September 11, 2014 --
The anticipation of getting back into a tree stand will end Saturday for more than 75 Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany registered deer bow-hunting enthusiasts.
With the start of the new hunting season days away, hunters are reminded there are several changes to the hunting program.
According to Julie Robbins, natural resource manager, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany, there is no requirement to harvest a doe first during the season, which is scheduled to end Jan. 15, 2015.
“This is based on the results of the camera survey conducted in August,” Robbins said. “The deer quota for the 2014-2015 hunting season will initially remain the same as last year, with hunters harvesting one buck and up to three does.”
The natural resource manager reminds hunters that adjustments to the doe quota may be made mid-season depending on how many are harvested.
Also, there are more stringent antler requirements for bucks this year, Robbins said.
“The antler restrictions include 18-inch main beam or 15-inch inside spread,” she said. “The 15-inch inside spread usually translates into antlers that are outside of the deer’s ears. This will protect almost all 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 year-old bucks on the base from being harvested.
“These restrictions help to limit the harvest of younger-aged bucks and improve the age structure of the deer herd,” she said.
Robbins said the new antler restrictions provide the opportunity to harvest bucks, such as large cowhorn spikes, that would not necessarily meet harvest guidelines based on the number of antler points.
She added the base hunting program prevents the deer population from surpassing the capacity of its environment.
“The general recommendation is to harvest 30-35 percent of the population to keep the population stable,” she said. “Without this balance, the population of deer would increase, impacting habitat for other species.
“This may result in more deer-vehicle collisions and cause declines in deer herd health,” Robbins added.
Al Belanger, game warden, Environmental Branch, said hunters must check in at Building 5643 before entering and after exiting the woods.
Bow hunters cannot check in any earlier than two hours prior to sunrise and must check out no later than one hour after sunset, he said.
Belanger expressed all hunters should read the log book at the Game Warden’s Office before entering the woods for any changes or updates.
“It is mandatory that all hunters wear a full-body safety harness while in a tree stand,” he said. “Hunters will receive suspensions if caught hunting without their safety harnesses.”
Additionally, hunters are required to weigh and take basic measurements of all deer harvested.
“You must fill out your deer harvest record properly prior to moving harvested deer,” Belanger said. “Hunters must photograph and record basic biological information on harvested deer to help us improve our knowledge about the age, structure and physical condition of the deer herd aboard the base.”
In addition, all hunters must display the vehicle information sheet on the dash while hunting.
Authorized hunters include active-duty service members, retirees and civil service personnel and their family members.
Children must be12 years of age or older to hunt on base, according to Belanger.
Only active-duty or retired service members can bring guests for a fee of $40 per day.
Payment must be made in advance and Robbins or Belanger must be notified by email along with how long the guests will be onboard after hours and weekends.
To hunt on MCLB Albany, per Base Order 1720.17R and Base Bulletin 1720, all bow hunters must pass the National Bow Hunters Education Foundation safety course and the base hunter’s qualification course.
All hunters are required to possess a base hunting permit and a valid Georgia hunter’s license, according to Belanger.
“The qualification course is to test the accuracy and skills of each hunter before he or she is allowed to hunt,” Belanger said. “It is also to ensure the hunters’ equipment is safe and they are proficient with the bow. This greatly increases the hunter’s ability to harvest an animal as humanely as possible.”
The qualification course requires archers to demonstrate their abilities to hit a 3-D deer target at unknown distances from an elevated stand.
“We want hunters to be ethical in the harvesting of one of our natural resources,” Belanger said. “It is my job to enforce the hunting regulations and to educate hunters so they can have a safe and successful hunting experience.”
According to Belanger, there are about 1,200 acres of land available for hunting aboard the base.
For more information, call 229-639-9946.