Hunting is one of the most popular recreational activities in Alabama.
Alabama hunting features animals such as quail, turkey, rabbit, deer, and doves in a reasonable amount that makes hunting possible.
However, there are laws and regulations enacted to regulate hunting and allow everybody to benefit. These laws and regulations exist mostly for migratory animals.
Alabama also generates an ample sum of revenue from hunting in the state. This is one of the reasons why the state regulates and supports hunting through Wildlife Management Areas. The state also has one of the most diverse physiographies in the country, a landscape that ranges from beaches found in the southern parts to mountains found in the north.
The various naturally occurring physical settings favor hunting activities in the state and give room for flexibility in hunting practices that vary within the human diversities in the state such as socio-economy and ethnicity.
Alabama Hunting Regulation
Hunting as defined by the Alabama legislature encompasses the shooting, trapping, killing, and capturing of games such as wild animals and wild birds. It also covers lesser hunting activities like unsettling, disturbing, or using any equipment to attempt to take wild animals in the state. In Alabama, it does not matter if you are the mastermind of the hunting activity because offering assistance is also termed hunting.
Some of the Alabama hunting regulations put in place by the law of the state to control hunting activities include the following:
In Alabama, it is illegal to hunt a game or discharge a hunting firearm within, at least 50 yards, from public areas like highways, public roads, etc. Hunting firearms restricted include shotguns with more than 4 shots, a muzzle rifle, or a .40 caliber or more firearm. Distance restriction hunting law in Alabama mostly affects deer hunting. Any deer hunting activity or gaming within the 50 yards’ restriction is unlawful in every part of the state. The state legislature passes this law to tackle safety concerns in Alabama.
It is an unlawful act to capture, hunt, destroy, kill, or injure a game in someone else’s land or property, without permission from the landowner or someone standing in place of the landowner. The only exception to this regulation is if you are accompanied in the hunting activity by the landowner, or you are a guest of the landowner.
Alabama regulates hunting hours in the state. Lawful hunting is only allowed in daylight periods, and this is defined as the hours between 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after the sunsets.
Body Protection Falling
One of the commonest hunting injuries in Alabama is falling from a tree. This is why the state legislature makes it compulsory to be fully protected with a body harness while hunting. Every hunter in the state that makes use of tree stands is mandated to have full-body protection. Also, the state requires that such hunters make use of a pull-up rope to pick instruments from the ground to treetop. The regulations also forbid them from carrying bows, guns, or other hunting equipment when climbing or descending from the tree. Also, while pulling up a gun from the tip of the tree, it must be unloaded. The regulation also recommends removable tree stands and prohibits permanent or erected ones if a landowner does not give permission.
Alabama Hunting License Permits and Tags
It is compulsory to complete a state-approved hunter education course before applying for an Alabama hunting license. However, there are few exceptions for those that may apply for Alabama hunting education, and they include the following:
- Law enforcement agents
- Military members in the state
- Residents of the state that are members of the Alabama National Guard.
People That Need Hunter Education.
Alabama hunter education is compulsory for anyone that was given birth within 1st of August 1977 and now. The minimum age for anyone to apply for the course is 10 years old. But the person will not be needing it at that age, since the minimum age to apply for Alabama Hunting License is 16 years old. However, is advised that you complete your Alabama hunter education course as early and you can.
Hunter Education Requirement Exceptions
An alternative to the Alabama hunting education course is provided by the state Wildlife Heritage Act enacted in 2007. This act provides those seeking a hunter’s license in the state to hunt under the supervision of a mentor to obtain the hunter education cost. License buyers that do not want to hunt under supervision will have no other option than to complete the required course.
For hunting under supervision, the act states that all hunters under must adhere to voice commands and must not be more than 30 feet away from the supervisor. The supervisor in this case will be a licensed hunter that is at least 21 years old.
Understanding The Options for Alabama Hunter Education Course
You can apply for your AL hunter education by attending a physical class or an online class. Physical classes are always free of charge, but you will have to pay a provider’s fee for the online class. Successfully completing either the physical or virtual class will qualify you for an Alabama hunter’s license.
If you would like a close proximity learning system, then the physical class will work better for you. The online option on the other hand demands a functional internet network with good speed.
Physical Hunter Education Course
The duration for this option is at least 8 hours for teaching and instructions, at the end of which you have to sit for an examination. The State Wildlife and Freshwater Fishery Division is in charge of this training. The division will provide instructors for the applicants. The minimum age to apply is 10 years old, and it comes at zero costs.
Some of what an Alabama Physical Hunting Course Will Cover include:
- Hunting regulations and ethics
- Survival and first aid during hunting
- Game care
- Identification of wildlife
- Management of wildlife
- Handling firearms safely
If you are with a disability and you want to undergo Physical Hunter Education training, you can contact the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fishery before applying.
Online Hunter Education Course
For this option, you will be provided with some of the most educational hunting videos that come with interactive games and exercises. The course provider will also grant you access to an all-inclusive hunter education course that will give you insights into the necessary information and expertise that will make you hunt responsibly and safely.
