New Hunting Area Available for Disabled

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The Dozier Hunting Area for People with Physical Disabilities, located in southern Crenshaw County near Dozier, is now in operation. The 510-acre hunting area is a cooperative, joint effort of the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Alabama Department of Transportation to provide hunting opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities.

At present, two wildlife openings, each equipped with a shooting house, have been developed and planted with winter forage crops. A good white-tailed deer population exists on the area and the habitat offers excellent food, cover and water for deer as well as other species of wildlife.

The habitat is cut-over hardwood bottomland. The area, owned by the Alabama Department of Transportation, is a wetland mitigation area and borders the Conecuh River. The wetland river bottom exhibits very fertile soil which, along with abundant moisture, grows many preferred wildlife food plants. The successional stage of the habitat is also at a stage to provide excellent vegetation for deer and other wildlife species.

Roads and crossings of streams are jointly being developed by the Departments involved. Roads are usually passable but very heavy drains could flood part of the areas since it is a wetland area. In case of heavy rains, hunters should call ahead to check on flooding and the conditions of the hunter access roads and trails.

The Dozier Hunting Area will be open each Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday in December 2004 and January 2005. Each hunter must complete an application available from the Wildlife Section, 64 North Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130 or by calling 334-242-3469.

The application process certifies individuals are physically disabled under guidelines established by the American Medical Association, Veterans Administration or the U.S. Social Security Administration.

The following guidelines apply to hunting the Dozier Area:

* Hunting is by reservation and can be made by calling 334-222-5415 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

* Reservations are on a first come basis, but an individual may only hunt on the area once every two weeks.

* Hunting must be from provided shooting houses.

* Hunters must check in and out on the date reserved.

* Hunters may bring a non-hunting partner to assist with activities.

According to Area Wildlife Biologist Thagard Colvin, people wishing to hunt the Dozier Area should apply now for a handicapped certification application, complete it, and send it in. “Be sure to call in your reservation for a shooting house as soon as possible. Cold weather will soon be here and deer will start moving,” he said.