PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Registration is open for the deer hunting program at Oak Mountain State Park.
As part of the urban deer management program, Oak Mountain State Park is offering bow hunting beginning in November and running through early February.
State wildlife biologists said scientific research data shows overpopulation of deer causes negative consequences for wildflowers, trees and shrubs in the park, which in turn depletes the food supply for small mammals and nesting birds.
That population is controlled through regulated hunting.
“The only way to keep a deer herd healthy, especially in an urban environment, is to manage it,” said Tasha Simon, a Natural Resources Planner for the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. “Overpopulation can cause many adverse outcomes to the ecosystem, and Oak Mountain’s proximity to Alabama 119, Interstate 65 and nearby subdivisions makes it critical to manage the herd for human safety as well as the well-being of the herd itself.”
Hunters must apply online to participate in the hunts and will be selected by a random draw.
Any permitted and licensed hunter 16 years or older, subject to and in accordance with established registration and eligibility requirements, can apply to participate in the Oak Mountain hunts.
The dates for the hunts are Nov. 2-5, Nov. 9-12, Nov. 16-19, Nov. 23-26; Nov. 30-Dec. 3, Dec. 7-10, Dec. 14-17, Dec. 28-31; Jan. 4-7, Jan. 11-14, Jan. 21-24, Jan. 28-31, and Feb. 1-4.
Oak Mountain State Park will remain open during the hunting dates, and archery hunters will be spread out and away from park visitors.
Hunters must have an Alabama Conservation ID (CID) to register for the random draw for the hunts. If selected, hunters must have a Wildlife Management Area license to accept the permit.
Registration closes Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 8 a.m.
After registration closes and the random draw, selected hunters will have 72 hours to accept their hunt. Once a permit is accepted, the hunter will receive an email with hunt unit assignment along with details and logistics.
The cost to hunt in a State Park Special Opportunity Area (SPSOA) is the purchase of a state hunting license, a WMA license and a SPSOA fee of $40 per hunter – all paid in advance.
Each selected hunter may bring one guest to participate in the hunt, but all guest hunters must also pay the $40 SPSOA fee and hold the other applicable licenses.
To apply to participate in the urban deer management at Oak Mountain State Park, please visit this webpage: https://www.alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park/spsoa-deer-management-hunts.