Conservation Advisory Board Approves 2004-05 Hunting Seasons With Some Changes in Regulations

The Conservation Advisory Board met Saturday, May 22, at Gulf State Park to discuss and set hunting and fishing regulations for the 2004-2005 season. The Board cut short the usual reports from members and departmental divisions to allow more time for the questions and comments from the public, and for discussion of items presented to the Board.

Changes from previous hunting seasons were made to enhance hunter opportunities and to open new options that might attract more hunters. Discussion of changes in fishing regulations centered on limiting shrimping in upper Mobile Bay for protection of grass beds.

Dove season in the North Zone is split into three segments: September 11-25; October 30-November 20; and December 11-January 2, 2005. Conecuh County was moved into the North Zone. The South Zone’s split season is October 9-November 6; November 24-28; and December 11-January 15, 2005.

Significant changes in gun and archery deer season include approval of crossbows for all persons during the entire deer hunting season. Muzzleloader season was expanded to five days, November 15-19. The Board also voted to allow the use of scopes on muzzleloaders. A statewide youth deer hunt was approved for November 13, the Saturday prior to the opening day of gun deer season.

In a major change for turkey hunters, the Conservation Advisory Board voted to allow non-mechanized, non-electronic turkey decoys to be used during spring turkey season. In addition, a one-day turkey season for disabled hunters is scheduled for the day prior to the scheduled season opener for each county. Decoys are legal for these special hunts in both fall and spring seasons.

Dog deer hunting is limited in specific areas of some counties, as defined by the new regulations. An innovative measure concerning dog deer hunting in Henry, Covington, and Geneva counties was set based on a permit system created through the cooperative efforts of hunters, landowners, and conservation enforcement officers in those counties.

A complete listing of the 2004-2005 seasons and bag limits will soon be available on the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Web site,