Types of Alabama Hunting Licenses
Alabama issues these 3 types of basic Hunting License:
- Hunting Recreational License for Residents
- Hunting Recreational License for Non Residents
- Hunting Commercial License
Hunting Recreational License for Residents
The state will only issue these licenses to residents. Alabama residency is proved by either a state-accepted ID card or a state driver’s license. If you are a landowner in Alabama, you can hunt on your property without a hunting license, but it is mandatory that you own a driver’s license. The age requirement to apply for a Hunting Recreational License is 16 years old. Various types of licenses, permits, and tags under Hunting Recreational License for Residents include the following:
- All Game License
- Small Game license
- Hunter’s Exception License Privilege
- DNR Registration Privilege
- Baiting Privilege
- Commercial Fowl Hunting permit
- Duck Stamps (Both federal and state licenses)
- Wildlife heritage license
- Wildlife Management Area License
- Lifetime Hunting Licenses
- Senior Lifetime Hunting licenses
- 100% Physically Disabled Resident Hunting
- 50% Disabled Military Veterans Appreciation Hunting
- 100% Disabled Military Veterans Appreciation Hunting
- Disabled Military Veterans Appreciation 3-Day Event Hunting
Hunting Recreational License for Non Residents
Nonresidents of Alabama that want to hunt in the state must own a Hunting Recreational License different from the one issued to residents of Alabama. The age requirement to apply for such a license is 16 years old. License, permits, and tags categorized under Hunting Recreational License for Non Residents include the following:
- All Game license
- Small Game license
- Baiting Privilege license
- Non-Resident College Students license
- Hunter's Exempt License
- DCNR Registration Privilege
- Disabled Military Veterans Appreciation license
- Commercial Fowl Hunting Preserve license
- Duck Stamps
- Harvest Information Program
- Wildlife Management Area License
Hunting Commercial License
This refers to licenses permits and tags issued for commercial hunting purposes in Alabama. They include the following:
- Commercial Fowl Hunting licenses
- Fur catcher licenses for residents and non-residents in the state.
- Falconry permits
- Field trials permits.
Alabama Fishing License Permits and Tags
Just like hunting licenses, fishing licenses in Alabama also have 3 basic types where all other permits, tags, and licenses are categorized. They include:
- Freshwater Fishing Recreational Licenses for Residents
- Freshwater Fishing Recreational Licenses for Non Residents
- Freshwater Fishing Commercial Licenses
Freshwater Fishing Recreational License for Residents
These licenses are issued to those with proof of residency in Alabama. The license, permits, and tags categorized under this type of license include the following:
- Freshwater Fishing License
- Optional 65+ Freshwater Fishing license
- Freshwater Public Fishing Lakes Daily License
- Wildlife Heritage License
- Spearfishing license
- Wire basket license
- Lifetime Freshwater Fishing license
- Optional Senior Lifetime Freshwater Fishing
- 100% Physically Disabled Resident Freshwater Fishing License
- Disabled Freshwater Fishing Military Veteran's Appreciation
- Disabled Freshwater Fishing 3-Day Event License
Freshwater Fishing Recreational Licenses for Non Residents
These are permits issued to non-residents that want to hunt in Alabama. Licenses permits and tags under this include the following:
- All States annual license except Louisiana and Mississippi
- All States freshwater fishing license except Florida & Georgia
- Non-Resident College Students license
- Freshwater Public Fishing Lakes License
- Annual License
- Daily License
- Spearfishing license
- Wirebasket license
Freshwater Fishing Commercial Licenses
Licenses, permits and tags under this include the following:
- Commercial Freshwater Fishing license for residents and non-residents
- Nongame Freshwater Fish Dealer license (retail and wholesale)
- Minnow and/or Live Fish Dealer license for nonresidents
- Stocking Public Water Permit
Alabama Hunting Season 2020/21
There are various games available for hunting in Alabama, and the hunting season for each game varies in different states. Each county has its own date for the commencement and expiration of a particular wildlife game. There are also bag limits to make sure that the games go round. Alabama’s Department for Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of the hunting season schedule in the state.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Alabama includes the following:
- Archery and Spear period (15th of October to 10th of February
- Firearms (21st of November to 10th of February)
- Deer Dog Hunting when permitted (7th of November to 1st of January)
- Muzzleloader and Rifle Deer Hunting (2nd of November to 6th of November and 16th of November to 20th of November)’
The seasons may vary between the five different zones in the state, and counties may have further restrictions for spear and dog deer hunting.
- Hunting in the fall (21st of November to 29th of November and 12th of December to 1st of January
- Hunting in the Spring (20th of March to 2nd of May)
- Youth Turkey Hunting (The weekend before the commencement of spring season)
- Disabled Turkey Hunting (A day prior to spring commencement)
The dates for each season may vary across the 5 different zones in the state. Also, counties may have various regulations for bag limits.
Alligator hunting in Alabama is only by special permit and this is between the period of sunset on the 8th of August and the sunrise on the 5th of October.
The date may vary across the 5 zones in the state. Since alligator hunting in Alabama is strictly by special permit, residents can apply for the permit online. The date may vary according to regions of the state. Alligator hunting across Alabama is by nighttime. The only exception to this is Lake Eufaula.
