Archery Hunts at Oak Mountain State Park
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announces that it will hold an archery deer hunt at Oak Mountain State Park on October 26-27, 2004, and another on December 15-16, 2004. A computer-generated selection process will choose 70 hunters for each of the regulated hunts.
A similar hunt held in January 2004 was the successful first step in the long process of bringing the park’s deer population under control. The increasing deer population at Oak Mountain State Park causes habitat degradation, deteriorating herd health and higher potential danger for vehicle collisions. The purpose of the hunt is to reduce the number of deer.
“This is not a trophy hunt,” emphasized Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley. “These regulated hunts are a management tool to help the park bring the deer population down to numbers that can be supported by the park’s habitat.”
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 selected from the pool of applicants will be notified of a date and time when the proficiency test will be given.
Hunters will be allowed to take up to two deer per day, only one of which may be antlered; but hunters must take an unantlered deer before taking an antlered buck. Hunters who harvest a buck without first taking a doe are subject to dismissal from the hunt and confiscation of the deer.
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 does not need any more venison, we encourage that hunter to donate any deer to Hunters Helping the Hungry,” Lawley said.
Applications will be accepted through the Conservation web site only and hunters may apply as many times as they choose. Each applicant will be allowed to specify on the application one additional hunter in their party. The $6 application fee paid via credit card will apply to both hunters. A $50 use fee will be required of hunters chosen to participate. 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.
Applications will be taken online beginning Monday, September 20. Application deadline for the October hunt is 5 p.m. on October 7. Registration will be closed October 8-17 and reopened October 18. The deadline for the December hunt is November 15 at 5 p.m.
Applicants drawn for the hunts will be officially notified by email and will also be sent confirmation packets via U.S. Postal Service.
Names of applicants not chosen on October 7 for the first hunt will be carried over in the pool of applicants for the December hunt. Hunters whose names are drawn to participate in the first hunt are eliminated from the pool of applicants for the second hunt. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is coordinating the hunts.