Extended Deer Season Hurts Hunters?

Alabama’s lengthy deer season could grow by two weeks if a bill is approve by the state’s Senate.

The state’s season opens in mid-October and closes Jan. 31 each year. A push to extend it into February for hunters in the southern part of the state to be able to hunt the peak of the rut has gained support.

Senate Bill 359 was approved two weeks ago in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee and moved to the full Senate for consideration. That could happen before the Legislature’s annual session ends in early May or, as sometimes happen, it could just sit there.

Mobile Press-Register outdoors editor Jeff Dute argues against SB359, however, because it would extend the season statewide on private land. That, he says, excludes hunters who only have public land on which to hunt and also could hurt small game hunters who say a February season would further curtail their opportunities by deer hunters who don’t want them on their property.

“It’s likely more folks hunt squirrel and rabbit on private land than public ground, and they’re still going to be denied access with a deer-season extension,” Dute wrote in his opinion column. “All this bill will do is give hunting clubs a guilt-free easy out when they say, “You can’t hunt here.”

“The best way to keep small-game hunters happy and therefore continuing on the rolls of license-buying hunters is to avoid gerrymandering the state’s season dates for any specific user group’s benefit, especially when considering the current science.”

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