The formula for locating the perfect hunting property is made up of many ingredients. At Ron Borders Commercial Real Estate Advisors we understand what outdoorsmen are looking for in a recreational property.
The first ingredient is location. The perfect property must be located in an area that game exists, and for the whitetail hunter a property that has an existing population of animals with the genetic possibilities of becoming trophy deer. If you are looking for a hunting property in the southeast that has these qualities then Georgia, South Georgia in particular is one of the best states to look.
With over 1.2 million deer and, one of the highest annual whitetail harvests in North America (over 350,000) animals and a 53.4 percent hunter success rate, Georgia is a reliable place to fill your freezer with venison. With over 100 Boone & Crockett Bucks on record and over 200 Pope and Young Deer on Record, Georgia greatly surpasses all of its neighboring states in the harvest of trophy animals. In fact Georgia has produced almost 4 times the number of Boone and Crockett animals as Tennessee and 8 times the number recorded in Alabama.
Although the entire state of Georgia has a healthy deer herd not all areas are equal.
Deer numbers are lower in the Blue Ridge Region of North Georgia, and Eastern Coastal Plain averaging 15- 30 deer per square mile. The Ridge and Valley Region of North west Georgia maintains an average of 30-45 per square mile in most areas. The highest concentrations of whitetail remain in the Piedmont Region ranging from 30 deer per square mile to populations well exceeding 45 per square mile. The deer populations in the farmland of the Western Coastal Plain are higher than the Easter Coastal Plain, but not as populated as the Piedmont Region. View the Whitetail Density Map
The major factors affecting the trophy quality of a deer herd are age, competition, soil quality, and genetics.
One of the reasons that Georgia has consistently outperformed its neighboring states in the harvesting of trophy animals is genetics. An understanding of whitetail subspecies and the history of Georgia’s deer herd must be discussed to completely understand it’s genetic superiority. Some scientist believe that there may be as many as 38 sub-species of whitetail deer. However most only recognize 17 major subspecies. Without going into great detail of the Taxonomy of the whitetail deer I will mention only the subspecies that exist or have existed in the State of Georgia.
The three subspecies of whitetail that are native to the state of Georgia are:
1) The Virginia whitetail, Odocoileus virginianus virginianus, Its range includes Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi and each state has a good deer population. This is a moderately large deer with fairly heavy antlers. It has a widely diversified habitat, varying from coastal marshes, swamplands, and pinelands to the "balds" atop the Great Smokey Mountains.
2) The Florida whitetail,Odocoileus virginianus seminolus, Native to Florida and extreme South Georgia counties. Smaller than The Virginia Whitetail this is a good-sized deer with a good rack. Some have antlers as impressive as the Virginia deer although the spread is not usually as wide.
3) The Blackbeard Island whitetail,Odocoileus virginianus nigribarbis, is found only on the Georgian Islands. The smallest of the three recognized Georgia sub-species, a medium-sized deer with fairly small antlers that are heavily ridged at the base.
The Southeast United States naturally had an abundant population of native whitetail when the first settlers appeared. Due to market hunting, dog hunting, trapping, heavy timber cutting and expansion of agricultural developments the whitetail were nearly completely wiped out within sixty years of initial settlement. The only remaining populations of native deer were along the coastal marshes and a few plantations in the piedmont and lower coastal plain. Very little was done from 1895 to 1928 to restore the lost whitetail, until a resurgence of interest in whitetail hunting as a recreation lead to the initial restocking efforts.
Most of the restocking efforts in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina were conducted between 1928-1970. Alabama and South Carolina were restocked from sources mostly within their own state. Georgia chose a different route than its neighbors by restocking from several different sources outside the state as well as within the state. The primary sources of whitetail in the Georgia restocking were Wisconsin, Texas, and The Islands of Georgia.
The northern part of the state was primarily restocked with whitetail from Texas and North Carolina, there is no
record of what area of Texas these deer came from. The Piedmont region of central Georgia was restocked from a variety of areas including Texas, Wisconsin, Piedmont NWR, Jekyll Island, and Kentucky. The majority of the deer in the piedmont restocking efforts came from Wisconsin. The South Eastern portion of the state’s coastal plain was primarily stocked from the islands of Georgia. Fewer counties received deer in the South Western or upper coastal plain, however all of the deer that these counties received were restocked with Wisconsin whitetail.
4) The Texas whitetail, Odocoileus virginianus texanus, is found in western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, southeastern Colorado, eastern New Mexico, portions of Mexico. Its body is much smaller than that of the more northerly deer but it is the largest of the southern forms. The antlers are slender but wide and have produced several record heads in the top twenty-five.
5)The northern woodland whitetail,Odocoileus virginianus borealis It has the largest range, being found in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, and a portion,of Manitoba. It is the largest and generally the darkest in coloration of all whitetail and has produced 6 of the top 20 record book entries.
The choice to restock the state from various sources has resulted in a variety of hybrid whitetail subspecies throughout the state. I believe these restocking efforts have also contributed to the amount of trophy deer that have been produced by the state. I also believe there is a direct correlation between these restocking efforts and the number of trophy animals that have been produced in certain regions and counties throughout the state.
If you compare the restocking map and the B&C county map you will see that the counties that have historically produced the largest bucks in Georgia are directly correlated to the counties that were restocked from Wisconsin whitetail.