New Hunting Regulation Draws Criticism From State Lawmaker

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - New hunting regulations are causing a stir, but not necessarily among hunters themselves.

The regulations would require hunters to report their harvest whenever they kill turkey or deer in Alabama, on private or public hunting land.

The Game Check program, have been implemented for the 2013-14 hunting season, by the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF), would require hunters to report every turkey or deer kill within 24 hours. If they don't comply, they face a fine.

Senator Paul Sanford released a statement Wednesday, calling the regulation unnecessary government overreach.

"When this regulation takes effect, Big Brother will have just gotten bigger," Sanford said. He went on to call it "unnecessary red tape."
However,  Bryan Hughes, who has made a living out of the sport of hunting, says the data collection is necessary for smart hunting in the state.

"The new system will allow the state to gather harvest information and data about the animals that are being harvested, which in turn they can use to better manage the wildlife in the new season coming up," said Hughes.

Hughes has hunted in about 30 states and says several have the very same laws Alabama just implemented.

"Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, you all have to check your deer in," said Hughes. "So this is nothing new for the United States and it'll be a good thing for Alabama, I think."

Senator Sanford has said the regulations put an unnecessary burden on hunters. However the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has tried to make the reporting process as easy as possible. You can report right from your phone, while still sitting in a tree stand.

The biggest challenge, according to these hunters, is adequate enforcement.
However, another hunter, Dennis Hereford, says they still see this as a step in the right direction

"The changes are to help the overall deer herd," said Hereford. "Everyone wants bigger deer and that's what you gotta do to get bigger deer."

Senator Sanford has said he favors a voluntary reporting program. He is looking into legislative options to stop the new regulation in the 2014 legislative session.

You can learn more about the new Game Check program and other chagnes that have been implemented for hte 2013-14 hunting season at the ADCNR website.

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