Commissioner to sign proposed 3-buck limit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 26, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Hunters of the area looking to bag trophy bucks next hunting season will have to think a little more carefully before pulling the trigger on a deer caught in the crosshairs.

This is because the state conservation commissioner said he plans to sign into law a proposal that would limit hunters to three male deer during the upcoming season.

Commissioner Barnett Lawley said the three-buck limit will encourage hunters to take more does and result in bigger, better bucks.

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Currently, hunters are limited to one buck or doe a day, with the new rule effectively reducing the permitted number of bucks from about 100 per season to three. However it does not change the current allocations for doe hunting.

The new law allows hunters to take two bucks of any size and one having at least four points on one side.

Moody&8217;s Ronnie Smith, who leases 8,000 acres in Barbour County, said the buck limit takes away landowners&8217; tool for creating a quality deer herd. He said he has spent years creating a haven for trophy bucks by harvesting genetically deficient deer.

Smith hosts the Ronnie Smith Outdoors Adventures television show on CSS.

Steve Ditchkoff, an Auburn associate professor of wildlife, said the new limit would help reduce the buck harvest among other benefits.

He said it will lead to a shorter breeding season, allowing &8220;young deer to be in better condition and have better antler growth.&8221;

Tennessee cut its buck limit from 11 per season to two several years ago, leading hunters to find higher quality bucks, Ditchkoff said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.