Alabama: Hunters Can Now Take Coyotes, Hogs At Night

Outdoor Alabama is happy to announce a streamlined system for hunting feral pigs and coyotes at night. (Photo: WFF/William Malone)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey just signed a piece of legislation that will allow hunters to take wild pigs and coyotes at night, using night vision equipment and lights. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be tasked with setting up a new nighttime hunting season starting this year.

Previously, hunters looking to take these pesky animals needed a depredation permit, available to landowners. Landowners then could list friends, family, lessees and delegates as permitted hunters on private and leased property. Under the new law, anyone with a depredation permit will be able to take pigs and coyotes anywhere they have permission to hunt.

“The new law provides for a license that allows anyone in the state to hunt feral swine and coyotes at night by buying a license to hunt on any private or leased property where they have permission to hunt,” said Matt Weathers, Chief of Enforcement with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, or WFF. “So, if you lease a hunting club, if the person or corporation you lease that property from allows you to hunt at night, you can purchase the license to hunt those animals at night on your hunting club. And you can do that without the landowner coming to us to get a permit.”

“It represents a new hunting activity for the state, and it will enlist as many as 200,000 hunters in this fight against two insidious predators,” he said. “So, a new hunting activity; that’s a good thing. You have more feral swine and coyotes being removed from the state; that’s a good thing, too. It’s a win-win.”

The new hunting permit runs $15 for residents and $51 for visitors. The new system will not only help deal with these animals, it will also clear up a lot of overhead work replacing the old scheme, which will free up more manpower for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

Landowners will still be able to buy depredation permits under the old system if they choose to. “However, as long as the landowner gives permission, you can buy that new license to hunt at night,” Weathers said. “This streamlines the process and provides the ability to hunt on very short notice.”

“Those who buy the license will be able to use equipment that has heretofore been prohibited,” he added. “During the established season, you will be able to use night vision or thermal optics. You can have lights attached to your firearms. Those technologies are emerging and make the taking of these animals a lot more efficient.”

Like in many states, night hunting is growing as fast as wild pig populations. (Photo: WFF/Clint Ludlam)

The WFF stresses that this permit is only for coyotes and feral pigs, and reminds people to stay safe, know their property lines and boundaries, and know where their fellow hunters are. This is new for Alabama and any time there’s a new activity people need to take all the precautions they can.

“In a lot of states, nighttime predator hunting is very popular. It’s big business in some areas,” said Weathers. “Hunting has been in decline for decades across the nation, but some of these specialty styles of hunting, nighttime predator hunting specifically, has just exploded. People are really getting into it.”

“As the prices have come down on equipment like suppressors, AR-15-style hunting rifles, night vision and thermal optics, these things are becoming more common and are becoming more accepted in hunting,” he added. “This is just an example of us trying to adjust regulation and law to account for the evolving manner in which Alabamians hunt. The feral swine population and the coyote population are certainly increasing in Alabama. These are animals whose populations can stand more hunters out there pursuing them.”

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“We don’t think this is the silver bullet,” said WFF Director Chuck Sykes. “We’re not saying going hunting at night is going to eliminate the hog problem, because it’s not. What we are doing is giving people more opportunity to remove more pigs and coyotes if they choose to do so. It is another tool to reduce the number of predators.”

“Predator control is a big buzzword right now,” said Sykes. “We’re giving you the opportunity to do what you think is best to manage your property.”

This year’s nighttime hunting season is expected to open on July 1 and continue through November 1. In the following years, it will likely start on February 11 and run through to November 1.

Officials estimate that coyotes and feral pigs do an estimated $50 million in private property damages per year. Coyotes also predate on local wildlife populations, including white-tail deer and wild turkey.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Daddio7 May 4, 2021, 12:07 pm

    So will game wardens still vigorously patrol at night looking for “fire hunters” or will they just assume anyone hunting at night with a light is hog hunting?

    Many years ago I got caught up in a fire hunter raid. I was recently divorced and was showing my new girlfriend some of my property. This was 10:00 o’clock on a July night on the backside of an overgrown 40 acre field. Things were just starting to get interesting when ext thing I know I have flashing blue lights in the rear view window. My first thoughts were “Honest, she is 18”. I got out of my truck and walked back to the officer. I told him this was my land and what did he want. Somewhat sheepishly he said they were looking for fire hunters. I told him I am not doing that and he said have a good night. I got back into my truck and pulled up so he could turn around. The mood was broken so I just took her home.

    Good thing he did not search my truck, back during the growing season I had put my 30.06 and a spotlight behind the seat of my Ford truck to kill hogs rooting in my potato crop. I forgot to take them out. It would have been awkward trying to explain that. The girl? In November we will have been married 37 years.

  • Stan Riedel May 4, 2021, 3:18 am

    Where can we sign a petition against “certain people” making others outlaws, if they pursue their interest in hunting, target practice and owning any kind of gun they use to do it. Nobody made those “certain people” our GOD. Always be the first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else.

    • Bad Penguin May 4, 2021, 9:37 am

      Best way to do it is to pass a state law stating no one moving to your state from a liberal state. They bring their wacko liberal politics with them.

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