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Alabama Public Land: Barbour County Wildlife Area
Posted By Erik Barber at 8/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
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Having lived in Alabama on a graduate student’s shoestring budget for over four years, I spent a considerable amount of time exploring and hunting public wildlife areas.  Barbour county was one of my favorites for three main reasons: a lot of game, a lot of land, and relatively low hunting pressure.  With over 25,000 acres to roam, you could spend a decade exploring the diverse habitat – clear cuts, young planted pines, mature bottomland hardwoods, food plots, and beaver ponds. One particularly attractive feature about Barbour Wildlife Area is that it implements a three-point (on a side) antler restriction that protects nearly all yearling bucks from harvest – the only Alabama county to have such a criteria.  

“We had a 500-percent reduction in the harvest of 1½-year-old bucks, and a 375-percent increase in the number of 3½-year-old and older bucks harvested,” says Bill Gray, Supervising Wildlife Biologist for District IV.

I would recommend focusing on the first week of the season before hunting pressure has had a chance to move deer off their late summer patterns.  In my very first hunt ever in Alabama, I harvested a plump 2 year old half-rack out of a small bachelor herd coming to 5 isolated white oaks just north of Zeke Road.  Archers should target dropping white oaks during October and early November before the woods are inundated with a surplus of water oak acorns.  I’ve also had good experiences hunting that pattern behind Pleasant Hill Church, northwest of Rabbit Road, and in off Ramona Road.  A word of caution to warm weather hunters - wear snake boots and watch out for alligators…seriously.  

Once the water oaks start dropping, you can forget about patterning the deer on hard mast.  At this point, it’s best to focus on what’s left of the corn and sorghum food plots. Once those are picked over, it’s difficult hunting until the rut starts to kick in.  As December transitions into January, hunters can find success by finding 2-4 year old clear-cuts and taking a climber high enough to see down into the dense cover below.  Just west of the main wildlife area office is a good place to start with a huge clear-cut that stretches from North Road along Yonder Road for several thousand acres.  Also, heavily thinned mature pine stands allow enough light to penetrate the canopy to result in a thick underbrush of green-brier, saplings, and honeysuckle – prime bedding and forage.  Hunting pressure will drive the deer into these security areas, and climbing high is usually the only way to see them.  

Here is a link to the PDF map with rules and regulations in the second half of the document (Link: http://outdooralabama.com/hunting/land/wildlife-areas/wmamaps/Barbour%202013-2014.pdf).  
-Written by Gabe Karns