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Three Archery Hunts Scheduled for Oak Mountain State Park
September 06, 2005
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will hold three regulated archery deer hunts to reduce the overpopulation at
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Conservation personnel monitored the park’s deer population for several years. Experts conducted surveys in 1999 and 2000 that documented serious vegetative impact resulting from deer browsing new growth of wildflowers, trees and shrubs before it has a chance to develop. This, in turn, affects the population of small mammals and nesting birds.
Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley made the decision to actively manage the herd. “We intervened because the deer population exceeded the land’s capacity to support their number. The overpopulation impacted other plants and animals in the park like songbirds and wildflowers. Recovery of the habitat will take years but there are signs of progress already. Some plants not seen in years are becoming reestablished in the park,” Lawley added.
Biologists point out that herd health deteriorates when deer density exceeds the nutritional carrying capacity of the land. A herd health check by the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study based at the
Hunters serve an important role in wildlife management. “Hunting is the most accepted and widely used management tool for controlling deer populations.
Lawley encourages hunters to donate deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, whereby the venison is distributed to local food banks. “If a hunter harvests a two-deer limit the first day and does not need any more venison, we encourage that hunter to return the second day and donate any harvested deer to Hunters Helping the Hungry,” he said.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of