Alabama Deer Population:  About 1.6 million deer in 2019. An estimated 1.5 million in 2017.  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 state's highest court issued its 8-1 decision May 29, overturning a lower court ruling that held hybrids birthed by whitetail does who were artificially inseminated with imported mule deer semen would be legal to hunt...

Blind Deer, Seen ‘odd’ acting deer with strange eyes? It’s not your imagination, experts say March 5, 2020 Alabama, Raleigh News & Observer
... a 5-year-old buck with discolored eyes, and experts later determined it was living totally blind in the wild ... It had been stabbed in the eyeball by another buck’s antlers ...

Prescribed Fire Planned at Wind Creek State Park in March February 26, 2020 Alabama, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources News
... When properly used, controlled burning reduces the risk of wildfire by eliminating excess fuel on the ground. Prescribed fire also stimulates new plant growth that serves as food for several species including wild turkey, white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, fox squirrel, woodpeckers and bluebirds..,

... The growths are a type of virus known as “deer warts,” ... humans and farm animals can’t get the virus from deer and the condition is known to clear up, if given enough time...

MA Turner, WD Gulsby, SS Ditchkoff, WN Gray… - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2019
... Following declines in white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations during the 19th century, many areas throughout the southeastern United States were restocked from various sources. As a result, some populations remain genetically distinct, and phenotypic traits of source populations, including breeding chronology, have been conserved ... Variation in reproductive output of large ungulates is primarily driven by young females, so managers should be aware that productivity of late‐breeding deer populations may be less than average, especially if those populations are behaving in a density‐dependent manner...

... Chronic Wasting Disease is likely “three to five years,” from showing up in the state, said Chuck Sykes...  “It will be that negligent, uncaring hunter who harvests a deer out of state and doesn’t take the time to properly handle the carcass. And once it gets here, we can never put that genie back in the bottle ...

... The state now has somewhere between 1.5 and 1.75 million whitetails, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), and some parts of the state, particularly the southwest counties, remain over-populated ... a far cry from the early 1900s when, due to subsistence hunting and minimal game protection, there were only about 2,000 deer statewide ..,

... The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is increasing sampling surveillance efforts in northwest Alabama after deer in nearby Mississippi and Tennessee tested CWD-positive...


... Most of the CWD-positive deer have been hunter-harvested deer with no outward signs of CWD... The most common is just abnormal behavior.  They don’t act right, because it’s a disease of the central nervous system... the Center for Disease Control recommends that hunters who harvest deer in areas with CWD should have the deer tested ...

Wildlife Officials Hold Public Meetings on Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer October 21, 2019 Alabama, Alabama News Network 
... CWD has not been found in Alabama ... In 2018, a case was reported in Northern Mississippi... This fall, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries is hosting a series of public meetings throughout the state...

... particularly concerned in recent years by outbreaks in north central Mississippi and southwest Tennessee, close enough for free-ranging deer to carry it across the state line, and also areas where Alabama hunters sometimes visit and harvest animals...

Bait Privilege License Opens Opportunities for Deer Hunters September 6, 2019  Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
... “The baiting privilege, first and foremost, was something that was legislated,” Sykes said. “It was not something the Department pushed or something that we crafted. This came from the Legislature. Their constituents wanted to hunt over bait. So, good, bad or indifferent, we’ve got it. ... Anybody who wishes to hunt over bait must have a bait privilege license,” ..,

...A  plan is in place in case chronic wasting disease comes to Alabama - and that even reindeer are being barred from crossing state lines for Christmas programs... CWD, is the top priority with Conservation at this time...

Dr. James Kroll speaks at the Alabama Deer Association meeting setting the record straight on CWD. - June 4, 2019


Legislature bans most deer from being brought into the state May 28, 2019 Alabama, Alabama Political Reporter
... this bill was a recommendation of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and is being recommended to help fight the spread of chronic wasting disease...

Alabama Bait Bill Becomes Law May 8, 2019 ACDNR News
... Hunters in Alabama can now hunt white-tailed deer (when in season) and feral pigs with the aid of bait on privately owned or leased lands if they have purchased and are in possession of an annual bait privilege license issued by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). The new license, $15 for resident individual hunters and $51 for non-residents, is now available anywhere hunting licenses are sold ..,
... A bill to allow hunters to buy licenses to hunt deer and feral hogs over bait has passed the Alabama Legislature after several years of falling short...
     Deer-baiting bill clears Alabama House April 11, 2019 al.com
... Hunters could buy a baiting privilege license to hunt white-tailed deer or feral hogs over bait. The annual cost of the license would be $16 for Alabama residents and $51 for non-residents...

Advisory Board Gets Crash Course in CWD March 15, 2019 Alabama, DCNR News
... Alabama has long had regulations that banned the importation of live deer. The regulations were amended to prohibit the importation of deer carcasses.   ...“That is why we’ve had officers monitoring the highways and giving tickets to people who were bringing field-dressed deer in from out-of-state,” ..,
... The 2018 license year saw 175,531 total hunting licenses sold in the state, according to data from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources...181,581 licenses in 2017 and 186,081 in 2016... The heyday... the late 1970s, with 336,991 licenses sold in 1977, compared to 342,831 in 1978 and 344,777 in 1979 ..,

... Just when the buck was fixing to come out of the water a deer hunter close to the top of the hill shot at him twice... all the fishermen were shaken up at how close the shots came to where they were fishing...

Wet weather means lower deer kills in West Alabama January 19, 2019 The Tuscaloosa News
... “We’ve had washouts five of the last six Saturdays and we’re about to have another one.”  In some areas of West Alabama, it has rained all but one Saturday since gun deer season began in November... “Ninety percent of the deer killed are killed in green fields,” ...

Alabama WFF Ramps Up CWD Sampling Effort January 18, 2019 Outdoor Alabama
... With positive tests for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Tennessee and additional positives in Mississippi, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division has ramped up testing in north Alabama..,

... In recent weeks the disease was found in deer from Tennessee and Mississippi around 40 miles from the Alabama state line. That prompted the first-ever remote sampling station to be set up in Alabama...

Alabama Deer Population, frustration January 3, 2019 Aldeer.com
... I’ve seen Chucky Sykes spread estimates of 1.6 million deer statewide. We all know that’s incredibly high and have heard many estimate it’s more around 1.2 million. Let’s be fair to both sides and say 1.4. There’s 34 million acres in Alabama putting a statewide average of 1 deer per 25 acres..,


Alabama Data:  An estimate from the state of 1.5 to 1.75 (about 1.63) million deer in 2019. 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.  A 2018 estimated annual economic impact of  $1 billion from deer hunting in the state. 
     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 16,000 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.  
     Hunting license sales peaked in 1979 with 344,777 compared to 175,531 in 2018.  
    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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