by Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
For the past two years, the department of Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has tried to enforce voluntary game checks to better evaluate the status of deer herds and turkey populations throughout the state. Unfortunately, their efforts have been unsuccessful. This year it is MANDATORY to submit your harvest(s) of deer and turkey. This process has been created to be time efficient and very simple.
For years, Alabama has used century old data to establish limits and set season lengths. As any good hunter knows, the deer and turkey population has changed over the last century and each population is site specific. This October, Alabama will begin Mandatory Game Checks for all hunters hunting deer and turkey. The department has created an app that allows hunters to go on their phones (with or without service) and enter in some generic information about their harvest and the location of the kill. This data is then used to determine which parts of the state are being managed properly and which parts need assistance. As many of you already know, the state has been separated into 3 distinct zones to better manage for deer and turkey populations that are specific to that zone. The state is working toward county specific data so that bag limits and season lengths will match perfectly with the harvest data, and provide better knowledge of the health of the deer herd/turkey population of that particular county. I cannot express how important this is to the wildlife and hunters in Alabama. State biologists must have access to harvest data in order to better manage the wildlife that is native to this state. With that being said, they must rely on hunters to gain that knowledge. PLEASE participate in this state movement. This is a huge step towards proper wildlife management in Alabama. Think of it this way: by providing your harvest data, you are enabling biologists to gather the information they need to manage your property for you. The process is very simple and it begins with purchasing a hunting license at www.outdooralabama.com or through the app on your phone. After that, you will have all the information you need to follow the directions for the game check. Law enforcement officers will be happy to demonstrate how the game check works, as they are aware that this is a learning process and will take time. The app will also explain how to report harvest data. If you do not have a smart phone, you can always get on the website and report your harvest within 48 hours. Check out the website to learn the latest changes in season lengths this year and be sure of which zone you will be hunting in. This information will benefit Alabama’s wildlife for years to come!
Please be compliant with this hunting season’s mandatory game check; it will determine the future laws and regulations regarding deer and turkey season. Moreover, this game check will provide data to accurately manage or conserve wildlife populations, which is part of being a hunter. Also, hunting licenses expire August 31 and they are on sale now! Buy a license and be part of a movement that is going to greatly improve management techniques in Alabama.
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