LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – October 15th marked the beginning of archery deer hunting season in Alabama. But many hunters found their favorite hunting spots to be closed due to the government shutdown.
Wheeler Wildlife Refuge remained locked and closed off to hunters as the hunting season approached.
“A lot of times before the season people will go scout to find the best spot to hunt, but the refuge has been closed, so they haven’t been able to set foot on the refuge to get ready for deer season,” said Bryan Hughes, hunter and owner of Backwater Outdoors, a hunting supply store.
Over the past weeks he and his staff have been fielding calls from frustrated and confused hunters.
“A lot of frustration, people upset, y’know. Deer hunting is a big deal, one of people’s favorite pastimes so they have been pretty upset,” said Hughes.
While State land has remained open, federal refuges were shutdown. A call to Wheeler Wildlife refuge was answered by an automated message, stating the office would be closed for the duration of the shutdown.
But now a House vote to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling means soon hunters will be able to get back to their favorite sport. And Hughes will see business get back to normal.
“I have a lot of customers who hunt [at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge],” said Hughes. “If they can’t go hunting, then they don’t come here and buy stuff. It’s the trickle down effect.”
While the shutdown has come to a close, there is no word yet on how soon federal hunting land and national parks will open.