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AL hunters can now access deer fetal study online

From Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources

-- Alabama hunters now have access to the most recent results of a white-tailed deer fetal study conducted during the spring and summer by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division. Results from the fetal study, hunter survey and Game Check system assist in the setting of seasons and bag limits.

The fetal study data is posted on after the information from the intensive collection effort in 49 counties was recently compiled. The study involved taking does from specific sites and performing necropsies to determine fetal development, which provides a date of conception.

This year’s samples were taken from 104 sites, the majority of those from south of Highway 80. WFF personnel attempted to take a sample size of five deer per site with at least two sample sites per county. Additional sites were added along the Chattahoochee River for extra scrutiny. Sykes said that between 450 and 500 deer were sampled for the study.

Previous fetal studies provided the data to support the decision to give portions of southwest Alabama a 10-day season in February, days which were swapped for 10 days hunting in December.

“Fetal studies, along with the information we get from Game Check, give us a better understanding of breeding activities in south Alabama and whether the February season is justified,” WFF Director Chuck Sykes said. “A lot of that depends on how many hunters participate in Game Check. It is extremely important that hunters participate in Game Check so we can find out what the details of the harvest are in those areas.”

Sykes said there is no one-size-fits all approach to deer management in Alabama.

The easiest and fastest way hunters can participate in Game Check is to use a smartphone with the Outdoor Alabama app for both iPhones and Android devices. Hunters can also visit to participate or call the toll-free telephone number at (800)888-7690.