Alabama Deer Population:  An estimated 1.5 million deer in 2016.  About the same in 2016 with 1.6 million, up from about 1.4 million in 2014 and 2015.  Predators, habitat change, and hunting pressure have reduced the Alabama deer population since the peak of about 2 million deer in the year 2000.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Alabama deer hunting data and news archive.

Alabama Deer News

... The bill authorizes a special resource study to determine how CWD spreads and could be prevented in deer and elk... As of now, the disease has not been detected in any Alabama deer...

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
     Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) catapulted into the world of deer hunters all over the South when an afflicted white-tailed deer was discovered in the Mississippi Delta this past January.  It was the first case so close to Alabama ..,

Board updates number of hunting rules June 9, 2018 Alabama, Tuscaloosa News
... The Conservation Advisory board voted recently to remove spears as legal weapons for hunting white-tailed deer ... In the late 1990s, Alabama became the first state to legalize the use of spears ...

How hunters saved the deer and turkey in Alabama April 27, 2018 Bham Now
...  in 1940 there were only 16,000 deer statewide. You couldn’t find deer in 57 of the state’s 67 counties... If not for efforts by a host of wildlife groups and many dedicated individuals, deer in Alabama were going the way of the buffalo in the American West...

Deer trafficking case helps limit spread of chronic wasting disease April 24, 2018 Alabama, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
... The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama recently sentenced a licensed Alabama deer breeder and his associate for illegally transporting captive-bred and raised white-tailed deer from a facility in Indiana to his deer breeder facility in Alabama...

Killed deer underreported in Alabama despite mandate April 22, 2018 The Tuscaloosa News
... Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries officials estimate that only about 30 percent of the deer killed in Alabama are reported through the Game Check system, even though it is now mandatory. This year, the actual number reported dropped from 84,000 two years ago to about 78,000 last year.  Game Check is a mandatory reporting system ...

Montgomery Advertiser
... Land values will likely be the first indicator of bad news if CWD comes to the state, said Jeff Roberts, a real estate agent who sells hunting land ...“For farmers and landowners, leasing the hunting rights to their places is a huge secondary income for many ... If CWD comes to Alabama, the land values are going to go into the basement...

 CWD Positive in Mississippi Prompts Quick Response February 23, 2018 Alabama, ADCNR News
...  the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) ... added Mississippi to the list of states where the importation of body parts from members of the cervid family – white-tailed and mule deer, elk and moose, etc. – is prohibited unless the meat is deboned and other regulations followed..,

... "Unfortunately, there is no live animal tests, so we have to have brain tissue and lymph nodes," said state veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier... officials say they test on average of around 500 deer per year for CWD...

...  The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks recently announced that a deer in that state has tested positive for CWD... Because the most likely way of CWD being introduced to Alabama is through transportation, it has been illegal for decades for live deer to be imported into Alabama. To further combat the potential threat of the introduction of CWD into Alabama, prohibition of the importation of whole carcasses and certain body parts of deer from any CWD-positive state was implemented in 2016...

Doe harvest key to deer management February 10, 2018 Alabama, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
...  a balanced gender ratio is important because all the does in a disproportionate population will not be bred in a timely manner or not bred at all. ... wildlife biologist Kevin Holsonback ... Late-born fawns often come out of their first winter in poorer condition ... a prolonged breeding season will wear bucks down ...

Sportsmen's Caucus Celebrates 10th Year in Alabama February 9, 2018 Alabama DCNR 
... Blankenship said there are about 215,000 licensed hunters in Alabama with almost a $2 billion economic impact.  “Deer hunting alone has about a billion-dollar economic impact,” ...  Pittman-Robertson levies an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment and distributes that money to states based on license sales.  The modernization bill would extend financial and technical assistance to the states for the promotion of hunting and recreational shooting.  A portion of the bill would allocate funds that may be used for any activity or project to recruit or retain hunters and recreational shooters...

Prescribed fires useful to prevent future tragedy February 2, 2018 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... While there has been some increase in the use of fire in woodlands in the last decade (more than 1 million acres in Alabama in 2009), there are many more millions of acres that need burning and are not getting it...

