State changes buck limits
Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2007
After hearing public testimony and a summary of a buck-limit committee report, the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board voted recently in Huntsville to implement a three-buck limit, ending decades of a buck-a-day threshold in the state.
The vote capped the discussion of the buck limit that started at the board's February meeting, after which Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley appointed a nine-member committee to study a buck limit and report to the board at the May meeting.
Stephen Ditchkoff of Auburn University, a member of the buck limit committee, presented the report at Huntsville. “It was immediately apparent that all members of the committee felt it would be beneficial to the state of Alabama to have some sort of limit in place, some regulation that would allow more males to reach an older age class,” Ditchkoff said.
e buck was considered too restrictive, while a four-buck limit would not achieve the desired effect. The committee offered three recommendations, in order of preference - a two-buck limit with no restrictions, a three-buck limit with an antler restriction of four points or better on one side for one of the bucks, and a three-buck limit with no restrictions.
Ditchkoff said modification of the current paper license, similar to what is done in Georgia, would be one option. Depending on the limit, the license would have slots to record each buck harvested with date and number of antler points.
Ditchkoff said benefits from a buck limit will become apparent in varying degrees, depending on the habitat and current deer herd health.
With an estimated deer herd at 1.7 to 1.8 million, Gary Moody, chief of the Wildlife Section with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, expressed concerned about any restriction on deer harvest.
Moody said the Alabama Hunting Survey shows a significant shift in hunter attitudes.
In other action, board member Grant Lynch of Talladega made a motion that places restrictions on enclosures capable of holding deer.
The motion, which passed unanimously, would close the deer season in such enclosures if any man-made point of access (ramp, platform, funnel, maze or one-way gate) allows deer to enter the enclosure but restricts their exit. Any bait placed to lure deer through the man-made opening was also restricted.
The penalty for a violation of the regulation is stiff. The deer season in that enclosure would be closed on notification of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries officials and remain closed for two years after the enclosure has complied with the regulation.