Editor’s Note: One of the best ways to harvest a mature buck is to take that deer during bow season. Bowhunting’s never been easier to learn and do than today because of the legalization of the crossbow. Not only can people with disabilities use this bow, but older people, younger people and everybody in-between also can shoot accurately with only a little instruction to be ready for bow season. Too, if you prefer to shoot a compound bow because of its sighting systems and the other advantages it offers, learning to shoot the compound bow is easier now than it’s ever been. But what if you never have had the opportunity to learn how to bowhunt? How do you learn, and where can you find an instructor and/or a mentor if you’re an adult? Many states’ Departments of Conservation and Wildlife offer Adult-Mentoring Programs (AMP) on hunting like my state of Alabama does. To learn more, go to https://www.outdooralabama.com/ and click on the tab that says “Hunting” (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting) to see another click for the “Adult Mentored Hunting” program (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/adult-mentored-hunting-program).
This session features our conservation officers (game wardens) reviewing the rules and regulations for hunting public and private lands in Alabama and general hunting regulations. They also will answer all the questions participants may have about any aspect of archery deer hunting. Some of the questions that these officers get often include, “What licenses do I need to purchase to hunt where I want to hunt?” “How do I buy these licenses?” “What do these licenses allow me to do?” and “What animals can I take when bowhunting?” The officers also cover questions on the ethics of hunting, how to communicate with others thatyou may see on a public-hunting area, and how to act and react with the general public as a hunter. They’ll also go over the app (https://www.outdooralabama.com/contact-us/mobile-apps) with hunters and explain how bowhunters report the animals they harvest, and all the different features that the app provides. Another part of this session is an explanation of Special Opportunity Areas (SOAs) and how to register to hunt them.
According to Justin Grider, the R3 Coordinator (which stands for Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) for Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), “These SOAs are public lands that have been purchased by the State of Alabama to allow only a certain number of hunters to hunt there, which is decided through a random drawing. Those hunters selected to hunt SOAs have better opportunities of taking older-age-class deer and turkeys. Hunting the SOAs is similar to the draw system used in some western states, where hunting pressure is limited to ensure there are older-age-class animals to take for the people lucky enough to draw tags to hunt these places. Several of these kinds of lands in Alabama have been purchased specifically to give hunters opportunities to hunt areas with quality animals (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/special-opportunity-areas). These areas are listed on our website https://www.outdooralabama.com/.
“We also use SOAs for mentored hunts. For instance, the people who come to the Bowhunting 101 course then qualify to be put into a drawing to hunt one-on-one with our biologists, enforcement officers or area managers on a weekend-long mentored hunt. For instance, we’ll hold a mentored hunt at Oak Mountain State Park in February, 2022, and possibly other mentored hunts. Each student who’s selected for a mentored hunt through a drawing will come to the area of the hunt and be paired one-on-one with a veteran bowhunter. He or she will go with his or her mentor into the field and scout for a place to take a stand where they believe he’ll have a chance to harvest a deer. They’ll set-up their stands and then spend the entire weekend hunting together. We hope for all our mentored archers to take deer with their bows, learn how to follow blood trails, learn how to process the meat and prepare the venison for the table. On these archery hunts, the mentees can take either a buck or a doe with their bow.”
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, Print and Audible versions, at (http://amzn.to/YpoQHA). You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can hear 10% for free).
On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Bowhunting 101 starts at 8 am and ends around 4 pm. To learn more about how to become a bowhunter, classes and hunts available, go to the website: https://www.outdooralabama.com/ and click on the tab that says “Hunting” (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting) to see another click for the “Adult Mentored Hunting” program (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/adult-mentored-hunting-program). You’ll find there not only the Adult Mentored Bowhunting Deer Program but also an AMP Program for Deer, which is primarily a gun program, and AMP adult Turkey section. You’ll get the times, dates and places these programs will be conducted, learn how to register and know all the information you need to participate in any of these programs. Many states’ wildlife sections have these types of programs, so if you live in another state, you usually can call the Wildlife Division of that state to learn about their adult-mentoring programs.