The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources sparked controversy this week with proposed changes to hunting regulations designed to increase hunting participate in Alabama.
According to the Associated Press, hunting is a $3 billion industry in Alabama, but sales of hunting licenses have apparently fallen in the state over the past few years. According to the Associated Press, last year the state sold 432,000 hunting licenses out of a state population of approximately 4.3 million.
In May of this year, the Conservation Advisory Board approved a number of changes in hunting regulations including,
- Allowing decoys during the spring turkey season
- Approving the general use of crossbows, which had previously been limited to disabled hunters
- Allowing sights on muzzleloaders, and assigning 5 additional muzzleloading hunting days taht had previously been reserved for traditional bow hunting
A number of news stories by the Associated Press claimed there was opposition from hunters to the changes, though the news stories didn’t actually quote any hunters or hunter groups expressing said opposition.
According to the Associated Press,
But that didn’t blunt the broader criticism that loosening the regulations would give hunters an unfair advantage over their prey. And some traditional bow hunters are still angry about the approval of crossbows – which they claim really are firearms – and about losing part of their season to muzzleloaders.
As I’ve written before, the fairness issue just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless the technology is to the point where using it might actually lead to taking too many animals, but as one hunter said in the Associated Press story, there’s plenty of deer and turkeys in Alabama to go around.
Alabama Hunting Regulations Spark Debate. Jay Reeves, Associated Press, August 23, 2004.