Photo provided by Great Days Outdoors magazine
Approximately 200,000 Alabama hunters take to the woods each fall in pursuit of game, and many of these hunters will trail the most popular game animal in North American – the white-tailed deer.
There are a variety of options for Alabama deer hunters to choose from to gain access to deer-hunting areas. The state of Alabama has provided 37 wildlife management areas to the public for a nominal permit fee, thousands of hunting clubs exist in the state and private-land leasing is another option for some.
There are also many fine commercial hunting lodges that offer hunting packages that usually include guided hunts, meals and a place to stay. Enclosure hunting – hundreds of acres of high fenced land with a managed deer herd – is yet another option for some.
There is another way to access hunting lands, however, which is growing in popularity. Many private schools and other nonprofit organizations have started offering hunting packages as part of their fundraising endeavors. These organizations offer two- or three-day hunts with meals provided, and the fees they charge are used for their non-profit organizations.
Most are reasonably priced, since the use of the land is donated. These hunts usually occur during the rutting season, which is the best time to see mature bucks during daylight hours.
Charity deer hunts are a great way to have fun, hunt prime land, make new friends and donate to a good cause. And, at least part of your donation is usually tax deductible.
- If you haven’t done so already, spray undesirable grasses and weeds with a general herbicide, wait a couple of weeks for the weeds to die, then mow and disk the plots for planting. The herbicide treatment is well worth the time and money for making the best possible food plots this year.
- Don’t forget the fertilizer. I usually wait until the seeds I’ve planted grow to two inches tall and apply fertilizer with a spreader. This seems to work better for me than applying it at the same time as planting seeds.
- Repair or replace hunting stands. Check each one carefully for loose nuts and bolts, damaged welds, rotten or loose wood or any other safety hazards.
- Mow under fruit and mast trees. Not only will it improve the health of the tree, but it will provide a place where wildlife can find the fruits or nuts easily. These areas are great places to hang a game camera or a hunting stand when fruit or nuts begin to fall.
- Wear rubber boots that are calf-high. This will reduce the amount of your scent left on the ground and low growing vegetation you may brush against when walking in the woods.
- Use scent-free detergent when washing your hunting clothes and keep them in an airtight, scent-free plastic bag or container. Don’t wear your hunting clothes unless you’re hunting. For example, pumping fuel while wearing your hunting clothes is a very bad idea.
- Use scent-killer spray just before you enter the hunting area, especially on your clothes, hair, neck and hands.
- Use a natural-cover scent spray such as pine or cedar.
- Hunting from an elevated position is important. Use a tree stand or an elevated shooting house whenever possible to help keep your scent above ground level and above the deer’s nose.