MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
As the fall hunting season quickly approaches, hunters on base are sharpening their archery skills at range 36 and lining up for the archery qualification course.
The course, mandatory for hunters on base, was established to validate a hunter’s accuracy and reinforce base hunting safety.
“The reason we have an archery qualification is to ensure hunter’s equipment is safe and they are proficient with the bow,” said Al Belanger, game warden, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga.
“This greatly increases the hunter’s ability to harvest an animal humanly as possible and ensure the equipment is in safe condition.”
Aboard the base, hunting deer, and some types of indigenous predators such as coyotes, is restricted to only bow hunting per Base Order 1720.17Q.
To obtain a hunting permit for the base, bow-hunters are required to take and pass the hunter’s qualification course as well as have a valid Georgia hunter’s license.
The qualification course requires hunters to prove they can hit a 3D deer target at three different distances typically 20, 30 and 40 yards from the elevated stand.
Belanger said the using the elevated stand gives hunters a more real feel since hunters are required to hunt from stands during the season and hunters are not allowed to roam, track or lure prey.
This fall’s deer season at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is scheduled to run from Sept. 13, 2009 - Jan. 15, 2010.
The season will operate much like last year. According to Belanger, “there will be a few administrative changes.”
The primary change is the cost for the permits. Permits for sergeants and below increased from $5 to $10 and for all others qualified to hunt on base, $10 to $20.
Those eligible to hunt on base include active duty military, retired military and civil service employees.
Additionally, guests of active duty personnel can hunt for $20 per day. Belanger said, “This is more in alignment with other Department of Defense installation’s hunting programs.”
Eddie Parramore, manager, Natural Resources, Environmental Branch, I&E Division, said the fees had not changed in more than 15 years.
He called the low fees for a quality hunt more “a matter of service” or a “quality of life issue for those on base” saying that there are very few places one can get a quality hunt at such a low price.
Another change is that hunters must hang a tag on their vehicles this year so that the Marine Corps Police Department and the game warden can easily identify hunters’ vehicles parked along roadsides or in certain areas. Marine Corps Sgt. Rob Meyer, shift sergeant, MCPD, Law Enforcement Branch, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany, said about the patrols, they are not “intending to disrupt anyone’s hunt.”
He said the police are required to make regular patrols to check particular areas of the base. This season, hunters will be allowed to hang one stand at a time.
Additionally, they will be able to use the 5-10 stands that the base provides.
Normal check-out and check-in procedures for stands will begin one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset, much like last year.
Belanger said that they will set up a one-week block of time for perspective archers to demonstrate their proficiency with their bows. To qualify to hunt, archers need to hit a specific area of a target with two of three arrows at each of three distances.
There are about 1,200 acres of land available for hunting on base. Belanger said, “We logged more hunting hours than Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and, also, had more people hunt than they did on about a third the size of their property.”
And still, he said, hunters took three deer that scored in the Pope and Young record book last year. Belanger offered hunters some pre-season advice.
“Get an early start,” he said. “Get your equipment out, make any adjustments and practice.”
He also said that hunters need to understand the base regulations which, he said, will be in brochure form.
Mostly, though, he said, “Make certain you are using your safety harness properly while you are hunting. That is a requirement.”
And the one thing to remember, he said, is that “safety is paramount.”