Land management company withdraws access to 19,000 acre property effective 90 days from now.
Alabama hunters are dealing with some bad news today as they will lose 19,000 acres of public hunting land in the southern part of the state.
Announced in a press release from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Scotch Wildlife Management area in Clarke County will no longer be a part of Alabama's state WMA system effective 88 days from now. The land, located near Coffeeville, has been available to public hunting since the 1950s.
The Scotch Land Management company has worked in cooperation with the ADCNR and resources since then to provide opportunities on the 19,480 acres of land since then. The decision to close off access wasn't due to anything hunter-related according to the press release.
Instead, the closure comes because Scotch Land Management is concerned business and land management practices could be restricted under an increasing list of candidates for the Federal Endangered Species Act.
"We did not arrive at this decision lightly or without much deliberation, but recognizing our responsibility for ensuring that this land remains available and productive for future generations, we feel we had no other choice," Scotch spokesperson Gray Skipper said in a press release.
The Scotch Land Management Company thanked the ADCNR and Alabama hunters for their excellent treatment of the land over the years.
"To the many law-abiding citizens who have enjoyed hunting and other recreational and conservation activities on the land for nearly 60 years, and to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we say thank you for being such good stewards of the land," Skipper said in a press release.
Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr thanked Scotch Land Management for providing public hunting opportunities for so long.
"The Harrigan, O'Melia and Skipper families who comprise Scotch Land Mangement continue to be conservation pioneers whose actions benefit Alabama's wildlife resources and rich hunting heritage, Guy Jr said in a press release. "Their willingness to provide public hunting land for inclusion in Alabama's WMA system has provided an opportunity for thousands of hunters to enjoy the state's great outdoors. We greatly appreciate their conservation efforts in Alabama."
While many hunters may be out of a place to pursue their favorite sports, at least they dropped this news in the spring and not right before the majority of hunting seasons begin in the fall. Hopefully, from the sounds of the release, the land will also not fall victim to development.
Unfortunately for Alabama hunters, this is the second time in nine months they have lost a large tract of public hunting land. Hunters lost access to the 17,725 acre Frank W. and Rob M. Boykin Wildlife Management Area last August just to the south of the Scotch Wildlife Management Area.
For now, if you're out of a spot to hunt because of this news, the ADCNR is encouraging hunters to visit their website to locate alternative public hunting areas available.