Deer season off to strong start December 23, 2017 Alabama, Tuscaloosa News
... last year’s hunting was spoiled not only by the drought but also by heavy thunderstorms on weekends after the drought broke... Comparisons to last year really aren’t valid ... this has been a much better year for growing food plots..,

Deer hunting in Alabama brings in big bucks, lots of doe  November 16, 2017 Alabama, Alabama NewsCenter
... In the early 20th century, habitat loss and unregulated hunting had reduced Alabama’s deer population to a remnant of little more than 5,000 animals living in the Tombigbee and Alabama River bottoms ...  State officials estimate the total deer harvest was somewhere around 235,000, which put compliance with Game Check at only about 35 percent...,

Population, Experts share tips as rifle season approaches November 16, 2017 Alabama, The Decatur Daily
... Statewide, there are an estimated 1.5 million deer in Alabama, giving it one of the densest deer populations nationwide, Weathers said. That figure has remained largely steady for the past two decades, he said, adding that hunting brings $1.8 billion in revenue to the state annually..,

November 16, 2017 Alabama


Agency working hard to keep CWD out of Alabama November 3, 2017 Tuscaloosa News
...  declining hunter numbers, an aging hunting population, loss of land for public hunting and other issues. He puts Chronic Wasting Disease at the top of the list  .... “We haven’t found it here and we don’t want to find it,” Cook said. “The most likely way it would get here is human movement, through a carcass or an illegally imported deer.” ...

Disease killing whitetail deer has little impact in Alabama October 24, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
...  Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is widespread east of the Mississippi and north to Canada...  it can wipe out 30 to 40 percent of the local deer population during a bad year ...

Deer baiting debate will continue next legislative session October 20, 2017 Alabama, Decatur Daily
... “People now think it’s legal because we passed it in the House,”  ...Current regulations say hunters can use “supplemental feed” as long as it is placed at least 100 yards from where they are and not in their direct line of sight...

Fall Hunting In Alabama Forecast October 18, 2017 Game & Fish
... “I’d love to be able give you the number of deer taken from year-to-year,” said Jud Easterwood, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources biologist. “However, we don’t receive near the number of reports we should get in the mandatory game check each year. We likely receive between 30 to 35 percent of people who actually call us ...

Deer restocking program means big bucks for Ala. hunting industry October 12, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... There was always a remnant population of deer in the river bottoms of western Alabama ...  3,331 deer restocked in the state ... 1925 to 1965... 2,167 [does] ... 796 bucks and 368 animals of unknown sex... 388 out-of-state deer ... Chronic Wasting Disease is the biggest threat to having a crash of the population ..,

... charged two Northport, Ala., men with knowingly transporting and receiving white-tailed deer into the state – a violation of state law and the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold...

The Effects of Soils on Whitetail Deer September 23, 2017 Alabama, The Lafayette Sun
... In their research, samples from multiple species of known deer-preferred plants were collected and sent to a lab for nutritional analysis...  results showed no correlation between the nutritional quality of a plant and the quality of the soil in which it was growing...

2017 Alabama Deer Forecast September 20, 2017 Game & Fish
... what is perceived as declining deer numbers ...up in north-central Alabama, and that was really the justification for shortening the either-sex gun season in that part of the state this past year...

Baiting Deer Remains Illegal in Alabama September 15, 2017 ADCNR News
...  the so-called “corn” bill that was introduced in the Alabama Legislature this year did not become law. Yes, the bill passed the House of Representatives, but that’s as far as it went... “Feeding is fine as long as you stay within the area definition,” ...  located beyond 100 yards from the hunter and not within the line of sight ..,

Follow Guidelines for Successful Wildlife Food Plots August 17,2017 Alabama, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
... it’s time to tackle the undesirable plants that inevitably pop up in the wildlife openings.  “The best thing you can do right now is start working on weed control to help make sure you will be able to prepare a really good seed bed to get the seed in contact with the soil,” ...

Follow Guidelines for Successful Wildlife Food Plots August 11, 2017 Alabama, courierjournal
...  ryegrass has been the most prevalent winter forage planted in wildlife openings ... your basic big buck mix that every feed and seed store has, it will likely have wheat, oats, clover, ryegrass and possibly some rape or some other brassica  ...

Ways to make a deer's age more than guessing game August 5, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... the amount of variation for an antler in a specific age group of bucks is pretty big. An outstanding 11/2-year-old buck can have as thick a base of antlers as an underwhelming 4-year-old buck... 

Rescue Not Required July 19, 2017 Alabama, Outdoor Alabama
... In Alabama, native wildlife cannot be held in captivity, even for the purposes of medical assistance, without proper permits. There are licensed wildlife rehabilitators throughout the state, and these individuals and facilities have the experience and enclosures necessary to tend to and house convalescing wildlife. Wounded and ailing animals must be transported as quickly as possible to those with a permit, and may not be kept in the care of the finder or even a local veterinary clinic that lacks a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit. All native wildlife, from backyard birds to rabbits and deer, are covered by this regulation. A complete list of permitted persons and their contact information is organized by county at outdooralabama.com/current-wildlife-rehabbers

CWD didn't prevent an excellent deer season May 7, 2017 Arkansas, Arkansas Online
... Even in the CWD "hot zone" of Newton County, deer hunters went about their business as usual. Most declined a free opportunity to have their deer sampled for CWD, which suggests that they were not worried about it...

