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AON WMA Analysis

WMA Special Report

This page sponsored by AON

By Brad Gill, Editor, Alabama Outdoor News

Reprinted from AON, September 2012 issue by permission 


Deer season is approaching, so it’s time to begin planning which WMA deer hunts you’ll attend.

AON’s WMA Special is a great tool whether you’re looking for the best WMA to shoot a quality buck, or you just want a place to put some meat on the ground. On pages 25 and 26, we’ve printed all the stats from last year’s stalk, youth, primitive-weapons and dog hunts from each WMA. Listed under each WMA are results for individual hunts.

Each hunt includes a “Man-Days” number, which gauges hunter pressure. Each hunt also includes a “Man-Days Per Kill” number, which measures hunter success. The lower the Man-Days Per Kill number, the more successful the hunt was. For example, Choccolocco WMA’s Dec. 29-31 hunt averaged 25 man days of hunting to kill a deer. That’s pretty low odds on killing a deer on a three-day hunt.

However, during Choccolocco’s Nov. 24-26 hunt, it only took 4.7 days of hunting to kill a deer. That’s much better odds of killing a deer on a three-day hunt.

Best WMAs for Venison: Using each WMA’s overall Man-Days Per Kill number (excluding archery data), AON created the Best WMAs for Venison list below. Use this list if you’re interested in a place to hunt where you’ve got the best chances of just shooting a deer.

David K. Nelson WMA had the highest overall hunter-success rate last year.

“The David K. Nelson WMA is located along the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers in Hale, Greene, Sumter and Marengo counties,” said Chris Cook, wildlife biologist and deer-studies project leader for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “These bottomland areas have very fertile soils, which in turn produce very high-quality forage and mast-producing plants. These high-quality soils and plants have enabled this part of Alabama to sustain high deer populations and deer harvests year after year.”

Best WMAs for Killing Quality Bucks: AON also caters to hunters who are looking for a big buck on public land. AON’s Best WMAs for Killing Quality Bucks is listed on page 24.

To formulate the rankings, we allowed each WMA a maximum of 100 points. We graded each WMA in three areas: percentage of 2 1/2-year-old and older bucks in the 2010-11 antlered-buck gun harvest (50 points), antler-circumference measurements on 2 1/2-year-old bucks (25 points) and beam-length measurements on 2 1/2-year-old bucks (25 points).

For the second year in a row, Black Warrior Zone B was tops in this list. Black Warrior Zone B reported 96 percent of its antlered bucks in the harvest were 2 1/2-year-old and older bucks, higher than any other WMA in the state.

The 2 1/2-year-old bucks taken at Black Warrior Zone B had the best circumference measurements (3.5 inches) when compared to bucks on all the other WMAs. It also ranked No. 4 in beam-length measurements (14.9 inches) on those same bucks.

Use last year’s WMA hunt data to help decide where to hunt this fall. If you kill a WMA deer, mail a photo and caption information to Editor, 1414 Golden Springs Road, Suite 313, Anniston, AL 36207 or e-mail to <>.

 Editor’s Note: The information to create the WMA Special was provided by Chris Cook. The report is compiled into the state’s “Deer Hunt Results on Alabama Wildlife Management Areas, 2010-2011” report. The entire document is available at <>.