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Press Release

Public Asked to Report Night Hunting Activity

January 23, 2004

            The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is asking the public to assist in reporting illegal night hunting. According to the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Enforcement Section, more than 180 arrests have been made this season for illegally hunting deer at night.

            The Division is asking the public to report any suspicious activity so that Conservation Enforcement Officers can investigate. Violations may be reported by calling the Operation Gamewatch hotline at 1-800-272-GAME (4263). The hotline is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Shots fired at night and lights being shined onto fields are examples of what should be reported.

Assistant Enforcement Chief Craig Hill stresses that night hunters should not be confused with Alabama’s law-abiding hunters. “Overwhelmingly, Alabama’s hunters are ethical and law abiding; it’s just a small percentage who are violators,” Hill said. “Night hunters are stealing from the public and potentially endangering people’s lives.” Most often, offenders are not able to see what is behind their intended target, which could result in shots being fired into houses or other buildings. Livestock have also been injured or killed as well.

The Division needs the public’s assistance. “We feel we’re doing a good job curtailing illegal night hunting. It is very important that we have the public assist us,” Hill said. “The reason our enforcement program has been effective is because of citizens providing accurate and timely information. The people are our eyes and ears.”

In response to complaints of illegal nighttime deer hunting, the Division has utilized the assistance of Marine Police officers and other state and local law enforcement agencies. Aircraft are also used to locate nighttime poachers.

Alabama law allows for game animals to be hunted in open season during daylight hours only, except fox and hogs may be hunted at night with lights and dogs only. In addition, raccoon and opossum may be hunted at night with dogs, lights and certain firearms, provided hunters have written permission from the landowner.

The penalty for illegal nighttime deer hunting is a minimum $1,000 fine and loss of hunting privileges for three years. Any vehicles and/or firearms used during illegal nighttime deer hunting are subject to condemnation by the State.

For more information on Alabama’s hunting laws, seasons and bag limits, visit the Department of Conservation’s web site at www.outdooralabama.com.

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