Final Report on Deer Removal at Oak Mountain State Park
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reports that 85 deer were removed from Oak Mountain State Park. Of that number, five were collected for necropsy study, 27 were harvested through the regulated archery hunt in January, and 53 were taken by U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services biologists in March.
The Wildlife Services team, which consisted of a driver, spotlighter, and marksman, worked four nights in the park, using rifles with suppressors to reduce noise. Parks personnel assisted the team by retrieving the deer and collecting data. All deer harvested by the Wildlife Services biologists were processed into ground venison for the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
Data gathered, such as sex, age, weight, and overall condition of each deer was given to the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to be used to help monitor the herd health. Use of the Wildlife Services team was only part of the long-term process of correcting the deer overpopulation problems in the park. Conservation officials have known from the beginning that a continued effort is required to reduce the herd while improving the park’s habitat.
“Culling this number of deer from the park moves us toward our goal of bringing the population under control,” said M. Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Removing 59 does will also reduce the number of fawns born this year.”