Altamaha WMA is divided into three separate management units, Butler Island, Champney Island and Rhett’s Island. Following is detailed information about conditions found on each:
- Butler Island: The Butler Island impoundments have been stabilized and waterfowl habitats are in great condition. According to Wildlife Biologist Robert Horan, “The Butler quota area had a great growing season, with plentiful seed production by fall panic grass, smart weed and barn yard grass. Technicians on the area have been extremely busy preparing the area for opening weekend and the ducks are beginning to settle in.”
- Champney Island: Champney Island habitats are improved from last year, but some of the damages to infrastructure still exist. The New Snipe Pool and Old Snipe Pool are stable, but West Champney has a leaking water control structure that will make maintaining a steady water level difficult. Hunters using the West Champney impoundment should be aware that water level conditions may change from week to week, so continuous scouting will be important.
- Rhett’s Island: Rhett’s Island experienced the most extreme damages from Hurricane Irma and the majority of the infrastructure repairs there have not yet been completed. Access into the impoundments is a challenge due to the crossover areas being destroyed during the storm. Dike restoration is ongoing, so replacement crossovers cannot be installed at the current time. Work to replace the damaged water control structures is also ongoing, resulting in fluctuating water levels within the impoundment pools. “The top priority on Rhett’s Island this season will be to keep repair work moving forward, improving the long term restoration of the infrastructure, habitats, and access,” said Horan. While some waterfowl hunting opportunity does exist on Rhett’s Island, the issues with access and unstable water levels will be extremely challenging to hunters not familiar with the area.
Hunters, remember that waterfowl hunting in the riverine and estuary areas outside of the impoundments on Altamaha WMA can be quite productive. Many opportunities exist in the area, but will require proper planning and scouting to make for a safe and successful outing.
To hunt waterfowl in Georgia you will need a Georgia hunting license, a Georgia migratory bird license, and a federal duck stamp (now available when you purchase your other recreational licenses). WRD has made your purchase decision even easier by the creation of the Waterfowl Package at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, which includes all you need (and includes a convenient plastic card).
For more information on Georgia Hunting Regulations, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.