Alabama Goes Nocturnal on Predators

A new license allows hunters to pursue wild hogs and coyotes at night.

Alabama Goes Nocturnal on Predators

Hunters in Alabama will soon be allowed to hunt wild hogs and coyotes at night.

With the stroke of a pen, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey gave resident ($15 license) and nonresident ($51 license) hunters the opportunity to pursue coyotes and wild hogs at night without the need for a depredation permit. Previously, permits were issued only to landowners who could designate friends and family to kill those animals at night that were causing property and livestock damage.

“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 (WFF) Division. “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. 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.”

Wild hogs are very destructive, causing an estimated $50 million damage to crop fields and wildlife habitat each year in Alabama alone and compete with native wildlife for resources. Coyotes commonly prey on whitetail fawns and in some cases domestic livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle.

Wild hogs cause more than $50 million in damage each year in Alabama.
Wild hogs cause more than $50 million in damage each year in Alabama.

According to Weathers, the new license is specific to these two species. “This license does not allow you to take any other game animal at night,” he said. “It’s a good way to control predators on your hunting club or property. And this gives you the opportunity to utilize that property or hunting club during the months when it’s a little too hot to hunt during the daytime. It gives you a little more value in your hunting lease.

Weathers said several regulations will be amended to allow for equipment used for hunting at night.

“Those who buy the license will be able to use equipment that has heretofore been prohibited,” he said. “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.” The 2021 season for hunting wild hogs and coyotes at night will likely start on July 1 and run until November 1, with the season extending from February 11 to November 1 in 2022 and beyond.

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