Questions and Answers
Questions & Answers About The Regulated Deer Hunts at Oak Mountain State Park
Why did the state decide to have deer hunts in Oak Mountain State Park?
The deer at Oak Mountain State Park have been overpopulated for some time. The habitat is degraded from the browsing of this excessive number of deer.
State Parks Natural Resources staff monitored conditions in the park through observation. Two studies conducted by the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, one in 1999, and the other in 2003, confirmed the overall poor health of the deer. Other studies concerning conditions of the forest and other vegetation in the park were conducted in 1999 and in 2000 under contract with Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Science, and one in 2003 by a recognized forest/wildlife consultant. All the studies indicated there were too many deer in the park. We based our decision on all of the information combined.
For these conditions to be corrected, some deer must be removed from the park. Regulated hunting is the most practical option at this time and is the most widely accepted method of deer control.
Eighty hunters will be chosen to participate in each of the regulated hunts, with one clear objective: to reduce overpopulation of white-tailed deer in Oak Mountain State Park. Each hunter will be encouraged to harvest three deer per day, as prescribed by law, to help the Alabama Department of Conservation meet its management objective.
How is safety ensured for the hunt?
Oak Mountain State Park will be closed on the days of the hunt except for the golf course, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Only the hunters selected and authorized staff will be allowed into the park. All hunters must wear a minimum of 144 square inches of Hunter Orange, as required by Alabama law. Every hunter using a treestand (portables are allowed) is required to use a safety harness from the time the hunter leaves the ground until he/she climbs down.
What happens to the deer that are harvested?
All harvested deer will be taken intact to the check-in station. Once wildlife biologists collect data on harvested deer, options for processing include:
- Transporting it outside the park to be processed. All transported deer will be covered with tarp, plastic sheeting, or concealed in some way.
- Packing the deer on ice. Hunters are responsible for providing adequate cooler, ice and tools for skinning and/or quartering their deer. A designated area will be set aside for hunters who plan to process their own deer.
- Donating the deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program. Cold storage will be available at the check station to store donated deer for eventual transport to a deer processor.