The Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Board met in Birmingham on March 9 to receive public comments on all pending matters and approved sweeping changes to the state’s deer regulations.
Hunters in Alabama this season will see several changes for deer, including a zone with dates in February.
The changes are among the greatest made in the state in decades, joining the one five years ago when the board reduced the season buck limit from one a day to three a season. The following changes will be implemented for the 2013-14 hunting seasons:
— In Alabama, it is unlawful to hunt in an “area” where bait or feed has been placed in an attempt to lure or attract an animal with the intent to take or kill them (Section 9-11 -244, Code of Alabama). In an effort to clarify the Statute concerning hunting with the aid of feed, the CAB unanimously approved a motion to define that “area.”
The delineation of an area beyond which there would be a rebuttable presumption that feed would not be a lure or attraction over the area being hunted was approved. The text of the approved regulation would be as follows: “For the purposes of Section 9-11-244, Code of Alabama 1975, and Rule 220-2-.11, Alabama Administrative Code, as it applies to the hunting of deer and feral swine, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any bait or feed (as defined in Section 9-11-244) located beyond 100 yards from the hunter and not within the line of sight of the hunter, is not a lure, attraction or enticement to, on or over the area where the hunter is attempting to kill or take the deer or feral swine. For the purpose of this regulation, “not within the line of sight” means being hidden from view by natural vegetation or naturally occurring terrain features. This regulation shall not apply on public lands.”
— The CAB unanimously approved the shifting of the end of the deer hunting season in southwest Alabama to February 10. In an effort to keep the number of days consistent throughout the entire state, the deer season will be closed from Dec. 2-11 in the area of the state that is allowed to hunt into February.
The counties and areas involved are all of Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile, and Washington Counties and parts of Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Covington, Monroe and Wilcox counties.
— The CAB unanimously approved the establishment of a restricted unantlered deer season in portions of north Alabama during the period of November 23-January 31. The bag limit in this portion of north Alabama has been reduced to one unantlered deer per day.
The counties involved are all of Limestone, and parts of Blount, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties, as shown on the attached map.
— The CAB unanimously approved the establishment of a mandatory game check system for the 2013-14 deer hunting season. In addition to completing the Alabama Harvest Record upon the harvest of an antlered buck or turkey, hunters will be required to record their harvest into a game check database and obtain a harvest confirmation number for each animal taken.
Three ways to record the harvest and receive the harvest confirmation number are: through the OutdoorAlabama.com website, the Outdoor Alabama App for Droid or iPhone, or by calling a 1-800 number. All deer, antlered and unantlered, and turkey must be registered within 24 hours of harvest.
— The closing of the dog deer hunting seasons in portions of Elmore and Wilcox counties, except by permit.
— Revisions for the use of certain arms and ammunition, including allowing the use of laser sights by legally blind hunters who are accompanied by licensed sighted assistants.
— Revision of legal arms and ammunition to allow for the use of air guns .30 caliber or larger for deer.