MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The arrival of a new year is also one of the busiest times of the season for deer hunters.  

According to the Alabama Department of Conservation, the number of reported deer kills is on a record pace. Projections are for 145,000 kills this season. Compare that to just 90,000 last season. 

Experts credit the increase to more hunters in the woods thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions that have more people staying at home. 

But along with an increases of hunting activity, there have been hunting accidents. 

“We have had eight tree stand accidents so far this year, and it very important for hunters not to get complacent,” said Marianne Hudson with the Alabama Dept. Of Conservation and Natural Resources. 

Hudson says the department offers a wide variety of online safety courses and training videos. 

But safety is also important to outdoor shop owners like Frank Bertarelli, owner of Bert’s Tackle Shop in Elmore County. 

“A lot of times people buy tree stands, they let them sit outside for a year to two years, they go to get them and their straps will be rotten. And they don’t know until they get up there and tie off and add weight to it and they give way,” Bertarelli said. 

The beginning of a new year also means mating season for dear.  Hunters find this to be a prime time for hunting. 

Marianne Hudson says that almost 40% of all deer kills and reported game checks will take place in the next three weeks.