Drought will lead to lower deer sizes

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 19, 2007

Options for Alabama&8217;s deer hunters are going to be limited this hunting season. A prolonged drought in the majority of the state will mean the usual methods of hunting may not be very productive, depending on a hunter&8217;s location.

Moultrie, who has studied deer and deer habitat extensively in Alabama and Texas while building the Moultrie Feeders business, said hunters will likely have to change their habits to be successful.

If the weather pattern changes and winter rains become a reality, Moultrie said there could be a window to produce a green field.

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Keith Guyse, Wildlife Section Assistant Chief in the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources&8217; Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said that while the drought will have an effect on the state&8217;s abundant deer herd &8212; estimated at 1.75-million animals &8212; he doesn&8217;t expect dire consequences.

Guyse said the natural browse deer utilize is of poor quality and the mast production is basically hit and miss across the state.

Dr. Warren Strickland of Huntsville, a renowned bow hunter and member of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board, said successful hunters will focus on water sources and locating those few oaks that are dropping acorns.

When all else fails, Strickland concentrates on travel routes and bedding areas.

Trying to slip through the woods in search of deer is going to be a waste of time, according to Strickland.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.