Anyone who’s interested in hunting and fishing at Fort Benning should make plans to attend the Hunting, Fishing and Recreation Open House from 5-8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Uchee Creek Activity Center, said Brent Widener, fish and wildlife biologist, with the Conservation Branch, Environmental Management Division, Directorate of Public Works.
“There are quite a few changes (to the hunting and fishing regulations),” he said.Hunters and fishermen are responsible for knowing the regulations and following them, so the open house is a good way for them to become educated about the rules and changes, Widener said.
Among the biggest of seven changes, Widener said, is enacting an area for quality deer management, which was established when hunters expressed interest during a survey. A total of 20,000 acres has been set aside for Quality Deer Management, which allows younger bucks to reach maturity. Hunters will only be allowed to hunt deer who have four points on one side that are one inch or more.
Another change is realigning training areas. Because of Base Realignment and Closure, more training areas are needed, so there will be 303 training compartments, compared to 190 compartments in 2009. The training area boundaries and alphanumeric designations will change, effective Aug. 8. This will allow Soldiers to train and hunters to hunt simultaneously in different locations.
The bass and bream creel limits have changed. The bass limit will increase from eight to 15 at all ponds except for Weems Pond, and the bream daily creel limit will decrease from 25 to 15 at all ponds.
Guest hunters and fishermen will only be required to have a primary sponsor on their hunting pass, compared to last year, when a primary and alternate sponsor were required. Guests will need to know their sponsor’s name and badge number while fishing or hunting.
The open house will also include an archery and airsoft station and an inflatable for the children. Deer processing companies and taxidermists will be on hand to answer any questions. The new fishing and hunting map will be on sale for $5. Drinks and refreshments are free.
Whether a new or seasoned hunter, Brittany Beadle, Outdoor Recreation specialist, encourages everyone to come.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration isn’t required. If you want to come, just show up. For more information, call Beadle at 706-545-9636. For more information on hunting and fishing at Fort Benning, visit www.benning.army.mil/EMD/conservation/wildlife/.