Hunters will lose access to 19,480 acres of public hunting land in south Alabama this fall as the Scotch Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Clarke County will no longer be a part of the state WMA system. The removal of Scotch from the WMA system will be effective 90 days from May 25, 2016.
 
In a letter dated May 25, Scotch Land Management informed the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) that its decision to remove the land from the state’s WMA system was due to an increase in candidate listings under the federal Endangered Species Act, which could restrict its business and land management practices.
 
The Scotch Land Management company has provided the acreage as public hunting land in cooperation with ADCNR since the 1950s. Deeply valued by the local hunting community, the Scotch WMA was located in Clarke County near Coffeeville, Ala., and was a part of ADCNR’s WMA system for approximately 60 years.  
 
According to a Scotch Land Management press release, the decision was in no way related to the thousands of responsible hunters who utilized the land.   
 
“To the many law-abiding citizens who have enjoyed hunting and other recreational and conservation activities on the land for nearly 60 years, and to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we say thank you for being such good stewards of the land,” Scotch spokesperson Gray Skipper said in the press release dated May 25, 2016.
 
“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or without much deliberation, but recognizing our responsibility for ensuring that this land remains available and productive for future generations, we feel we had no other choice.”
 
ADCNR thanks Scotch Land Management for supporting conservation efforts and providing decades of hunting opportunities in Alabama.
 
“The Harrigan, O’Melia, and Skipper families who comprise Scotch Land Management continue to be conservation pioneers whose actions benefit Alabama’s wildlife resources and rich hunting heritage,” said N. Gunter Guy, Jr., Conservation Commissioner. “Their willingness to provide public hunting land for inclusion in Alabama’s WMA system has provided an opportunity for thousands of hunters to enjoy the state’s great outdoors. We greatly appreciate their conservation efforts in Alabama.”
 
While the closure of the Scotch WMA is a significant loss of access to public hunting land in south Alabama, local hunters have other options in the area. Additionally, several Forever Wild tracts in the area offer access to public hunting land. For a complete list of public hunting options in Alabama, visit www.outdooralabama.com/where-hunt.
 
ADCNR’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) manages more than 700,000 acres of public land for Alabamians to explore and hunt. These areas are financed with funds derived from hunting licenses and federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition. To learn more about Alabama’s WMA system, visit www.outdooralabama.com/wildlife-management-areas.
 
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com. 
 
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