FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 23, 2012) -- Hunting is a popular activity in this area, and with deer season around the corner, Fort Rucker hunters need to be up to date on changes that will affect them this year.

Deer hunting season runs from Oct. 15 to Jan. 31 and a new regulation has been put in place on Fort Rucker regarding the amount of deer that can be harvested on the installation, said John Clancy, outdoor recreation and Lake Tholocco lodging program manager.

"We have a quality deer management program in place to try and get the fawn recruitment numbers back up," he said. "The problem we have on Fort Rucker isn't that we don't have enough fawns being born, but that coyotes are putting a damper on the population of fawns."

Because of the surge in the coyote population and the effect they are having on the deer population, recommendations were put forth by the Natural Resources Branch of the Directorate of Public Works to help get the population back up.

"It was decided that there is a need to cut back on doe harvesting, so there will not be any doe harvested this year with any type of weapon," said Clancy. "People can harvest bucks, but only two bucks this season on Fort Rucker and they must be three-point bucks or better."

Clancy said that the regulations are only for Fort Rucker and can change from year to year.

"Once they feel that the population has come back up, there will be adjustments," he said.

If people hunt off the installation, they are allowed to take a maximum of two deer per day and only three bucks in a season, in the state of Alabama, but specific counties, such as Barbour County, have their own QDM programs in place as well, said Clancy.

"[Other counties] will have scheduled gun hunts just like we will have throughout the season and they will be allowed to harvest does during that specific time, but on Fort Rucker the amount of does harvested this year will remain zero," he said.

For a map of the hunting area on Fort Rucker or the scheduled hunting times, people can visit the outdoor recreation website at ftruckermwr.com/recreation/outdoor-recreation/.

The hunting schedule and area also depends on the type of weapon people are using to hunt the deer, said Clancy.

"People are allowed to use bows to hunt in any of the designated hunting areas on post throughout the entire hunting season," he said, adding that bow hunters must also keep with the new regulation limits of only two three-point or better bucks for the season.

There are also designated areas for shotguns and rifles, said the program manager. "With a bow, people can hunt in all the designated areas; with a shotgun, people can hunt in the shotgun and rifle areas; and with a rifle, people can only hunt in the designated rifle areas."

Also with any guns, people are only allowed to hunt on specific days throughout the season, with the gun season beginning Nov. 17, according to Clancy.

For anyone to hunt on Fort Rucker, people must have an Alabama state license and have proof that they have taken the hunter's education course.

"After they show us that they've taken the hunter's education course, we will sell them a permit to hunt on the installation," said Clancy.

People can visit the outdoor recreation website for a link to take the online hunter's education course before choosing a date to attend a four-hour class for the course.

Fort Rucker boasts almost 50,000 acres of land for people to hunt on, according to the program manager, so safety is a top priority for those that hunt on the installation.

"People always need to wear hunter's orange," said Clancy. "Whether the state allows people to wear just a hat (with hunter's orange on it), people on Fort Rucker must wear a vest and a hat."

Clancy also suggests that people should always walk with the safety on their guns on whether they are hunting alone or with other people.

For more information, call 255-4305.

Page last updated Thu August 23rd, 2012 at 15:08