Interested in night hunting in Alabama? We don't blame you! It has many advantages, including saving you from hot days and letting you remove predators from your property around the clock.
But before grabbing your gun when the sun sets, you should be aware of Alabama's regulations. Knowing the law will prevent you from facing fines and keep you safe.
Luckily, we've got you covered with this guide. Read on for everything you need to know about night hunting in Alabama! You won't want to miss this key info on a new law that allows you to hunt feral hogs and coyotes at night. We also go over the importance of using safety features like night vision and thermal scope.
Before the 2021 Night Hunting Law
Before 2021, you had to have a special depredation permit to participate in night hunting in Alabama.
This permit is only available to residential landowners. You must go through either your local Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District Office or Conservation Enforcement Officer.
If you want to hunt with your friends or family, you can list them on your permit. Realize that adding their names only allows them to hunt on your land.
Even though hunting at night was possible before 2021, getting a permit could be quite the process. Fortunately, new regulations make it much easier to join in on the fun.
License for Night Hunting in Alabama
In late April of 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed an important piece of legislation. The bill allows Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship to waive the depredation permit requirement.
Instead of a permit, people can purchase a license to hunt at night during the established hunting season. The process is similar to buying a regular recreational hunting license.
For those who don't want to buy a license, the depredation permit is still available.
What Animals You Can Hunt
Note that the license only allows you to hunt feral swine and coyotes at night. It does not cover any other game such as deer, ducks, etc.
Where to Get Your License
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) is responsible for issuing licenses. Whether you need an in-state or out-of-state license, you have two options for purchasing:
If you want to purchase your license in person, you must visit a License Agent. Be sure to bring your ID to make the process go as smoothly as possible. If you don't have a valid form of ID, go to your local probate office to get proof of residency.
If you don't want to go in person, take advantage of the ADCNR's online portal. It's super easy to buy the licenses you want. Once your purchase goes through, you can instantly view and print your license.
If you are an Alabama resident, licenses are only $15. All licenses expire on August 31st, so if you want to get the most out of your license, we recommend buying it in early September.
Non-residents will have to pay $51 for the same license. While this price seems high, it is well worth it to enjoy night hunting in Alabama.
Adhere to the Established Seasons
Your license isn't a free pass to do whatever you want. In addition to restricting what animals you can hunt, it limits your activity to established seasons.
The 2021 season takes place from July 1st to November 1st. After November 1st, you won't be able to hunt at night until February 11th, 2022.
As you can see, the dates between each season are rarely consistent. Always check with the ADCNR to ensure you're complying with state laws.
In addition to adhering to the established seasons, you should be aware of safety regulations.
Before the 2021 legislation, you could not use equipment like night vision or thermal scope. Alabama set these regulations to deter night hunting.
However, now that night hunting in Alabama is legal, the ADCNR permits (and even encourages) you to use night vision and thermal scope. These devices will keep you safe while hunting feral swine and coyotes at night.
While these devices are important, you must follow other safety measures. Being careful at night is just as important as it is during the day (if not more). Here are some common-sense practices that you and your party should keep in mind:
- Know where your property lines are and don't cross them.
- Know where other members of your party are.
- Wear reflective clothing.
- Always properly identify your target before pulling the trigger.
Night Hunting in Alabama — Comply with the Law and Stay Safe
Now that this practice is legal, you can better control predator populations on your property. Just be sure to get a license (or permit) and adhere to the established seasons. Most importantly, stay safe by using night vision/thermal scope and practicing common sense.
Can I hunt coyotes at night in Alabama?
Yes! As this article has discussed, Alabama now provides licenses for night hunting. The license allows you to go after not only coyotes but also feral hogs.
How do I get a permit to hunt hogs at night in Alabama?
If you want to hunt hogs after hours, you must either get a depredation permit from the WFF or a license from the ADCNR.
Why was night hunting in Alabama previously illegal?
Lawmakers were worried about the safety issues that night hunting poses. However, they saw the benefits of the practice as it controls predator populations. To keep everyone safe, they advocate for safety features like night vision and thermal scope.