Alabama hunters are projected to set a new record for the deer season ending this year, estimated to take as many as 145,000 deer before long. That’s more than a 50 percent increase over the last season, where hunters culled around 90,000 deer.
As the number of hunters and hunts increase, the Alabama Department of Conservation would like to remind men and women of the outdoors to stay safe and be mindful of others.
Officials credit lockdowns and social distancing for the jump in hunters in the field, while pointing out that with the increase in hunting, the rate of hunting accidents is also at a high water mark.
“So people are having some great opportunities to get out and hunt, not only to enjoy themselves but also provide quality food for their family,” said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokeswoman Marianne Hudson.
“We have had eight tree stand accidents so far this year, and it very important for hunters not to get complacent,” she said. She also pointed out that the department offers a wide variety of online and in-person safety courses and training videos.
So far one hunter has died in a tree stand accident already this year.
With the upcoming deer mating season, even more hunters are expected to take to their stands and fields for some of the best opportunities to score a trophy buck. Hudson says that as much as 40 percent of all deer will be taken in the next three or so weeks.
Hunting supply and tackle shop owner Frank Bertarelli warns hunters to maintain their gear.
“A lot of times people buy tree stands, they let them sit outside for a year to two years, they go to get them and their straps will be rotten,” said Bertarelli. “And they don’t know until they get up there and tie off and add weight to it and they give way.”
Alabama isn’t alone. Hunting and other outdoor activities are spiking in popularity across the country. But it does serve as a reminder that no matter what game you’re taking or how, it’s extremely important to check your gear and equipment each and every time you head out into the woods and fields.