The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 8, 2013

Turkey hunters upset over closing of fall season

— TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Some Alabama turkey hunters are objecting to a recent decision to close fall turkey season.

The decision was made last month by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Conservation Advisory Board, The Daily Home of Talladega reported (http://bit.ly/16HZ2Jg). Board member Bill Hatley of Gulf Shores made a motion to eliminate all fall turkey hunting in Alabama, and the board unanimously approved the motion.

Last fall season, hunters could legally hunt turkeys from Nov. 21-Jan. 1 in six counties: Clarke, Clay, Covington, Monroe, Randolph and Talladega.

Turkey hunter Johnny Ponder of Munford said board members should have reached out to turkey hunters in those six counties before making the decision.

Ponder said fall turkey hunting is as much a tradition as the November Thanksgiving dinner.

"It's a way of life," said Ron Watters of Wedowee, a former high school football coach who has been hunting turkeys in the fall for more than four decades. "Now that I'm retired, they are going to take it away from me."

The board felt that there was no justification to warrant a fall turkey season in only the six counties, said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy.

Guy said just because the board is eliminating the fall turkey hunting season now doesn't mean that the season won't open again in the future.

He said data collected from the number of turkeys killed during the spring turkey season could justify a fall turkey season in the six counties, as well as in other counties in the state.

Tom Kelley, an author and expert on turkey hunting, said he believes Alabama has ventured away from fall turkey hunting in every county of the state because it conflicts with the deer season.

"I think deer hunters didn't want turkey hunters walking around in the woods spreading their scent," he said.

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