Advisory Board Meets, Discusses Several Changes For Coming Hunting Seasons
Hope everyone's having a good break so far! By break, I'm of course referring to the lull in hunting after the end of deer season! Naturally, as we hunters and outdoorsmen are back home, deciding what to do with that freezer meat, there are lots of folks whose jobs are really kicking into high gear
The Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) is going to meet next month to discuss some major changes in deer, turkey, and small game hunting. The CAB is the governing body of sorts over season length, bag limits, and other important standards for our hunting and fishing seasons. They have quite a few things on their agenda, but what stands out to me, and many other hunters, are the adjustments they are considering to make to season length and bag limits to deer, turkey, and small game seasons.
For deer, the CAB is looking to review a change to make the entire state of Alabama have deer season run through February 10th, instead of just the Southern Zones. A similar proposal would also cut out the 10 day blackout period in the middle of December. So if this were to take effect this year, it would be providing time all the way from November 21st through February 10th for gun season throughout the state!
All of that data we put in each year from Game Check and our harvest records plays a pretty significant role in this decision making, so it's pretty nice to see all of that diligence pay off with a better season that aims to improve hunting quality and deer management quality. There are other forces at work, of course, but it still feels good to know that we can contribute directly to impacting the sport we love.
Another consideration for this board is a reduction in both season length and bag limit for turkeys this year, being recommended by a study being conducted by Auburn University. Their study is about a year and a half into its 5 year course, and still has a ways to go. The recommendation being given is to take some early measures to help address our state's fading turkey population by reducing hunter pressure and impact, but personally, I feel that it's not going to do the turkey population any good. The main problem I've seen with our turkey population has more to do with predation from boars, coyotes, and other natural hazards, and less to do with hunters over-harvesting. It'd be one thing if we could make a change by adjusting our hunting habits, but those predators don't follow seasons and bag limits. They eat and kill when they feel the need to.
There are many factors that go into these things, and personal thoughts aside, we still need more time and data to make sure these decisions are the correct ones. I know I'll be joined by many other hunters as we wait to see what the advisory board will do. Just like the rest of us waiting, I'm more than sure that the folks on the board are going to do what's right for not just us hunters, but for the game we hunt, and the sport we love.