Hunting in the State of Alabama

Alabama, located in the south-eastern section of the United States along the Gulf of Mexico, can not only offer exciting hunting opportunities but also be a simple place to sport compared to other States if you follow the right procedures.  Below is all of the basic information you will need to get you from acquiring your Alabama hunter’s license to embarking on a successful hunting expedition in the Heart of Dixie.

Alabama Hunting License

In Alabama, a person of any age can hunt so long as they are supervised.  For instance, the State itself organizes hunts for deer, doves, turkey and waterfowl specifically catered to youth. However, in general, hunters 16 and older must have a valid hunting license, the primary exception being resident senior citizens over the age of 65, who are exempt.

How to Apply

Alabama hunting licenses can be purchased online via the Outdoor Alabama website. The general prerequisites for obtaining an Alabama hunting license is that the applicant must have a valid driver’s license (either from Alabama or another State) and social security number. An annual All Game hunting license costs more for non-residents than residents. So cost-wise, being a resident of Alabama is definitely advantageous when applying for authorization to hunt. However, there are residency exceptions for members of the military and non-resident students between the ages of 17 and 23 years old.

Alabama Hunter Education

Anyone applying for an Alabama hunting license who was born after 31 July 1977 must complete the Official Alabama Hunter Safety Course, which can be conducted online. As of 2018, taking the course online costs approximately $30 for two attempts. However, a person can also take the Traditional Hunter Education Course in person for absolutely free. You can gain a better understanding of what this course entails by perusing its study guide.

Alabama Hunting Laws

Below are some of the basic rules pertaining to legally hunting in the State of Alabama:

  • It is prohibited to use certain types of weapons such as centerfire rifles, muzzleloaders and some kinds of shotguns to hunt within the 50-yard vicinity of a public road.
  • Permission should be sought from private landowners to use their land, and hunting on private land still requires the necessary legal documents.  However, a qualified landowner and his or her immediate family can hunt on their own land without first acquiring a license.
  • In general, the legal hunting for game species during their respective open seasons are a half hour before official sunrise to a half hour after official sunset.
  • Game birds and animals can only be hunted during their open season.  There isn’t any open season for bears, mountain lions, and ruffed grouse.
  • During gun deer season all virtual hunters within affected areas (with the exception of a few species) are to wear fluorescent orange.  Those hunting foxes, raccoons and opossums at night are exempt, as well as those hunting turkey or migratory birds. Also, hunters operating in certain structures and/or around certain vehicles are exempt.
  • Legal game species in Alabama include alligators, bears, beavers, bobcats, coyotes, deer, feral hogs, foxes, groundhogs, opossums, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, nutria, mountain lions, and red wolves.
  • All birds with the exception of five species are under protection from hunting in Alabama.
  • During certain seasons and under certain restrictions deer, rabbits and squirrels can be hunted with the assistance of dogs.
  • It is illegal to sell the carcass or any body part of any successful take, except with some exceptions pertaining to deer and squirrels.
  • Hunters that utilize tree stands must also wear a full-body harness to minimize common hunting accidents which occur in Alabama due to their usage.

Where to Hunt In Alabama

If you are looking to engage in a hunting expedition in the State of Alabama, below you will find information pertaining to locations that have been identified as the best places to hunt.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are zones managed by the State that have been specifically designated for use by hunters.  There are 35 WMAs in the State of Alabama which collectively comprise over 700,000 acres.  In order to use these lands in addition to a general hunting license (and applicable tags) a hunter must also possess a Management Area Permit, Management Area License and Wildlife Heritage License.

Special Opportunity Areas (SOAs) are smaller than WMAs, which gives the State the ability to manage the land (and species contained therein) more effectively, and hunting is permissible on a limited quota.  The successful application process to use these lands includes a random draw.  In total the SOAs comprise over 18,000 acres of land.

Alabama’s Hunting and Fishing Trail for People with Physical Disabilities includes areas specifically catered to facilitate hunting for the physically disabled.  The areas are also open to their friends and family.  However there are certain restrictions.  For instance the physically-disabled hunter must submit an application.  Also lands can only be accessed for hunting two to three days a week.  Also the hunter can hunt in a particular area only once every two weeks.

There are also additional thousands of acres available to hunters of big game via the United States Forest Service in Alabama.  Moreover some independent websites such as Alabama Black Belt Adventures and GameBirdHunts have also amassed directories of places to hunt in Alabama.

Hunting Guides & Outfitters in the State Of Alabama

Below you will find some additional information on where to find the best institutions to give you assistance in conducting a successful hunt in the State of Alabama in the form of professional hunting guides and outfitters:

Hunting Seasons in Alabama

Below is a list of all the hunting seasons in Alabama. Prominent hunting species to be found in Alabama are alligatorsblack bearsbobwhite quailsEastern wild turkeyferal hogsmourning doves, white-tailed deer and a variety of small game and waterfowl.  For more specific information (including bag limits) please visit the hyperlinks above or the Outdoor Alabama website.

