The people's voice of reason

Good Stewards of The Woods and Waters!

Conservation. It's a word with a whole lot of different meanings to different people. While the general idea might be the same, it's a distant after thought for many Americans. To those of us in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking or camping, conservation is a constant effort to maintain the precious resources we have.

As a member of QDMA, conservation is one of my primary goals. After all, you can't go deer hunting if there aren't any deer left! The amount of research and education we invest in is tremendous, but the constant effort pays off in spades. We've seen Alabama become, and remain, a deer hunting destination, which brings in plenty of cash flow to both our State and local businesses. With careful management, it'll surely stay that way, too.

There are plenty of challenges, of course. Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a serious illness that can absolutely decimate a deer population. It spreads easily and quickly throughout the herd, silently eliminating the deer population, out of our sight. Careful management and regulatory action can help stymie the spread of CWD, and Alabama has so far been up to the challenge. Keeping deer from being brought across state borders, for instance, has been a wise move.

Speaking of regulatory action, Alabama's red snapper season is going incredibly well, so far. There are some real big fish being caught down in the gulf, and we have our state government and its it's hard working officials to thank for that. The federal regulators wanted to keep us to a meager handful of days to fish, using the data they had. However, through programs like Snapper Check, the data obtained convinced the powers that be to let the State determine the season for itself. Conservation, when all the gears are moving smoothly, lets us enjoy our hunting and fishing heritage, not only today, but tomorrow as well.

Naturally, we've still got plenty of work ahead of us. As most of you Turkey Hunters know, we're in the middle of a rough spot for turkey conservation. Simply put, there ain't a lot of turkeys out there. Both the experts and us good ole boys agree that something is going on out in the woods, and it's going to take some work to address it. Between habitat loss, over predation, and some unusual weather, the turkey population has seen better days. If we drop the ball on this, we will probably end up like it was decades ago, when seeing a bird was near a miracle, much less harvesting one.

Fortunately for both the critters and us, there's a lot of help to be given in the name of conservation. Private organizations like QDMA work hard everyday to help improve and maintain deer herd numbers and quality. The state also has plenty of fine folks in charge of public lands and the wildlife in our state, doing everything they can to protect what resources we have.

Ultimately, the responsibility for conservation falls to each one of us individuals. If hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities are gonna be around to enjoy for years to come, we've all gotta work together to see it through. My work with QDMA has only strengthened my resolve to help maintain what we have, and I encourage all of you to keep conservation on your mind this year, going forward. Engaging in programs like Game Check, Snapper Check, and the like can only help out the cause. If you're fortunate enough to be a part of an organization like QDMA, spread the word and study up.

The way I see it, the Outdoors is a gift to all of us, and I intend on leaving that treasure for those who follow behind us, better and richer than I found it. I hope all of you can share in that belief as well, because, if we Outdoorsmen win the fight for conservation, then every one of us also wins. So get out there, keep those woods and waters looking good, and go get'em!


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