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Outdoors notebook: Releasing captive deer banned in South

| Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The idea of releasing potentially large-racked, captive-bred bucks into the wild in an attempt to jump-start the gene pool in Alabama has come to an end.

Supporters of a group called the Big Buck Project had proposed buying deer — descended from those that had produced 200 inches of antler — from game farms and releasing them onto unfenced private property this past fall.

The plan drew criticism from biologists and conservation groups nationwide. They worried about the possibility of introducing disease into wild herds.

Big Buck Project organizers defended their plans by comparing it to the stocking of elk, turkeys and trout carried out by official wildlife agencies over the decades.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources saw things differently, however. An emergency regulation signed in December by the department's executive director put an end to the idea. The order will stand until Feb. 9, when the agency's board meets. Members could vote to make the order permanent or change it.

Sunday hunting

Pennsylvania lawmakers haven't seen fit to legalize Sunday hunting, making it just one of 11 states nationwide where the prohibition still holds.

But their counterparts in New Jersey might be moving in that direction.

Legislation introduced there that would allow hunting on Sundays during firearms deer season recently passed unanimously out of committee. It now goes to the full legislature for a vote.

New Jersey already allows archery hunting for deer Sundays on private property. That's been legal since 2009.

Property conserved

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy protected, through an agricultural easement, more than 37 acres of farmland at the headwaters of a notable Westmoreland County creek.

The Fairfield Township property sits at the headwaters of Tubmill Creek, which has been identified as a “priority watershed because of the rich aquatic life in the stream.” The easement keeps the property in private hands while permanently restricting development on it.

Milestone

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation's Trailblazer Adventure Program — which introduced children to outdoor sports — has reached more than 1.5 million kids. For information about the program and how to get involved with hosting or participating in one, visit trailblazeradventure.org.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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