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from Mar. 23 through May 15 – one of the longest seasons in the nation – to harvest their bird(s).  

What should hunters expect this spring? The Ridge and Valley, Piedmont and Lower Coastal Plain should have the best success based on 2017 reproduction information. The Blue Ridge region had a poor 2017 reproductive season, but saw a significant jump in 2018, so there may be a lot of young birds in the woods. The Upper Coastal Plain saw reproduction below their five-year average for the past two years, so numbers in that part of the state may be down.

Cedar Creek and Cedar Creek-Little River WMA Hunters, take note! The 2019 turkey season will run April 6-May 15 on these properties. This is two weeks later than the statewide opening date. This difference is due to ongoing research between the University of Georgia and WRD, who are investigating the timing of hunting pressure and its effects on gobbler behavior and reproductive success. Through this research, biologists and others hope to gain insight to the reasons for an apparent population decline in order to help improve turkey populations and hunter success at Cedar Creek WMA and statewide.

Georgia Game Check: All turkey hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Turkeys can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (www.georgiawildlife.com/outdoors-ga-app), which now works whether you have cell service or not, at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661. App users, if you have not used the app since deer season or before, make sure you have the latest version. More information at www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.

Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license, unless hunting on their own private land.  Get your license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661. With many pursuing wild turkeys on private land, hunters are reminded to obtain landowner permission before hunting.

 

Conservation of the Wild Turkey in Georgia

The restoration of the wild turkey is one of Georgia’s great conservation success stories.  Currently, the bird population hovers around 300,000 statewide, but as recently as 1973, the wild turkey population was as low as 17,000. Intensive restoration efforts, such as the restocking of wild birds and establishment of biologically sound hunting seasons facilitated the recovery of wild turkeys in every county. This successful effort resulted from cooperative partnerships between private landowners, hunters, conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Wildlife Resources Division.

The Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has donated more than $4,000,000 since 1985 for projects that benefit wild turkey and other wildlife. The NWTF works in partnership with the Wildlife Resources Division and other land management agencies on habitat enhancement, hunter access, wild turkey research and education. The NWTF has a vital initiative called “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt,” focused on habitat management, hunter access and hunter recruitment.

“Hunters should know that each time they purchase a license or equipment used to turkey hunt, such as shotguns, ammunition and others, that they are part of this greater conservation effort for wildlife in Georgia,” said Rushton.  “Through the Wildlife Restoration Program, a portion of the money spent comes back to states and is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management.”

For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .   

 

Photos courtesy of Brian Vickery. After watching his older sister have two successful seasons, 7 year-old Luke is able to take his first bird during the special opportunity youth turkey hunting season.

Pesticide Safety Month and Apple Producers Meeting

Outdoors

Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use.  Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011.  During National Pesticide Safety Education Month this February, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel are urging homeowners, and all Georgians, to learn more about the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides.

According to Dr. Mickey Taylor, UGA Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) Coordinator, “pesticide safety education is key to helping homeowners and pesticide applicators, both commercial and agricultural, safely and effectively use available pesticides to protect their homes and crops and livelihoods.  At the same time, they want to protect themselves, their employees and colleagues from any potential ill effects of pesticide use in addition to protecting their families and neighbors. As good stewards of the land, pesticide users want to preserve our environment for the future.”

UGA Extension’s PSEP promotes the safe, responsible use of pesticides by individuals and commercial groups by providing training programs, materials and educational resources covering pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and disposal of pesticides, environmental protection, pesticide drift and runoff prevention, threatened and endangered species protection, water quality protection, and food safety.

One way that UGA Extension reinforces safe pesticide usage is to conduct workshops, meetings, and trainings in which pesticide usage and safe handling is taught.  One such course coming up is the North Georgia Commercial Apple Production meeting.  It will be held on Wednesday, February 21st at the Gilmer County Public Library on Calvin Jackson Drive in Ellijay.  There are other regional trainings held for producers.  If you would like information about those trainings, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.

Dr. Taylor is also the editor of the UGA Extension “Georgia Pest Management Handbook.”  The handbook is revised and published annually.  It has information about labeled pesticides that can be used by homeowners and commercial producers. Copies of the handbook are available for purchase through the UGA market place at ugaextensionstore.com and there are copies in the UGA Extension county offices if you would like to view one before purchase. Remember to always read the label before you use or store any pesticide.

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Pet Safety on the 4th of July!

Community

Georgia State Patrol Making Final Preparations for the Thanksgiving Travel Period

Community, Featured

State troopers urge safety for the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday travel period is 102 hours and it begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and ends at midnight Sunday, November 27.

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“Troopers will be focusing on occupant protection violations, and keeping a close eye out for impaired drivers and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a crash,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “We want to make holiday travel as safe as possible,” he added.

Last year, during a similar 102-hour period, troopers investigated 788 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 377 injuries and nine fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, troopers arrested 319 people for driving under the influence while issuing 9,620 citations and 15,729 warnings.

Troopers will not only be patrolling the interstates but the secondary roads as well. Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt and that small children are properly restrained in a child safety seat. Also, do not drive distracted and obey the posted speed. If you know that you will be consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver. “Sadly, each holiday period more than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes are impaired or not using safety belts,” Colonel McDonough said.

The Georgia State Patrol will also be teaming up with law enforcement officials from across the state for a concerted effort to encourage safe travel through Operation Click It or Ticket, Georgia’s high visibility seat belt enforcement program and Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide traffic safety initiative aimed at reducing the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by balancing high visibility enforcement with educational outreach.

The holiday traffic count will be updated throughout the holiday travel period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ga_dps.

Keep your Pet safe on the 4th of July!

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BKP talks with State Representative Rick Jasperse about the Campus Safety Act and its role in protecting students.

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Featured, News

  Pet Safety Tips Brought to you by:

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Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Featured, News

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Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

alphabet letter s

Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

alphabet letter a

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

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Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

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Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

alphabet letter h

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.

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Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

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Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

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Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lens.

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Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

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Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

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Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

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Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

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Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

  • Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
  • Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Happy Halloween!

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