Buck Harvest Restriction Plan Implemented for Barbour County

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The Conservation Advisory Board endorsed a public request to implement a five-year buck harvest restriction plan for Barbour County, beginning with the 2005-06 season. The new regulation will restrict buck deer harvest to those with a minimum of three or more antler points on one main beam. This restriction is modeled after the harvest requirements that have been in effect at Barbour County Wildlife Management Area for six years.

Citizens of Barbour County and the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce made the request at both the February and March meetings of the Conservation Advisory Board. Representatives from the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division then met with Barbour County citizens in three separate town meetings to hear public input concerning the requested plan. Of the more than 90 people who attended the meetings, approximately 90 percent supported the proposal. The Board approved the request at the May 21 meeting, implementing the plan on a trial basis for five years, during which it will be closely monitored and evaluated.

“There has been great interest in the effects of the restriction on Barbour County WMA,” said wildlife biologist Bill Gray. “Local landowners hope to see the same results county wide within a few years. We expect landowners with smaller acreage to see more improvement in buck age structure on their lands than those with larger holdings, because their neighbors will also be adhering to the same restriction.”

The intent of this management approach is to more quickly improve buck age structure through protection of the one-and-one-half year age class. A significant portion of the monitoring program will consist of evaluating the effects of these restrictions on buck age structure across Barbour County.

“Proper buck harvest is only one part of a well-designed deer management plan,” Wildlife Section Chief Gary Moody said. “Equally important are adequate doe harvest and development of quality habitat.”

The regulation will require data collection similar to that required by the Deer Management Assistance Program, which is utilized voluntarily by many landowners and hunting clubs. Accurate data collection and close monitoring of this data is necessary to achieve successful results.

Hunters interested in developing a complete deer management plan appropriate for their area should contact their nearest Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries wildlife biologist for assistance.

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 Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.