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Conservation Department Announces Archery Hunt at Oak Mountain State Park
December 16, 2003
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has announced that after careful consideration it will hold an archery deer hunt at
The decision to hold the hunt is a result of several factors according to Department officials. The deer population at
The State Parks personnel have been monitoring the deer population at
Biologists also point to the lack of food available to sustain the growing deer population. The herd health is deteriorating because the deer density is exceeding the nutritional carrying capacity of the land at Oak
Several tools to decrease the deer population were considered, including removal by Department of Conservation marksmen, trapping and relocation, and contraception. These options were eliminated because of cost, poor expected results and the amount of labor required. Another option was to do nothing at this time and continue to monitor the situation, something Department biologists consider irresponsible. Wildlife Section Chief Gary Moody explains that the planned deer hunt is the best method for addressing the deer overpopulation at
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Director Corky Pugh agrees. “Regulated hunting is the only practical method at our disposal to hold deer numbers in check,” he said. “Deer multiply rapidly, and without hunting, the population level exceeds what the land will support, resulting in severe habitat degradation due to excessive browsing. As the situation worsens, deer become emaciated and can die of starvation or disease. Unless corrected now, entire plant species may be permanently lost at
An archery hunt was chosen for a number of reasons. “Hunting is the most accepted and widely used management tool for controlling deer populations,” said Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley. “
Alabama residents are eligible to hunt provided they possess a current hunting license (required for those between the ages of 16 and 64) and legal archery equipment as defined by the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Before a bowhunter is allowed to hunt, he or she must pass an archery proficiency test. This will consist of shooting several arrows at targets from designated distances. Bowhunters drawn from the lottery will be notified of a date and time when the proficiency test will be given, or they may take it at a specified time on the day of their hunt.
Hunters will be allowed to take up to two deer per day, only one of which may be antlered. Lawley said that hunters are encouraged to donate their deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, whereby the venison is distributed to local food banks. “If a hunter takes his limit the first day and does not need any more venison, we encourage that hunter to return the second day and donate any deer to Hunters Helping the Hungry,” he said.
A $6 application fee is required of each potential hunter, and a $50 use fee will be required of hunters chosen by the lottery. The fees will be used to cover a portion of the costs associated with conducting the hunt and to recoup a portion of lost revenues due to the park’s closure during the hunt.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is coordinating the hunt. Applications will be taken online beginning