By Loren Lindler
If you've ever seen the Wizard of Oz, you may have heard Dorothy say, "Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!" We may not have lions and tigers roaming freely in rural Georgia, but there are bears and there is quite a variety of wildlife. From mammals to fish, and amphibians to reptiles, we've got a little bit of everything in rural Georgia.
Georgia's forests, rivers, mountains, coastline, and even non-rural areas are home to some of the state's unique creatures. Whether you're a bird watcher, hiker, hunter, fisher, or just casually hanging out in your backyard, you've probably seen some of Georgia's wildlife roaming, flying, or slithering about. Georgia is one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation, which is why the Georgia Department of Natural Resources works hard to conserve and protect much of the state's wild creatures.
Over the years, hunting has become seemingly popular throughout the state. In fact, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources shared that, collectively, hunters in the state of Georgia spend more than 8.9 million days a year in the field. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia, with a $1.6 billion ripple effect each year. So, if you're hunting for an impact, you've found it.
Hunting and fishing typically go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to putting food on the table. Fishing in Georgia is responsible for 15,644 jobs, $622 million in salaries/wages/earnings, $109 million in state and local tax revenues, and $147 million in federal tax revenues. Whether you're fishing for trout in the north Georgia mountains, or off the coast of our great state trying to reel in a grouper, the fishing industry is something special.
Not only are there animals in the waters and on land, but Georgia is home to many species of birds. Actually, Georgia is home to nearly 350 bird species, which is really im-peck-able. .
The state's wildlife plays a vital role in the ecological and biological processes that are essential to life itself, but they are also exciting to see and watch. Whether you're an avid hunter, fisherman, or backyard outdoorsman, you're sure to see a variety of creatures roaming and flying about in rural Georgia.
Georgia's wildlife is pretty cool, and there's a lot more to wildlife than we might imagine. It is certainly no surprise that wildlife has a big impact on rural Georgia.
To learn more about Georgia's wildlife, check out the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.