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Conservation Advisory Board Meeting 3/3/2018 Update
March 5, 2018
1:51 pm
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Don Jackson
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Update from the Conservation Advisory Board
The meeting was held this past Saturday, March 3rd at the auditorium at the State Capital. Meeting began at exactly 9 a.m. The main focus from the viewpoint of hunters in Alabama was the confirmation of a case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Mississippi. Director Sykes was very adamant that there has not been a case of CWD reported, or confirmed, in Alabama. There have been cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, EHD, confirmed in Alabama. In fact, the northern districts had a larger than normal reporting of cases this past year. There are differences between the two diseases that are too numerous to mention in this format. One point that was made is that CWD is always fatal, where EHD is not. Each of the board members expressed concern over the disease coming into Alabama in their updates. The Conservation Advisor Board created a CWD subcommittee to address, and come up with measures to be taken to keep the disease out of Alabama. The members that make up that subcommittee are Patrick Cagle (District 2), Brock Jones (District 5), and Raymond Jones (District 5). They are going to report their suggestions at the next CAB meeting in Tuscaloosa on the tentative date, May19th. Patrick Cagle also made the motion that deer from any state could not be transported into Alabama unless the carcass had been properly processed. There was already the ban on bringing in deer that were not properly processed from CWD confirmed states. This measure has at its core to bring tighter measures to keep CWD out of Alabama. This motion was unanimously passed by the board members by the voting of each member. My conversation with Director Sykes is that it is paramount that we educate the hunters of Alabama to the dire consequences of this disease and its impact to our state deer herd if CWD strikes Alabama. He asked that everyone needs to learn all that they can about the disease and how to keep it out of Alabama.

The Game Check System also was addressed in the meeting. Last year, 2016-17 was the first year that Game Check was mandatory. There were approximately 82,000 deer reported by hunters in Alabama. This year there were approximately 76,000 reported. This is the case even with all districts reporting good season on deer harvests, as reported by hunters and processors. It is the thought of the Director and his staff that not all of Alabama hunters are reporting their harvest. This lack of information is making it difficult for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to make decisions regarding deer regulations. This is caused by the lack of information that comes from deer harvested but not reported. Director Sykes stated that hunters may think that not reporting deer harvest will not impact the decisions made regarding hunting season. The actual case is that due to the reduced number of deer reported it would be determined that the deer herd is now smaller. This would lead the department to think that the deer hunting season should be shortened. This is not the case at this time; it is just a hypothetical that was used to show the importance of reporting deer harvest. This is the reason that the department has made reporting mandatory. It is not to cause hardship to the hunters of Alabama, but to give the department the information required to make sound decisions on our game resources.

There was the usual dog hunting pros and cons that come up at all of the CAB meetings that I have attended. I have to say that it was less intense, and with fewer respondents in the opposing viewpoints as it has been in the past few years. There has been a lot of work done between the members of CAB, the Alabama Dog Hunters Association, and the land owners. This seems to be the reason for the more amicable attitude of both sides.

Director Sykes also reported on the success of the Special Opportunity Areas that the state has opened up. These are areas in the state that hunters can sign up and be picked, along with a hunting partner, to hunt the area for a period of time by themselves. The best place to get information on these areas is at Outdoor Alabama website, http://www.outdooralabama/hunting. The Forever Wild Alabama has also been instrumental in obtaining land for these SOA’s.
Those hunting in Zone C of the state have had the area reduced for 2018-19. The new area can be found at Outdoor Alabama website under the deer season zone map link.

I recommend that all Alabama Hunters spend time going to Outdoor Alabama website, http://www.outdooralabama.com. There is a wealth of information contained there. There will also be updates of the Conservation Advisory Board meetings that may contain information that may not be included in this update.
Feel free to contact me with any questions and requests that you may have. I probably will not have the answer myself, but I can find out the correct answer.
Don Jackson
BHA Political Advisor

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March 6, 2018
7:04 am
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RobertM
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Thank you Mr. Jackson.

Not to fond of Director Sykes treat to shorten the season because he didn’t get the data he thought he should. There are many others factors he isn’t considering. Better enforcement of the laws would be far better if he truly thinks the laws are being followed.

March 6, 2018
7:43 am
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Don Jackson
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I do apologize if I misstated the comment from Director Sykes. He said that the data that was provided by game check due to hunters not reporting deer harvest gave misinformation that the deer herd was down. He did not say that he would shorten the season. I looked back over my comment to make sure that I had not stated it wrong. He is merely wanting the information to be accurate so his office can make good decisions. The information that is gained from Game Check does not benefit The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as much as it does the hunters of Alabama. Many other states require that deer harvest are to be reported since it gives information that is useful to the health of the deer population. Once again, I apologize if my comments led to the wrong conclusion to Director Sykes intentions. I have had many discussions with him and I can assure you he only has the best interest of the game animals and the hunters of Alabama in the decisions he makes.

March 6, 2018
1:42 pm
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RobertM
Danville, AL
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No apologizes necessary sir. I’ll be keeping an eye on this issue.

One other question, did the Board say anything about baiting?

March 6, 2018
2:57 pm
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Don Jackson
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They did not bring it up, and oddly enough no one that spoke in the public responses brought it up as well. If I understand the process it still has to be passed by the Senate and that is usually where it gets held up. I will keep a check on this as well and report accordingly as new information comes available in the General Discussion part of the website.
Thanks for your response and interest.

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BHA Webmaster
March 7, 2018
7:30 am
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RobertM
Danville, AL
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Outstanding Sir. Thank you for passing along any and all info you get.

March 9, 2018
8:29 am
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Don Jackson
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here is the link to the Outdoor Alabama Weekly update of the CAB meeting. David Ranier and his group do a great job of capturing the important parts of the Conservation Advisory Board and then put them out for all of Alabama Outdoors Men and Women to read so they we are better informed.

http://www.outdooralabama.com/…..er-updates

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