In the Nov./Dec. 2015 issue of Sporting Classics, Larry Chesney told of his extended deer seasons in “Alabama’s Dirty Little Secret.” Alabama is famous among hunters for its lengthy whitetail seasons, which start early in October and end Feb. 10 — in some areas. A new law would make that end date statewide, thrilling resident and non-resident hunters alike.
The proposal was made by Alabama’s Conservation Advisory Board during a March 26 meeting. The 2015-16 regulations* allowed hunters in Zone B, roughly the area south of Montgomery, to kill a deer as late as Feb. 10. Hunters to the north, located in Zone A, were required to lay down their arms Jan. 31.
If passed, the board’s changes would create a new “Zone C” in the upper-middle of Zone A (see proposed map here). All three zones would allow bucks to be taken with guns Nov. 19 until Feb. 10 without the typical split; in 2015 the season paused from Nov. 30 until Dec. 11.
Alabama giveth and Alabama taketh away. Doe tags will be reduced in Zone C and the antlerless season would only last Nov. 19-27 and Dec. 23-Jan. 2. Archery season would only last from Oct. 15-24 in Zone B. Numerous changes would also be made to the state’s dog hunting regulations.
All of the changes are contingent on the Game Check harvest reporting system being made mandatory in the state. The system requires a hunter to report their deer and turkey kills whether they are taken on public or private lands. It was first proposed by the board in 2013 and was meant to be mandatory for hunters, but the mandatory status was withdrawn later that year. It went into effect Oct. 15, 2013, as a voluntary action.
* The dates listed were for deer taken with rifles and bows. Those hunting with dogs or muzzleloaders/air rifles end their seasons earlier.