The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reports Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. proposes to shift the deer season in southwest Alabama into February. The proposal would swap 10 days of hunting in December for 10 days of hunting in February starting in 2014. The gun season would be closed Dec. 2-11 and extended to Feb. 10. Bowhunters in the affected area would start the season 10 days later on Oct. 25, 2013.
The proposed area for the February season includes all of Baldwin, Mobile, Washington and Escambia counties, most of Monroe and Conecuh counties and portions of Choctaw, Clarke, Wilcox, Butler and Covington counties (see map).
“This wasn’t arbitrarily picked out,” Commissioner Guy said. “We’ve heard from the public, and we’ve listened to the public that they don’t think they’re getting to hunt the rut. With our Wildlife Section and everybody involved, we have data and field studies about when the rut occurs in Alabama. We have good information that we have a comfort level with, that we can extend the season and won’t hurt the resource. We spent a lot of time on this.
“This is not to say that there are not other areas in Alabama that will warrant this in the near future, but we don’t have the data needed to afford it at this time. Nobody in the Department nor you want us to make a mistake and damage our resources that are so valuable to us. We’ll get there if it’s warranted. Just give us time. We want to respond to you to make the hunting experience better, but we’ve got to do it right. We have to balance the hunting experience against what’s best for the resource.”
Commissioner Guy also proposed a reduction in the daily bag limit of unantlered deer in a portion of north Alabama. The daily harvest during gun season of unaltered deer would be reduced from two per day to one per day. The number of days for doe harvest will also be reduced – Dec. 14, 2013, through Jan. 4, 2014.
“Just like the extended season in southwest Alabama, there’s also been an issue expressed to us about the deer herd in north Alabama, that numbers are not as great as they have been in the past,” he said. “Our biologists have been working with people in that area to gather the information. This will be a restricted doe harvest in this area. For the rest of the state, there will be no reduction in doe harvest.
“This is all about managing our resources. Natural resources are dynamic, everybody knows that. Every year is different. If you have some mortality event, we need to know about it and react to it quickly or we may overharvest. Turkeys are the same way. Other states have had a problem where they didn’t know about it until it was too late. That’s why we want this reporting system so we can keep up with the numbers in real time. If we see a decline, we can adjust the seasons and bag limits accordingly.”—courtesy www.outdooralabama.com