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Oak Mountain hunt bags 25 deer

The first ever deer hunt at an Alabama State Park was held January 27-28, 2004, at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham. Designed as the first effort to relieve the overpopulation of deer in the park, the hunt was closely regulated by officials from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The final tally of deer harvested by the 70 hunters included 11 bucks and 14 does. While the purpose of the hunt was to eliminate some of the excessive numbers of deer in the park, the hunters also performed an invaluable service through their observation reports filed at the end of each day. Sighting reports for Tuesday totaled 629 deer: 109 bucks, 444 does, and 76 of undetermined sex. On Wednesday, 485 deer were observed: 65 bucks, 407 does, and 13 undetermined. All reports indicated that the deer seemed to be underweight and in poor physical condition.

Hunt officials consider the hunt a successful first step in the long process of bringing the deer population under control. The problem developed over a number of years and will require more time and effort to correct. In the words of the Conservation Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley, “The problem didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight.”

Twelve of the 25 deer harvested were donated to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program that provides ground venison to Alabama food banks. Mark Whitlock of Mark’s Outdoors in Birmingham generously paid the processing costs for the deer donated to the program.

Hunters and alternates whose names were selected, and successfully qualified for the hunt through the archery proficiency test:

Scott Edwin Allen, Odenville; Leslie G. Ansley, Talladega; Jason Dwain Bachman, Montevallo; Gregory Dale Bain, Pell City; Billy Warren Barnett, Vinemont; Keith Dale Bates, Sand Rock; James Edward Bean, Oxford; Michael David Boyle, Millbrook; Randy Lee Boyles, Haleyville; Richard Don Brooks, Boaz; Dodson Patrick Brown, Alexander City; Larry Kenneth Burnham, Jr., Pell City; Steve Dewitt Butterworth, Oxford;

Joe Robert Cantley, Clanton; Carl Eugene Carpenter, Jr., Millbrook; Geoffrey Preston Collins, Alpine; David George Compton, Decatur; William D. Crews, Springville; Dorsey Crosson, Heflin; Harley Don Davidson, Tallassee; Matthew Clenton Davis, Montevallo; Farry Alonzo Dawson, Leeds; Bradford Douglas Dobbins, Birmingham; Jacob Green Dunn, Montgomery; Jeffery Grant Fore, Odenville; Terry Fuller, Tuscumbia;

Joey Lynn Garner, Bessemer; Hunter Harrison Fuqua, Helena; Gary Edward Ganus, Jr., Birmingham; William Coleman Garner, Evergreen; Darrin Wayne Gibson, Prattville; Roland Godwin Jr., Bay Minette; Charles Wade Goggins, Clanton; Arvil Davis Goode, Birmingham; William Kyle Harbin, Bankston; Tolva L. Harmon III, Pell City; Wayne Lamar Harrell, Shannon; Charles Edward Hunt, Fruithurst; Beau Hutchins, Montevallo; Robert E. Hyde, Remlap;

Phillip Eugene Jarvis, Alabaster; Earl Douglas Jowers III, Birmingham; Paul McLaurin Kinard III, Birmingham; David Ray Loveless, Ranburne; Joseph Deron Lunsford, Montgomery; Charles C. Marler, Birmingham; Steven Craig Massey, Birmingham; James Travis Mays, Bessemer; Woodrow Randy McCay, Pinson; Mark Phillip Milazzo, Sr., Wilsonville, Lynn Wayne Morrison, Northport.

Commissioner Lawley and the hunt officials will study the information gathered from this hunt to determine future action. The ultimate goal is to reduce the deer population within the carrying capacity of the park, and to enhance the habitat and natural beauty of Oak Mountain State Park.