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March 11, 2004   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
March 11, 2004

From left, Sen. Myron Penn, D-Union Springs, and Federation Wildlife Director Steve Guy were among those who testified before the House Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee in favor of HB 518 which sets guidelines for supplemental feeding of wildlife in the state, including feeding during hunting season.
Following testimony before the House Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday, members of the committee sent a proposed wildlife feeding bill to the Hunting and Fishing Subcommittee for further study. The committee will study proposals in HB 518, sponsored by Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster and SB 49, sponsored by Sen. Myron Penn, D-Union Springs.

The bill requires that supplemental feeding be a part of an overall deer management plan, that feeders be placed within 200 yards of a green field and that feeders be placed at least 100 yards from the hunter and out of the line of his sight. It also establishes permit fees for feeders.

The public hearing drew a standing-room-only crowd in the State House star wars room as members of the ag committee heard testimony about the bill which included comments from both Sen. Penn and Rep. Ward, as well as Federation Wildlife Director Steve Guy, a circuit court judge and farmers. Opponents of the bill included spokesmen for the Alabama Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Department of Conservation, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and Alabama Cattlemen Executive Vice President and Secretary Billy Powell.

Powell and others who testified against the bill said they feared supplemental feeding would increase disease outbreaks among deer, which Powell said could spread to cattle. They stopped short of opposing all supplemental feeding.

All those who testified agreed that supplemental feeding already exists and has produced no adverse affects in the cattle industry or deer population.

In other action, the House Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved the following bills:
• HB 352 which requires hunters to wear a safety harness if hunting from an elevated position and establishes fines up to $50 upon conviction of the misdemeanor;
• HB 473 which designates the queen honey bee as the official state insect;
• HB 541 which standardizes Alabama's catfish weighing practices with those of Mississippi. It requires processors to use a weighing device that would electronically print data that includes processor and producer information.

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