It's the information nearly any hunter would want to know: how many deer were killed, when and where? But it's information only 3 to 5 percent were willing to give up.
State Wildlife and Fisheries Director, Chuck Sykes, says the department knows at least 20,000 deer were harvested, but that doesn't compare to the results following a strong week of hunting. "We need hunters to help us do our jobs," he explains.
Sykes knew he wouldn't likely have firm numbers following the season, but the effort certainly came up short. In a year with a noticeable increase in hunting permits, it's a source of frustration. "I'm a biologist, not a politician. My job is to manage the resources of the state to the best of my ability for future generations," he adds. "I can't do it without information."
Sykes fear predates his biology career, but some may remember when the state had to undergo an intensive restocking effort to maintain the deer population. "I don't want it to get back to that level either. I don't want to have my head stuck in the sand saying things are good now, and they are always going to be good. I want to know where we can make the proper decisions so we don't go back to those days. It hadn't been that long ago."
That's not to mention the numbers would provide the ability to manage and protect a multi-billion dollar industry in Alabama. The department rolled out a February hunting season in southwest Alabama, at hunters request. "How can we evaluate the success or failure if we don't know what was taken?" Sykes asks.
Hunters can come and voice concerns and ideas regarding the upcoming hunting seasons at the first Department of Conservation's Advisory Board Meeting, March 1st at the Richard Beard Building in Montgomery.
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