Bow hunters kick off the season Monday

Published 11:12pm Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monday, hunters will draw back their bows in hopes of bagging a big one.

Monday marks the beginning of bow hunting season, and officials are stressing hunters do so safely.

“One thing we would like to stress is that people, usually people bow hunting, that they hunt out of a stand,” said Fred Harders, acting director of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “And it’s very important they wear a safety harness. That’s one of the problems people run into is if they don’t have a harness, they can fall out of that stand and hurt themselves. We’ve had hunting accidents that have happened that way. The other thing is just safety — be sure what you’re shooting at is a deer.”

Harders added hunters should make sure their stand and harness are safe before using them because both can deteriorate after not being used over a period of time.

Rountree Outdoors owner Chet Chappelle said one of the main draws of bow hunting is that it gives hunters a jump start on deer hunting before rifle hunting season starts on Nov. 17.

“There are a lot of people that take interest. The reason why is because you gain 30 more days of hunting season,” Chappelle said. “A lot of guys are anxious to get out in the woods, so they take bow hunting on just to get in the woods.”

Chappelle said hunters who take up the sport are also interested in the challenge it presents.

“It’s a challenging sport, bow hunting. You have to get the deer closer to you than you would with a rifle, so it’s a lot more challenging,” Chappelle said. “Basically, anybody can go get in the shooting house and shoot a deer at 100 yards. With bow hunting, you’ve got to get them in close. With doing that, there’s a lot of things that come into play like shoot control, being able to draw your bow without the deer detecting you in the tree. A lot of that plays a big part in bow hunting, that’s why it’s challenging and that’s why a lot of people like it.”

Harders said reports the department has received indicate the acorn crop is looking good, so he’s expecting a fair amount of deer to be harvested this season.

And while hunters are engaging in the sport, Harders said they can help out the conservation department and engage in a bit of competition while doing so.

“Hunters can go on our website at outdooralabama.com under hunting, and when they make kill or harvest a deer, they can go online and report what they killed and where they’ve done that,” Harders said. “That information will help us manage the deer population. That’s free for use. Also, they can track their success online by registering their deer, and they can look at how other people in the county that have gone on and registered their harvest have done.”

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