Welcome to the exciting world of hunting in Alabama! The state is renowned for its rich hunting history and offers a diverse range of game species for hunters to pursue.
Alabama’s hunting heritage dates back to the indigenous peoples who lived in the region long before European settlers arrived. That makes hunting a staple practice in its culture. With that, hunting has been an active driving force of the state’s economy.
One of the advantages of hunting in Alabama is its generous bag limit and long hunting season. That is also coupled with a relatively cheaper hunting cost, making every hunter drawn to the state hunting opportunities.
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Alabama Hunting Seasons
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) tailored the state’s hunting seasons to align with the species’ natural breeding cycle. With that, the state will have a sustainable population of huntable game species.
Here are the general hunting seasons offered by the ADCNR to every hunter:
|Deer Hunting||Archery/Spear: Early October to mid-February|
Firearms: Mid-November to mid-February
Special Muzzleloader & Air Rifle: Late October to mid-November
|Wild Turkey Hunting||Fall: Mid- to late November & Early December to early January|
Spring: Late March to early May
(for special permit holders only)
|Early August to early October|
|Feral Hog Hunting||Year-round|
|Waterfowl Hunting||Duck, Coot & Merganser: Late November to late January|
Geese: Early September to late January
Special Teal: Mid- to late September
|Small Game Hunting||Quail: Early November to late February|
Rabbit: Early November to late February
Squirrel: Mid-September to early March
Fox & Raccoon)
What To Hunt In Alabama
Alabama offers diverse hunting opportunities with various game species. Here’s an overview of the popular game species, their population status, and some general guidelines on where to hunt them.
Keep in mind that specific regulations may apply to each species.
Deer hunting in Alabama is a popular and well-regulated activity that allows hunters to enjoy the state’s abundant white-tailed deer population. The state boasts a healthy 1.7 million deer population that attracts hunters across the United States.
Alabama offers various hunting opportunities for deer, including archery, muzzleloader, and gun seasons. The state is divided into different hunting zones, and specific season dates and regulations may vary by zone.
Bag limits and antler restrictions may apply to help maintain a healthy and sustainable deer population. These regulations aim to balance hunting opportunities with conservation efforts, ensuring the long-term viability of the deer population in Alabama.
Turkey hunting in Alabama is a popular and challenging pursuit that attracts hunters seeking the thrill of pursuing a wild turkey. The state has a stable population of wild turkeys, with an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 birds.
The spring season focuses on the mating period of the wild turkey. With that, only male turkeys (gobblers) can be harvested during this time. This helps maintain a sustainable population and allows hunters to experience the unique behavior of gobblers responding to calls during the breeding season.
Feral hog hunting in Alabama is an important and popular activity, as wild hogs are considered a game animal and an invasive species in the state. They threaten native ecosystems, agriculture, and property, making their population control crucial.
Hunting feral hogs in Alabama have no closed season and bag limits, providing hunters ample opportunities to help manage their numbers. But despite the open season and lack of bag limits, hunters must still possess a valid Alabama hunting license to hunt feral hogs.
Hunters can use various methods to hunt feral hogs, including firearms, archery, and trapping. Night hunting for wild hogs is also allowed on private lands, though specific equipment and safety regulations must be followed.
Alligator hunting in Alabama focuses on the American alligator, a native of the state. Although limited and strictly regulated, the state still offers a unique alligator hunting for those lucky to draw a special permit.
Alabama’s American alligator population has significantly recovered since the species was once endangered. Today, the population is considered stable, with a healthy number of alligators distributed across their natural range within the state.
To participate in this unique hunting, aspiring alligator hunters must apply for the lottery and wish to win the Alligator Possession Permit through a random drawing.
Are you interested in applying? Note that the application period runs between June to July at http://www.outdooralabama.com/alligators/alligator-hunt-registration.
Where to Hunt in Alabama
Alabama is a haven for hunters, with many fantastic hunting destinations catering to various game species and experience levels. Alabama got it all, from the different landscapes you wish to pursue your desired game species.
