Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) reports an unusual harvest of large Virginia males at the end of this season on February 10, with real giants appearing on social media and reported in the state’s “Game Check” app , who succeeded hunters are required to report their catches.
Chris Cook, the WFF Deer Program Coordinator, said many factors are likely involved in increasing the number of harvests as well as the quality of the males harvested. Cook said COVID-19 restrictions played a role in increasing the harvest of all deer. Many people have discovered or rediscovered many outdoor activities, including hunting, as they have had much more free time due to the closure of workplaces and schools, remote working and remoteness social required.
“We saw it during turkey season last year,” Cook said. “More people were hunting because of the working hours.”
As any seasoned hunter knows, spending more time in the woods is often the key to making quality dollars. The use of game cameras to establish movement patterns, more and more prevalent every year, is undoubtedly another factor, allowing hunters to discover large deer that they would never have known otherwise.
Once the giant male reveals himself to the camera, it is then possible for the hunter to focus on shaping the animal’s movement, looking for scratches, chafing, and regularly used trails where it might be. possible to get closer.
Even then, time spent in the woods is generally a key factor, and many hunters in this last Covid-modified year had more time available to spend in the woods than ever before.
Environmental conditions that improved deer habitat likely also contributed to an increase in the deer harvest, Cook said.
“We’ve had a good two years of above average rainfall,” he said. “In some areas we had a lot of flooding, which made deer hunting difficult. Some deer that would normally have been harvested were not killed. The other benefit of all this rain is food production. Such difficult hunting conditions for a few years and good growing conditions probably made the deer a little older and in better condition. At the start of the season, people were saying they couldn’t remember seeing such good body weights.
“Another factor that could play a role in this situation is complementary feeding. When feeding became legal last year, we had a 14 percent increase in the harvest. But I wouldn’t attribute the corn to the increased quality of the deer.
Alabama’s deer herd is estimated to be between 1.25 million and 1.5 million animals. As Game Check numbers and telephone survey data are analyzed for county-level harvest along with age and gender ratios, Cook said WFF will be able to update its population estimates. There are about 190,000 licensed deer hunters in the state, and they typically take about 200,000 animals in total all seasons combined.
“We have areas where the deer population is declining and other areas with more deer than they have ever had,” Cook said. “Places with good habitat will have good deer populations. Our deer herd appears to be in good health. It will be interesting to see what the phone survey numbers are, but it looks like the harvest has gone well this year, which I think will be an indicator of two things – we have more deer, but I think it also shows that people spent more time hunting.
For more details, visit www.outdooralabama.com.