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July 16, 2010 / V A Nichols

Alleged Oak Mountain Deer Overpopulation, Again

CBS 42 News

Reported by: Al Ratcliffe
Last Update: 7/15 10:21 pm

PELHAM, AL (WIAT-TV) – There are few things as beautiful as watching a deer walking along the edge of the woods.  And it’s site often seen along the golf course at Oak Mountain State Park.

Many would say too often.  There are so many deer in fact, the animals are underfed and in poor health.  “We’ve got deer maybe two years old that might weight 50-60 pounds. I’ve got a dog bigger than that,” says park superintendent Vicky Nelson.

Nelson lives inside the park and sees the problems of over-population up close.  “I’ve got my salt blocks out, so I see the deer that come up to my house.  And they are small, they are for lack of a better word freaks.”

Things were so bad several years ago, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources allowed bow hunters in the park to shoot the deer.  In five years – only 302 deer have been harvested.  Over a quarter of those shot by sharpshooters.  “It’s hunting, they’re white-tail deer. you’ve got weather factors to look at. we’ve got temperatures, movement things of that nature,” says acting natural resources chief Forrest Bailey.  Bailey says even with the small numbers, things are looking better out there.  “We’ve noticed the fat indexes in the last three years have been getting better, the weights have been getting heavier and heavier,” he says.

Bow hunters will return to Oak Mountain this fall.  But the system is changing significantly.  Instead of only four days of hunting, the park will be open to bow hunters Monday through Friday from mid November until the end of January.  Thats a total of 55 days.

There will also be stricter criteria for a hunters.  The hope is longer hunting time and better hunters will be enough to start bringing the herd under control.  “I hope under this format this year, that we can kill in excess of 100 deer out of the program this year at Oak Mountain. And I think that will be the impact that we’re looking for,” says former bow hunters of Alabama Vice President Barry Estes.

But will just the bow hunters be enough.  Or, could other methods or tools be used to have a much greater impact.

Sharpshooters have been brought in before with mixed results.  But what about the use of shotguns and slugs.  Bailey says they’re pretty happy with what they’re doing and don’t want any more liability.

One problem with the deer herd at Oak Mountain, which isn’t likely to be fixed soon, no one really knows just how many deer are out there.  And the state doesn’t have the money to find that answer.

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THE REST OF THE STORY…

~ The park will be open during the hunts

Safety of park visitors and surrounding residents should be of concern [11 weeks – 5 days a week]

~ The last official study of the OMSP deer was done in 2003, seven years ago

The study revealed no disease in the deer of Oak Mt. State Park

~ Controlled burns take place each year at OMSP.

The result of these burns is a burst of low-growing browse for the deer. A salad bar created just for them. There is a direct relationship between the amount of food available and the number of deer.

~ Hunting increases deer herd population

The artificial removal of herd members triggers a natural phenomenon known as ‘compensatory rebound.’ [increased births, herd survival instinct]

~ Can you say: GROWING DEER AT OAK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK?

Repeat this mantra with me:

Where there is no hunting, there is the number of animals the land can support.’

‘Where there is no hunting, there is the number of animals the land can support.’

‘Where there is no hunting, there is the number of animals the land can support.’

‘The department’ hopes the public will continue to accept the truthiness of their scam of overpopulation, enabling more targets for hunters’ killing- sport.

Do think this hurts?!

It’s a typical broad-head arrowhead used in bow-hunting for deer.

Deer Bow-Hunt Dates OMSP 2010 – 2011

Nature is the best manager of wildlife

V A —

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