Alabama Expands Oak Mtn Deer Management Program
In an effort to allow bowhunters to harvest more deer within Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, continuous hunt dates will be scheduled mid-November 2010 through January 2011. The new program was designed by the Alabama State Parks Division, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (Wildlife Section) and Bowhunters of Alabama (BHA) in an effort to maximize hunter opportunity and streamline the deer management process.
Oak Mountain State Park will remain open during the hunting time period. All established rules and regulations will apply. The park will be divided into 11 zones with each zone accommodating 4-5 hunters on a first-come, first-serve basis. A total of 40 hunters will be chosen by BHA through a registration and interview process for the 2010-11 season. For more information visit www.alabamabowhunter.com, to learn more about registration for this program.
The 2008 and 2009 harvest numbers were down considerably due to poor weather. The new Oak Mountain hunting format will follow the model used in other urban deer control programs across the United States.
Wildlife experts point to Oak Mountain State Park as a textbook case of how deer tend to multiply in numbers greater than their habitat can support unless controlled through regulated hunting. Scientific data provided by herd health checks and necropsy confirmed the presence of parasites and disease due to overpopulation. After consulting with state wildlife biologists and in consideration of research data, regulated archery hunts were established in order to control the Oak Mountain State Park herd.
Surveys conducted in 1999, 2000 and 2003 found serious vegetative impact on developing wildflower growth, trees and shrubs as a result of deer browsing. In turn, populations of small mammals and nesting birds were negatively effected. Additionally, disease, parasites and malnutrition can result when deer numbers exceed the vegetative carrying capacity of the land. Further planned research to be conducted this year will highlight improvements within the park and the whitetail deer population.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.alabamabowhunter.com .