Hunting amendment is a bad idea
Published 6:51 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Dear State Sen. Myron Penn:
I support the legislation that you propose to amend the game laws to allow hunters to hunt over feed. I hope that you will offer this bill for all of Alabama and not as a local bill.
Actually, hunters in Alabama often hunt legally over feed. They hunt over corn and other crops that were planted as part of a farming operation and left in the field for wild game. We hunt over fields of emerald green, rye, wheat, oats, clover and other crops that stay green and provide nourishment to the deer during the dead of winter. Deer are drawn to and are hunted in these fields. All deer and especially buck deer are quite wary and often do not come to the fields during daylight hours. They become more and more nocturnal. This will continue to be the case if hunting over feeders with high-protein supplements is allowed.
Your legislation will do much for our economy. It will keep dollars from flowing to other states and will draw dollars from hunters from other states. Thousands of hunters from Alabama travel to Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and other states to hunt for quality bucks. It is very disappointing that we have this vast natural resource that is not properly managed.
Most sportsmen and women know that the basic factors to quality deer management are genetics, age and food. A fourth factor that can never be overlooked is law enforcement. Without law enforcement, the efforts of conservationists and sportsmen and women would be in vain.
Just because you have legal hunting over feed doesn't mean that taking your buck or even a doe will be easy. If this bill is passed with an amendment to limit the number of bucks taken, we would actually kill fewer bucks than now and we would soon see an improvement in the buck-to-doe ratio and in the quality of our bucks.
Allowing and encouraging hunters to harvest more deer has been a positive change. This needs to continue and other positive steps taken to ensure that quality whitetail deer will be a resource that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Capt. J.T. Smelly (retired),
Alabama State Trooper, Gardendale