Here’s an overview of some of the best hunting destinations in Alabama:
Located in the state’s southeastern part, the Barbour Wildlife Management Area covers over 28,000 acres and is an excellent destination for deer and turkey hunting. The area also offers opportunities to hunt feral hogs, rabbits, squirrels, and quail.
With beautiful scenery and diverse habitats, Barbour WMA is a must-visit for any hunter.
Black Warrior WMA
Nestled in the Bankhead National Forest in northwestern Alabama, the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area boasts over 91,000 acres of prime hunting land. The area is known for its healthy white-tailed deer and wild turkey populations and small game species like squirrels and rabbits.
The picturesque forest setting makes this a memorable hunting destination.
Over 44,000 acres in central Alabama, Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area, is a popular hunting spot for white-tailed deer, turkey, and small game. The area’s diverse terrain, consisting of hardwood forests, pine plantations, and open fields, provides a variety of hunting experiences.
Mobile-Tensaw Delta WMA
Situated along the Gulf Coast, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 51,000 acres of wetlands, swamps, and bottomland hardwood forests. This area is perfect for waterfowl hunting, deer, and small game.
Alligator hunting is also allowed in specific zones during designated seasons.
Freedom Hill WMA
Freedom Hills WMA covers over 34,000 acres of rolling hills and forests in the state’s northwest corner. This area is known for its abundant deer and turkey populations, offering hunters an enjoyable experience amidst the scenic beauty of Alabama outdoors.
Alabama Hunting Regulations
A Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license in Alabama grants hunters access to the state’s designated Wildlife Management Areas, which are public lands specifically managed for wildlife and hunting activities. The ADCNR maintained these areas to provide well-managed hunting opportunities for everyone.
An annual WMA license is required for residents and nonresidents who wish to hunt within any of Alabama’s Wildlife Management Areas.
- Resident Annual WMA License: $20.05
- Nonresident Annual WMA License: $20.05
Note that hunters aged 65 or older, under 16 years of age, and those possessing a resident disabled hunting license are exempted from purchasing a WMA license.
Both resident and nonresident hunters must have a valid Alabama hunting license for legal hunting in the state. License types and fees vary based on residency, age, and the type of game hunted.
Resident Hunting License
|Adult Hunters||All-Game: $30.25|
Small Game Hunting: $20.05
|Disabled Veteran Hunters||50% Disabled: $15.65|
100% Disabled: $3.30
Nonresident Hunting License
|Adult All-Game Hunters||3-day Hunting: $350.15|
10-day Hunting: $216.20
1-year Hunting: $152.55
|Adult Small Game Hunters||3-day Hunting: $50.45|
10-day Hunting: $69.60
1-year Hunting: $114.25
|College Student Hunters||All-Game: $30.25|
Small Game Hunting: $20.05
Note: Hunters born on or after August 1, 1977, must complete a hunter education course before obtaining a hunting license.
50-yard Restriction from Public Roads
The 50-yard restriction from public roads regulation in Alabama aims to promote safety for hunters and the general public. According to this rule, hunting or shooting wildlife within 50 yards of a public road, right-of-way, or highway is illegal.
Keeping hunting activities at a safe distance from public roads helps prevent accidents involving motorists, pedestrians, and hunters. The 50-yard restriction minimizes the risk of stray bullets or arrows causing injury or damage to passersby or their property.
Hunter Orange Requirement
Alabama requires hunters to wear a minimum of 144 square inches of hunter orange on their chest and back and an orange hunter hat during gun deer season. This requirement applies to all hunters, including archery hunters, during gun deer season and is designed to increase visibility and safety in the field.
The only exception to this rule is when hunting from an elevated, enclosed deer stand at least 12 feet off the ground.
In conclusion, Alabama boasts a rich hunting heritage with diverse game species and picturesque landscapes for a memorable hunting experience. From deer and turkey to alligators and feral hogs, there’s something for every hunter.
Remember to follow the state hunting regulation when afield!