Urban Deer Control Program (UDCP)
Urban Deer Control Program
Whitetail country is full! All across America, whitetails are so abundant that city parks, urban natural areas and private neighborhoods are becoming denuded of vegetation from roaming, munching deer. Deer/vehicle accidents are increasing in number and severity. The cost of these and other deer/human conflicts is skyrocketing. What can be done?
Urban deer management is one of the most frustrating problems for state game agencies across whitetail country. Firearms hunting, the most efficient method of population control is prohibited in urban zones. City councils, then, are faced with controlling deer numbers with sharpshooters, an expensive option, or by adopting a management program from a limited number of other methods, many of which are not supported by the public. Bow hunting organizations can help.
The North American Bowhunting Coalition (NABC) recommends the use of bowhunters to help control urban deer. Metropolitan areas in many states have adopted bow hunting programs to successfully reduce deer numbers in urban zones. Helping with urban deer problems is not as simple as just changing ordinances to allow hunting with bow and arrow or allowing bowhunters access to city property with high deer numbers. These actions will certainly help in the short-term but a better long-term solution is for organized archery groups to establish a controlled, limited-access program that provides on-going management of deer numbers by producing specially trained urban bowhunters.
BHA Urban Deer Control Program Director/Contact:
P.O. Box 189
Hayden, AL 35079
Below are some general qualifications that must be met to be considered for the project. No fees will be due until you are chosen as a member of the project.
1. Must be a current BHA member
2. Must be IBEP certified
3. Must submit a UDCP application
4. Must pass a proficiency archery test
5. Must complete an interview with the UDCP Director
6. Must purchase a anual pass for the park
7. Must attend the Oak Mountain prep meeting (this will be the final step to complete all required paperwork and answer all questions prior to the start of the project)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael McAlpine (205) 296-3775
June 8, 2012 Forrest Bailey (334) 850-4331
Oak Mountain Deer Hunts Scheduled for 2012-13
In an effort to expand the opportunity for bowhunters to harvest more deer within Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, hunt dates will be scheduled from November 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013. Hunt dates will be weekday only with the exception of the three weekends in January 2013. Those dates are January 12-13, January 19-20 and January 26-27, 2013. The program was designed by the Alabama State Parks Division, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) and Bowhunters of Alabama (BHA) in an effort to maximize hunter opportunity and simplify the deer management process within the park.
Oak Mountain State Park will remain open during the hunts. All established park rules and regulations will apply. The park will be divided into 11 zones with each zone accommodating four to five hunters on a first-come, first-serve basis. Up to 60 hunters will be chosen by BHA through a registration and interview process. Visit www.bowhuntersofalabama.org to learn more about registration for this program.
The Oak Mountain hunting format is modeled on other urban deer control programs across the United States and was beneficial in total number of deer harvested from the park during the 2011-2012 season. Last year 60 deer were harvested during the hunts (37 does and 23 bucks). Weather permitting, harvest numbers are expected to go up during the 2012-2013 season due to the expanded time frame.
Wildlife experts point to Oak Mountain State Park as a textbook case of how deer tend to multiply in numbers greater than their habitat can support unless controlled through regulated hunting. Past herd health checks and necropsy confirmed the presence of parasites and disease due to overpopulation. After consulting with state wildlife biologists and in consideration of scientific research data, regulated archery hunts were established in 2004 to control the Oak Mountain State Park herd.
Surveys conducted in 1999, 2000 and 2003 found that the Oak Mountain deer herd was causing serious damage to wildflowers, trees and shrubs as a result of feeding on park vegetation. In turn, populations of small mammals and nesting birds were negatively affected. An ongoing independent study reveals a higher percentage of seedlings have survived since the hunts were implemented. As funds allow future research will be conducted highlighting the improvements to park vegetation and to the health of the whitetail deer population due to the hunts.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.