Weeks before the small game seasons open and just months before the opening of deer season, hunters in one Southeast state find themselves scrambling for land after 17,725 acres was lost to public hunting.
Big game and small game hunters in Alabama learned Aug. 13 that the Boykin Wildlife Management Area north of Mobile, one of the state’s largest cities, is no longer part of the state’s public hunting lands program. The WMA encompasses 17,725 acres and is one of only two in the state where hunters can use dogs to hunt deer.
The decision is effective immediately. Alabama’s small game seasons open Sept. 1 and archery deer season opens in mid-November.
Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has agreement contracts with families or companies for its WMAs. These occasionally are not renewed when the contract term expires, as in the case of the Boykin WMA. Riley Boykin Smith, quoted in the press release below, is a former Alabama DCNR Commissioner and his family has conservation roots in Alabama dating to the 1800s.
Here’s the release from Alabama DCNR:
Hunters will lose access to 17,725 acres of public hunting land in south Alabama. As of August 8, 2015, the Frank W. and Rob M. Boykin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will no longer be a part of the state WMA system when the hunting rights agreement between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Tensaw Land & Timber Company expires.
In letter to ADCNR dated August 6, 2015, the Tensaw Land & Timber Company informed ADCNR of its decision to allow the agreement to expire. The Boykin WMA was located in Washington and Mobile counties near Citronelle, Ala., and was a part of ADCNR’s WMA system for approximately 60 years.
“After a great deal of soul-searching by the family, we have come to the conclusion that we will not be able to renew the Frank W. and Rob M. Boykin Wildlife Management Area agreement beyond August 8, 2015,” wrote Riley Boykin Smith, President and CEO of Tensaw Land and Timber Company.
“We have had the privilege of offering the hunting rights on these lands to the State of Alabama for many, many years, and we recognize and appreciate the opportunities that this wildlife management area has afforded the many citizens in this area who enjoy the outdoors and hunting in particular,” Smith said. “However, as you can imagine, our families have expanded many times over during that period of time, and the demands on Tensaw and its ownership from both the use and development standpoints necessitate this decision.”
ADCNR thanks the Boykin family for supporting conservation efforts and providing decades of hunting opportunities in Alabama.
“The Boykin family and the Tensaw Land & Timber Company continue to be conservation pioneers whose actions benefit Alabama’s wildlife resources and rich hunting heritage,” said N. Gunter Guy, Jr., Conservation Commissioner. “Their willingness to provide public hunting land for inclusion in Alabama’s WMA system has provided an opportunity for thousands of hunters to enjoy the state’s great outdoors. We greatly appreciate their conservation efforts in Alabama.”
While the closure of the Boykin WMA is a significant loss of access to public hunting land in south Alabama, local hunters have other options in the area. Additionally, several Forever Wild tracts in the area offer access to public hunting land. For a complete list of public hunting options in Alabama, visit www.outdooralabama.com/where-hunt.
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