Hunting in Alabama is one of the state’s best recreation activities, for one very simple reason, a very wide range of environments.
It has a very long and rich history in this state, and this has not changed much over the years.
While deer hunting is the main hobby of most avid hunters, there are many birds such as turkey, quail, and dove sought out as well.
This historic state is blessed to still have large levels of game, and there are numerous areas for you and your family to enjoy this activity in, as well as feed your family.
Hunting in Alabama is overseen by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
It oversees more than 30 Wildlife Management areas that are open to the public, and there are other resources that assist.
The Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has also set aside some land, and each of the state’s national forests hosts a shooting range for your convenience.
This recreation activity is also big revenue for the state, as it is estimated to bring in about 1.2 billion in revenue and is supported mostly by its Wildlife Management Areas.
These areas include the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains in the north, to the coastal marshes and beaches in the south.
Since the year 1982, it is estimated that the state has sold more than 38,000 lifetime hunting licenses, not to mention the yearly ones.
The history of hunting in Alabama goes all the way back to the Native Americans, they used to hunt the not only white-tailed deer, but also small game and fowl.
The early settlers in the state used flintlock rifles as their tool, ranging from .36 to .45 caliber.
They fired single-round ball rounds, and they hunted deer, rabbits, as well as squirrels, as well as upland birds and waterfowl.
However, this changed in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as much of the state’s landscape turned to vast acres of cultivated fields.
In those times most people were making their living as small farmers, and this began to “squeeze” the deer and turkey populations into the woods near the waterways.
The major highlight for hunting in Alabama has always been the deer and turkey populations, and until the 20th century, all deer were fair game.
However, numerous biologists in the state convinced the hunting population to only look for deer with “antlers”, thus taking the pressure off of the doe and fawns.
By doing this and going just after the male, the population had remained steady.
Most all hunters quickly embraced this idea, and soon applied it to the turkeys as well, looking for the male or “gobblers”.
White-tailed deer is the number one game in the state, and it is estimated that over 300,000 white tails are taken annually.
The Eastern wild turkey is next and is considered to be the second most popular game in the state.
They are very popular in the spring, when hunters can enjoy the 4–6-week turkey season.
At one time in this state, dogs were used to hunt both deer and turkey, but a lot of this has now changed to deer stands and blinds.
Most hunters prefer small patches of cool-weather grasses to attract deer, and then hunt them from blinds or tree stands.
Today they use high power rifles, most with telescopic sights for a “clear shot”, and this is known a food-plot hunting.
This has led to a rise in small hunting clubs, where land is divided into areas, and hunters can stay there while they hunt.
As a result of this, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has outlawed hunting deer with dogs in some areas, and food planting is now the major thing.
Most hunters will plant food plots for deer in September, and then get ready for the session to begin.
The hunting season is generally from November to January, depending on the zone, and all information can be found in the references listed below, as well as the limits, tagging laws, and reporting laws.
There is also a week-long muzzle-loader season in mid-November, that precedes the regular season.
Small game and birds are also a large attraction, and the open cultivated lands that hurt deer hunting, has been a boom for small game.
The state is blessed with large areas for waterfowl, and duck hunting is certainly part of the hunting culture.
Wood ducks are native to the state, and they are found throughout the state’s backwaters.
The Mobile Delta is prime hunting ground for paddle ducks, such as the gadwall and mallard.
Diving ducks such as the canvasback, redhead, and ringneck, winter in the open bay in the deltas.
While hunting for ducks used to be done in small boats, blinds and decoys are the common theme now.
Nestling-box programs as well as stream bank protection has helped the population, as well as strict limits.
The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1938, has really helped these breeds.
Commercial hunting operations have grown around this new industry as well, and there are also other small game to hunt.
This includes the Bobwhite Quail, which generally takes place on commercial hunting preserves.
Mourning Dove typically kicks off the fall hunting season for a lot of hunters, and this is generally a social event with numerous hunters.
The state is divided into two zones, north and south, and this season typically begins in September and October.
In the year 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has estimated that the money spent on hunting in Alabama reached a whopping $654 million.
Hunting in Alabama is one of the largest of all the recreational activities, and it is also one of the most loved.
Again, the first reference listed below will give you all the hunting dates, regulations, tagging laws, and requirements, you will need to go and have some fun legally.
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