Blackpowder season gives hunters edge for trophies

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 26, 2007

Now that the statewide special muzzleloader season has come and gone, it appears that many deer hunters in Alabama are missing an excellent opportunity to be in the woods, which have been virtually undisturbed for the past eight months.

Everyone who has hunted deer for any length of time know how trophy deer go nocturnal quickly after the regular gun season starts on the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. Therefore, it sure makes sense to me to be in the woods those five days before the regular gun season starts with my muzzleloader.

Larry Norton of the Shed Hunting Lodge near Butler is of the same opinion.

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Norton said avid bowhunters usually see a good many big deer during bow season, although the limited range of a bow puts them out of reach.

Norton thinks part of the blame for the low number of muzzleloaders is a lack of education about the sport and some misconceptions left over from a bygone era.

For the average hunter, the modern muzzleloader offers an edge that, with some diligence, will expand hunting prowess.

The timing of Alabama&8217;s muzzleloader season, the five days prior to the start of the regular gun season, is one of the reasons Norton counts it as a missed chance to take a trophy animal.

Although hunters in most of the state have been slow to embrace the blackpowder season, Mark Whitlock of Mark&8217;s Outdoors Sports said the hunters around the Birmingham area are catching on quickly.

Whitlock said even with an estimated 200,000 hunters participating in the regular gun deer season, the state still has an overpopulation of deer and he&8217;s all for expanding the deer-hunting opportunities.

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