While harvest totals for 2012 were not yet available, an annual survey of hunters showed that the overall harvest numbers continues to decline in Alabama. But this isn’t all bad. The lower harvest last season gave more bucks a chance to grow another year older.
“We experienced an extremely wet summer over most of Alabama, which means browse production is excellent,” said Chris Cook, deer studies project leader for the Ala. Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (DWFF). “Hunters should have a very good season for seeing bigger deer, if we have a cold, dry fall and winter.”
Effective for the 2013-14 season, all hunters must report any deer they harvest. They can do so by downloading and using a software application on their smart phone (available at www.outdooralabama.com); by entering harvest information online; or by calling (800) 888-7690.
Alabama law prohibits hunting game over bait. The law states hunters cannot hunt in an area where bait is present or be aided by the influence of bait. Since the area of influence can vary widely, it’s often difficult to delineate where an individual may hunt in relation to supplemental feed. To clarify the regulation, this year the DWFF stated that supplemental feed can only be used if it is more than 100 yards away from the hunter and obscured from sight by natural terrain or vegetation.
“As set by regulation, there is now a presumption that any feed beyond 100 yards from the hunter that is hidden from view is not considered bait,” added Cook.
Some of the best public land hunting can be found at the Barbour County Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Its 28,000 acres regularly produce some of the better public land bucks. Note that bucks must have at least three points on one antler beam to be legal. The Sam R. Murphy WMA in the northwestern part of the state is another public land hotspot with 17,625 acres.