NB: Nonresidents are not allowed to hunt for Alligator
Small Game Seasons
- The dates for hunting small games in Alabama’s 2020/21 season includes the following
- Quail Hunting (7th of November to 28th of February)
- Rabbits and Squirrel Hunting (12th of September to 7th of March)
- Raccoon, opossum, Bullfrog, Pig, Frog, Starlings, Crows, English Sparrows, Hunting (Open Season)
- Swine (1st of May to 31st of August, and open season)
The dates will vary across the various zones in the state. Also, bag limits, regulations, and special seasons will be different depending on the wildlife and the season. Baiting is prohibited during hunting in Alabama, and there is a regulation on the type of game you can hunt.
Alabama Wildlife Game and Fish
Alabama is an endowed state in terms of wildlife to hunt. It is one of the states in the US where it is possible for hunters to hunt at least 1 wildlife per month.
Some of its most popular wildlife includes the following:
Alabama deer hunting
Deer is the commonest game available for hunting in Alabama, especially, the white-tailed deer. The state has over 170,000 deer hunters that harvest more than 300,000 deer in a year. Deer hunting is one of the major impacts on Alabama's economy.
Alabama Turkey Hunting
This is the second commonest game after deer hunting in Alabama. The state has some of the most enthusiastic deer hunters in the US and they enjoy more than a month of turkey hunting season per year.
Alabama Duck Hunting
Alabama Duck and waterfowl hunting are also common, and about 30,000 hunters are active during the duck hunting season. A large number of ducks and waterfowls are mostly found in Mobile Tensaw Delta and the Tennessee River. Another common duck species hunted in the state is the Wood duck.
Alabama Quail Hunting
There has been a significant change in Alabama quail hunting over the past 10 years. This is due to the state farming culture and habitat conditions that have drastically reduced the amount of quail in the state. Now quail hunting in Alabama happens only on commercial quail hunting reserves.
Alabama Dove Hunting
The hunting period for dove in Alabama is designated to the fall season. Most hunters use this period as a social and recreational event to get together with their hunter colleagues and families. Dove hunting in Alabama differs for each zone.
Alabama Hog Hunting
Initially, Hogs were only common in the swamps located in southwest parts of Alabama. However, over the past 2 decades, their population in the state has increased, and they can be found in all Alabama counties. They occur in small populations in most counties, but some parts of the state have them in large numbers there and they cause a lot of damages to agricultural products.
Alabama Coyote Hunting
Coyote is one of the wildlife you can hunt all year round in Alabama, as long as you have your state license.
Alabama Rabbit Hunting
Small game hunting in Alabama is one of the ways hunters socialize and introduce little children to hunting.
Alabama Alligator Hunting
The population of Alligators in the state has improved well over the few decades and due to this, they are a major safety concern for residents of the state. Alabama Alligator hunting began in 2006 to reduce their number. You need to be specially invited before you can take part in an Alligator hunting season.
Alabama Bear Hunting
Black bears in Alabama are only found in the southwest and northeast regions of the state. There is no open season for Alabama bear hunting and the state advises that residents should report to the DNR whenever they find a bear.
Alabama Bow Hunting
There has been steady development in bow hunting in Alabama. Various associations in the state such as Archery Trade Association, Alabama Wildlife, and Freshwater Fisheries Division, and the United State Fish and Wildlife Services have come together to improve various archery parks in the state.
Archery parks in Alabama have various shooting targets and distances for hunters to train ahead of an archery season.
Before you can make use of an archery park, you must be between the age of 16 and 64 and own a valid hunting license from Alabama.
Archery Parks in Alabama includes the following:
- Athens Community Archery Park
- Cullman Community Archery Park
- Decatur Community Archery Park
- Demopolis Community Archery Park
- Dothan Eastgate Park Archery Range
- Elba Community Archery Park
- Foley Community Archery Park
- Heflin Community Archery Park
- Hoover Community Archery Park
- Lincoln Community Archery Park
- Oak Mountain Community Archery Park (Pelham)
- Ozark Community Archery Park
- Southside Community Archery Park (Huntsville)
- Tuscaloosa Community Archery Park (Northport)
- Walker County Community Archery Park (Jasper)
- Wind Creek Community Archery Park (Alexander City)
- Wetumpka Community Archery Park
Alabama Public Hunting Lands
Public lands for hunting in Alabama are categorized under the following:
- Wildlife Management Areas
- Special opportunity Areas
- Physically Disabled Hunting Areas
- Forever Wild Land Trust
- US Forest Service Lands
- US Army Corps of Engineer Lands
- Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
Alabama Hunting Lands for Sale
Some of the hunting lands presently available for sale in Alabama:
- 206 acres - Lee County - Webster Tract Lee County, Alabama
- 1,671 Ac - Greene County - Knoxville Tract- Greene County, Alabama
- 160 acres - Lee County - Biltmore Lane East Tract- Lee County, Alabama
- 296 +/- Ac - Shelby County - Rocking D Farms- Shelby County, Alabama