  • Dear Season: No game animal is more hunted than the white-tailed deer in the State of Alabama. It is estimated that over 300,000 deer is harvested in this state alone every year. For complete and up-to-date information about deer hunting season in Alabama, visit this link.
  • Mourning and White-Winged Dove Season: In Alabama, mourning and white-winged dove hunting seasons often begin in autumn.
  • Turkey Season: One of the most popular game animals hunted in the State of Alabama is the eastern wild turkey. The turkey season often lasts several weeks.
  • Bobwhite Quail Season: Bobwhite quail is one of the huntable species available in Alabama. During the bobwhite quail season, there’s a limited number of quail you can harvest.
  • Rabbit Season: During rabbit season, the laws allow you to hunt a number of rabbits every day.
  • Squirrel Season: Squirrels can be hunted in Alabama. However, they can’t be hunted all year round. They have their special seasons.
  • Bobcat, Coyote, Feral Swine and Fox Seasons: Alabama is gifted with an abundance of bobcat, feral swine, fox and coyote. As a result of this, the laws governing the hunt of these species are pretty relaxed as compared to other species.
  • Raccoon and Opossum Seasons: Raccoon and opossum are another plentiful species in this state. Hunting these species also come with very little restrictions.
  • Feral Swine Seasons: Feral swine can be hunted in Alabama during special seasons.
  • Alligator Season: You can only hunt alligator when they have acquired a special permit. To find out more about the hunting of alligator in Alabama, please use this link.
  • Beaver, Nutria, and Groundhog Seasons: In Alabama, due to how common groundhogs, beavers and nutrias are, they generally can be hunted throughout the year during daylight hours.
  • Starlings, Crows, and English Sparrows Seasons: Crows, starlings and English Sparrows are so much in abundance in Alabama that there generally is no closed season and bag limit for them. Despite this, certain laws need to be followed when hunting them.
  • Bear, Mountain Lion, and Ruffed Grouse Season: Bear, ruffed grouse, and mountain lion are very uncommon in the State of Alabama. Owing to this, these species are considered endangered and protected.
  • Woodcock Season: Only during woodcock season are hunters permitted to hunt woodcock in the State of Alabama.
  • Snipe Season: Snipe season, as the name of the season implies, is meant for hunting snipe.
  • Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora and Gallinule Seasons: Hunters can legally hunt a variety of rail, gallinule and sora.
  • Bullfrog and Pig Frog Seasons: Dedicated to bullfrog and pig frog hunting.
  • Waterfowl Seasons: These seasons give hunters the opportunity to go after teal, duck, merganser, coot and geese on specific dates.
  • Trapping Seasons: During the trapping seasons, hunters get to trap species such as bobcat, mink, striped skunk, otter, fox, muskrat raccoon, beaver and coyote.

 

Reporting Deer & Turkey Harvests (Game Check)

All deer and turkey harvests in the State of Alabama must be recorded as well as reported.  Recording can be done by paper or using the Game Check portion of the Outdoor AL app.  Reporting, however, can only be done via Game Check.  Thus the use of the Game Check app has become a mandatory part of legally hunting deer and turkey in Alabama.  Once the app is downloaded it can only be used by one person, meaning each individual hunter will need his or her own copy of the app to record their personal deer or turkey harvests.

 

Hunters’ Lodging in the State of Alabama

In order to achieve a successful hunt it is advisable to lodge at a place that caters specifically to hunters.  Below are some websites, including complete databases, to help you select the right hunting lodge for you:

Alabama Quail Trail

3050 Lanark Road, Millbrook 36054

Hawkins Ridge Lodge

910 County Road 79 South, Eufaula 36027

334-695-2258

Oak Ridge Hunting Lodge

P.O. Box 52, Louisville 36048

334-266-5346

Master Rack Lodge

13096 CR14, Union Springs 36089

334-474-3600

Piney Woods Hunting Preserve

2084 Enzor Road, Troy 36079

334-319-1815

Tatum Creek Hunting Camp

1209 County Road 189, Marion Junction 36759

334-410-0505

Water Valley Lodge

2742 Melvin Road, Gilbertown 36908

251-744-9199

Frequently Asked Questions about Hunting in the State of Alabama

Q. I own a property in Alabama. Do I still need to purchase a hunting license before I can hunt legally on my own property?

A. No. If you are a resident of Alabama, the laws of the state do not require you to purchase a hunting license to hunt on any property you own in the state. Your immediate family members can also hunt on that property without needing to purchase any license.

Q. Can I hunt over bait in Alabama?

A. Yes. In 2018, the Alabama House of Representatives approved the hunting of deer and hogs over bait in the State of Alabama.

Q. Are there any special hunting and fishing licenses for physically disabled people in Alabama?

A. Yes, Alabama has such special licenses. You can find out more about these special hunting licenses here.

Q. I have just misplaced my hunter education card. Is it possible to get a replacement?

A. Yes, it is. You can simply print out a replacement card. Visit this website for more information on how to replace your lost hunter education card.

Conclusion

We hope you have found this brief pamphlet on Alabama’s basic hunting laws, species and seasons helpful.  For further information please feel free to visit Outdoor Alabama website, which has been put together by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, to help expedite your successful hunting trip in the Yellowhammer State!



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