State Wildlife and Fisheries Director, Chuck Sykes says low compliance from hunters puts the multi-billion dollar industry at risk.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
It's the information nearly any
hunter would want to know: how many deer were killed, when and where? But
it's information only 3 to 5 percent were willing to give up.
Wildlife and Fisheries Director, Chuck Sykes, says the department knows at
least 20,000 deer were harvested, but that doesn't compare to the results
following a strong week of hunting. "We need hunters to help us do our
jobs," he explains.
Sykes knew he wouldn't likely have firm numbers following the
season, but the effort certainly came up short. In a year with a
noticeable increase in hunting permits, it's a source of frustration. "I'm a
biologist, not a politician. My job is to manage the resources of the state
to the best of my ability for future generations," he adds. "I can't do it without
Sykes fear predates his biology
career, but some may remember when the state had to undergo an intensive
restocking effort to maintain the deer population. "I don't want it to
get back to that level either. I don't want to have my head stuck in the
sand saying things are good now, and they are always going to be good. I
want to know where we can make the proper decisions so we don't go back to
those days. It hadn't been that long ago."
That's not to mention the numbers would
provide the ability to manage and protect a multi-billion dollar industry in
Alabama. The department rolled out a February hunting season in southwest
Alabama, at hunters request. "How can we evaluate the success or failure if we
don't know what was taken?" Sykes asks.
Hunters can come and voice
concerns and ideas regarding the upcoming hunting seasons at the first
Department of Conservation's Advisory Board Meeting, March 1st at
the Richard Beard Building in Montgomery.