MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Saturday was the first day of bow hunting season in Alabama. The sport brings in roughly $1.3 billion each year.
Wildlife experts are reminding hunters about the mandatory game check system. This is the second year the system has been in place. Hunters have 48 hours after a kill to report the harvest.
Last year, there was about 35 percent compliance with hunters. They expect that number to go up. The data is used to better manage deer herds for hunters.
"We start getting some concrete numbers for the first time ever of hunter effort, hunter harvest, what the overall condition of the deer harvest is. This is going to give us some valuable information so that we can manage an incredible natural resource," said Chuck Sykes, Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
Hunters can submit paperwork to Outdoor Alabama about their harvest. They can also submit their information through the mobile app.
The overall deer population this year is good, according to Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. What's also on hunter's side this year is the weather.
"Last year was one of the worst droughts we've ever had. No green fields whatsoever came up until December," said Michael Bennett, Owner of Bennett's Archery.
"The rain helped our food plots develop earlier. It helps the deer get to that area, stay in that area and target them to know what specific area they will be at," said hunter Justin Salum.
As hunters head out, officials want to remind even the most experienced hunter to remember basic safety measures.
"Accidents can be prevented. Every one of them that comes across my desk, I'm going to say 95.5 percent of them, the hunter was not wearing their safety harness," said Sykes.