The Georgia Board of Natural Resources has recommended buying 10,000 acres of land for the Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area.
The board voted 11-6 on Tuesday to approve acquiring land it now leases in Houston County from Oaky Woods Properties LLC. Several board members objected to the cost of the deal.
The state decided against purchasing it in 2004, likely for less money. Board member Tom Wheeler, chairman of the land acquisition committee, said he supports protecting the land but believed the price was too expensive.
Biologists estimate that the land supports roughly 300 black bears, the third-largest population in the state. Georgia has leased the land since 1966 so people can hunt, fish, hike and canoe in the area.