Game Check off to good start April 28, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... It’s estimated that about 35 percent of hunters participated in Game Check ... 82,414 deer were harvested; 45,529 bucks and 36,850 does, Game Check data shows.  Using the 35 percent threshold, and spinning the math forward, the department estimates that about 235,500 deer were harvested during the season ..,

... The “dog encroachment” amendment states that a dog hunter whose animal has encroached on private property where no permission to hunt has been granted will receive two warnings. If another incident occurs, the dog hunter will be issued a citation... All this does is add verbiage where if you intentionally and knowingly let your dogs run on somebody else’s property, then that’s a problem...


     Alabama’s first year of mandatory deer harvest reporting shows that more bucks are being harvested than does and more deer are harvested on private land versus public land. Out of the 82,435 deer reported, 45,546 were bucks and 36,854 were does... “We estimate that approximately 35 percent of hunters reported their deer harvests this first year,” ...

...  for years we've been able to hunt, not directly over bait, but you had to be over one-hundred-yards and out of line of sight ... 
House approves deer-baiting bill  March 1, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
...  a bill that would let hunters use bait for deer and feral hogs.  House members voted 69-18 for ...
     Baiting bill could change deer hunting in Alabama March 1, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... Each hunter who wants to hunt over bait will be required to buy a $15 yearly license for the privilege... calculated that the annual license will raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million for the conservation department ...

Advisory Board Updated on Game Check, Snapper Check February 18, 2017 Alabama, Outdoor Alabama
... Game Check data showed that there were slightly more bucks than does harvested. With that compliance figure, Sykes said the estimated deer harvest for the just-finished season was about 122,350 bucks and 101,000 does harvested for a total of 223,350 animals ...

Alabama Data:  An estimated 1.5 million deer in 2017, about the same as the estimated 2016 population of 1.5 to 1.7 million, trending down since 2000 because of pressure from predators, habitat change, and hunting.  Fewer either-sex hunting days in parts of the north in 2016 to increase the herd, drought stress throughout the state.  A 2014 estimate put the population at 1.4 million.  About the same in 2015.  The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board voted to reduce the statewide limit on antlerless deer to one per day in 2014 to increase the population.  The population increased in 2013 after better rainfall than in the previous years of drought conditions except in northern Alabama.  Most hunting on private property.
     About 2 million deer in the state in 2000, peak population, up from 400,000 in 1970.  The deer harvest peaked in 2005 at about 499,000.  The 2012 reported harvest was 266,725, about 53 percent of the maximum harvest. Coyote predation has been a factor in reducing the deer population in recent years.  Harvest statistics
    History, an early decline in the deer population occurred about the year 1,000 when the native Indians were killing more deer then the herd could sustain.  By 1500, the herd had recovered, but during the 1700's the herd was decimated as deer skins were traded for guns. In the early 1900's the deer population was at an historic low, an estimated 2,000 in 1920.  A restocking effort began in 1925 when 105 deer were purchased from Michigan.  Limited hunting of does helped to increase the population.  Restocking continued from 1934 to 1944, an estimated population of 18,000 by 1940 -- 1941 distribution In 1945 a larger restocking effort began.  
     By the 1950's deer were still only present in a few of Alabama's 67 counties.  Restocking from other states continued through the 1960's   Deer in the north mostly came from midwestern and Texas states, the peak of their rut is about December 15 to January 15.  Deer in the south are mostly from the native herd.  From 1925 to 1965, there were 3,331 deer restocked in the state, 2167 does, 796 bucks, 368 unknown sex.  
     Changes in land use, the switch from cotton to soy-beans, a high-protein food for deer, stimulated the deer population in the period leading up to the 1970's. See Deer in Alabama  As the deer population recovered, management reinstated doe harvest.  About 30 percent of the total harvest was does in the 1980's, up to about 50 percent in recent years - a balanced demographic.  The three buck limit instituted around 2007 appears to have increased the number of mature bucks in the population.  
    Elk  Once native but hunted to local extinction.  In 1916 elk were captured in Yellowstone and transported by train to an Alabama holding pen.  The first night the herd rushed the fence and 10 of them broke out, reintroducing elk to the state.

Other useful links: 
Alabama Newsroom, news from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- Outdoor Alabama Maps and information

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