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March 2, 2023
With more than 180,000 hunters who go afield in search of deer every year, there’s no question that white-tailed deer are the #1 most hunted game in Alabama. There’s even more to the Alabama hunting season than the coveted white-tailed deer — feral hogs, alligators, and various small game can also be harvested here.
However, before you set off in search of your next harvest, you’ll need to know the state’s hunting laws and regulations. This handy deer seasons guide will walk you through the seasonal dates, licensing costs, approved equipment, and more so you can plan an amazing hunt in Alabama.
Each year, Alabama hunters take home around 300,000 antlered bucks and does during the deer hunting season. But there’s more to know about deer season than the specific hunt dates depicted. If you’re looking to participate in deer hunting statewide, here’s what you need to know before going afield to fill a tag.
Alabama’s open season dates vary based on the zone you hunt in. To make matters more complex, some weeks allow either sex of deer to be harvested, while some timeframes only permit antlered bucks.
* The Gun Deer Hunting seasonal dates (with or without a dog) change depending upon the location of the hunt. Privately owned or leased land will have separate dates from open permit public land hunts.
Before you go out into Alabama hunting territory searching for your next venture, always verify the rules and regulations for your specific hunting zone. Some cities and towns prohibit gun and dog deer hunting entirely, even if you’re hunting in a zone with the gun and dog open season.
With over 1.3 million acres of public hunting land, deciding where to hunt deer can be tricky. Here are some of the favored hunting spots for outdoorsmen in Alabama:
If you have any questions about the specific hunting zone, these locations can help prospective hunters understand the regulations in their area.
Looking for something other than deer? Alabama has a variety of small and large game that hunters are permitted to harvest (during their appropriate hunting seasons):
Keep in mind that all birds except House Sparrows, crows, collared doves, starlings, and blackbirds (except rusty) are protected by state law. Mountain lions, bears, and red wolves are also protected in Alabama.
Here’s a list of the legal hunting equipment approved for Alabama deer harvests:
Note that night vision and laser sights are prohibited in Alabama. Unless you are only hunting for turkeys, you must wear a minimum of 144 square inches of hunter-orange or a full-size hunter-orange hat. Please see the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for more information.
Hunters born after July 31, 1977, must complete a hunter educator program to obtain their license. However, if you have completed hunter education courses in another state, Alabama will accept your previous certifications and issue your hunting license.
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Youth hunters under 16 are exempt from purchasing recreational licenses but cannot participate in open seasons outside special youth deer hunting dates. Upon their 16th birthday, they must purchase a resident license to harvest animals.
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the statewide bag limits for the white-tailed antlered buck are three per hunter. Hunters are limited to one antlered buck daily, so be sure to hang your hat for the day once you’ve harvested a deer.
At least one of your harvested antlered buck must have four antlered points (except Barbour County, which permits three antler points). If hunters tag one buck that fits this criterion, the two deer can be antlered bucks of your choice.
During the specific hunt dates for either sex deer, one unantlered deer may be harvested per day. Depending upon the location of your hunt, there may be exceptions to this rule. See the Alabama department regulations e-booklet for additional details.
While deer season is highly popular in Alabama, it’s not the only open season that hunters have to look forward to. Here are some of the other notable seasons that Alabama has to offer:
Season dates will vary across the state and by county. For specific dates in your hunting zone in Alabama, visit the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.
Hunters have the opportunity to harvest all year round with no bag limits when pursuing predators like the bobcat and coyote! However, if you’re looking to aim at an alligator, you’ll need to enter a lottery: In Alabama, hunters are randomly drawn to receive alligator hunting permits. Only Alabama residents are permitted to apply.
Whether you’re hoping to scout out a white-tailed deer or participate in the year-round bobcat, coyote, and fox season, Alabama has endless opportunities for its prospective hunters. But you can also give yourself the upper hand on your next hunting trip with HECS® camo apparel.
Utilizing advanced electrical blocking technology, this breathable and lightweight clothing reduces your body’s natural emissions that animals, like white-tail deer, can sense. This will give animals fewer chances to detect you in their natural environment so that your experience is as rewarding – and successful – as possible.
Don’t leave home without it: Purchase top-of-the-line HECS® gear today for an unbeatable advantage out in the field!
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Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.