Many folks migrate to Georgia during the fall to chase White-tailed Deer (WTD). So much so,
that it had the nation’s sixth-highest number of license holders in 2018. Most of the state is known for
quality soils optimal for commercial agriculture. With that, deer have access to high-quality forage ideal
for growing large bodies and antlers. However, not all regions of the state obtain this correlation of big deer and heavy agriculture. Hunting lease rates typically reflect the demand for those certain areas and indicate what it can produce. For simplicity, let’s break down Georgia into four regions that most hunt clubs could categorize and rank in deer quality terms: Appalachian region (N GA), Piedmont(Atlanta – Fall Line), Central/SW Georgia Plains, and SE Coastal Plains.
The Appalachian region of Georgia can be described as the southern portion of the Appalachian
mountain range which begins just north of Atlanta across the north end of Georgia. This region does not typically grow large antlered or bodied deer due to the habitat which consists of many closed canopy hardwood deciduous forests. These habitat types do not provide a lot of summer forage which is the driving force behind quality nutrition in WTD. Hunting lease rates are typically lower in this region than others in GA because of the lower quality in animals.
The Piedmont region of Georgia might be the highest in demand of all the areas in Georgia. This
is most likely due to the primary concentration of Georgia’s population resides in this region. Atlanta
and its suburbs make up for over half of the state’s population. This combined with higher quality soils
and WTD causes lease rates to be double of other regions in the state. This region has a nice mix of open agriculture and thick timber tracts which give deer optimal forage and cover for growing big bucks. Central/SW Georgia Plains consists of heavy commercial agriculture with scattered timber tracts and hardwood river bottoms. This region produces a lot of heavy bucks that gives Georgia the
reputation it has for quality deer hunting. It is not uncommon to hear of hunting lease rates at or above
$15/acre in this region. The only downfall of this region could be is that it consists of so much
agriculture, that the landscape is too open to support many deer. You can bet that any thicket will have
WTD piled up in this region.
Finally, the SE Coastal Plans may have the poorest soils in the state but large tracts of timber
investment land give lots of opportunity for hunt clubs to find leases. This region is home to most of the state’s deer-dog hunters and large hunt clubs that have influenced culture in South Georgia. Hunting
lease rates are likely the lowest in the state due to the large supply of timberland available to lease.
These thick flatwoods are known for smaller bodied/racked deer, but numerous deer, turkeys, hogs and
Wherever you are looking to find a hunt lease in Georgia, you should know that there are exceptions to all of these general reputations of the regions. Depending on the property’s size, the most helpful information you can know about a potential hunting property are the neighbors’ hunting habits and management goals. While soils and habitat play a big role in deer quality, age is the most limiting
factor in antler development in most cases in the Southeastern US. If you’re looking for hunting leases in Georgia, please check with our Wildlife Biologist, Will McCrea at 352-231-9715, or visit LegacyWildlife.com for available hunting lease properties.