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Alabama Hunting Seasons

HECS Hunting

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.

What You Need to Know About Deer Season: 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. 

Deer Hunting Season Dates

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.

Whitetail Buck in beautiful autumn habitat during the deer hunting season
Bow and Arrow Stalk HuntingOct. 1 – Feb. 10
Special Muzzleloader and Air Rifle HuntingOct. 31 – Nov. 4 Nov. 14 – Nov. 18
Gun Deer Hunting*Nov. 19 – Feb. 10
Gun and Dog Deer Hunting*Nov. 5 – Jan. 1
Special Youth Gun HuntingOct. 28 – Oct. 31 Nov. 11 – Nov. 18

* 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.

Where to Hunt in Alabama

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.

Other Huntable Game Options

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):

  • Beaver
  • Coyote
  • Fox
  • Opossum
  • Eastern cottontail rabbit
  • Swamp rabbit
  • Raccoon
  • Squirrel
  • Nutria (Coypu)
  • Groundhog
  • Bobcat

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.

Approved Hunting Equipment in Alabama

Here’s a list of the legal hunting equipment approved for Alabama deer harvests:

  • 10 gauge or smaller shotguns
  • .40 caliber or larger muzzleloaders and black powder handguns
  • Handguns, pistols, and rifles using centerfire, mushrooming ammunition
  • Longbows, compound bows, and crossbows
  • Pneumatic arrow rifles with broadheads
  • .30 caliber or larger pre-charged pneumatic air-powered guns (rifles using centerfire, mushrooming ammunition)

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.

Cost of Deer Hunting Licenses

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. 

All Game License$30.25$30.2510-Day Trip: $216.20 3-Day Trip: $152.55

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.

Deer Hunting Rules

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.

hecs hunting

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.

Other Hunting Seasons in Alabama

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:

AlligatorAug. 11 – Aug. 14 Aug. 18 – Aug. 21 Southeast Zone: Aug. 13 – Sept. 5 Lake Eufaula Zone: Aug. 19 – Oct. 3
Bobcat, Coyote, & FoxAll year round
Duck, Coot, & MerganserNov. 25 & 26 Dec. 3 – Jan. 29
RabbitSept. 10 – March 5
Wild TurkeyZone 1: March 25 – May 8 Zone 2: April 1 – May 8 Zone 3: Nov. 19 – Nov. 27 Dec. 10 – Jan. 1 March 25 – May 8

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.

Make the Most Out of Your Next Hunting Venture in the Heart of Dixie

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!

About the Author : HECS Hunting

Mike is a lifelong bowhunter and self described “science geek” who has over 50 years experience bowhunting big game animals all over the world. Mikes passion is hunting elk and he has taken 48 elk with a bow to date. Mike has taken 31 big game species with a bow worldwide and counting. Besides being a bowhunting fanatic Mike is also a recognized inventor who is always looking to new innovation to help him become more successful in the field. With 11 patents and involvement in countless outside projects within the hunting industry Mike has a reputation as a innovative problem solver in his 30 year career in the hunting industry.

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