Alabama Deer Population:  An estimated 1.6 million deer in 2016, 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

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 ...

Senate bill would legalize hunting deer, hogs over bait February 17, 2017 Alabama, DadevilleRecord.com
... Senate Bill 189 ... would allow the now illegal practice of placing food like shucked and shelled corn ... While illegal, the practice has been widespread ... One local deer processors estimated that 80 percent of the deer he saw this season, showed the animals had ingested some sort of feed prior to being harvested...

Modern Trapping More About Predator Control Than Furs February 10, 2017 Alabama,
courierjournal
... Emphasis on deer management and turkey and quail management is a big thing. For people who own or manage property who are putting in the time through habitat work to produce food plots, supplemental feeding programs and herd management through selective harvest, trapping is just another tool in their arsenal of managing their property with predator control.” ...

State lab taking over deer-disease testing January 21, 2017 Alabama, Arkansas Online
... The Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory is getting into the business of testing for chronic wasting disease afflicting deer and elk in Arkansas... No Arkansas lab, until now, had been certified to test for chronic wasting disease ...

... its 13th annual deer hunt  ... participants come from far and wide to participate in the event ... 

... there is a false rumor that baiting has been allowed because of 2016's drought... 

Autauga public hunting area named for former conservation commisisoner January 13, 2017 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... Dating back to the 1950s, whitetail deer were present in only a few of Alabama’s 67 counties, mostly in southwest and west Alabama. Now the state has one of the longest deer seasons in the nation...

... reports that wildlife food plots in Alabama have suffered because of the fall drought, and some hunters have tried to increase their chances of harvesting a deer by disregarding a long-standing law.  Hunting game over bait is illegal in Alabama ...

Game Check not quite a C+ despite ease of use January 7, 2017 Alabama, Buckmasters Online
... Chuck Sykes ... director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, ... checking the number of deer reported through the Game Check system which became mandatory for the 2016-2017 season. “I figured only about a third of the deer killed were being reported,” ...

Drought impacts deer population, behavior December 3, 2016 Alabama, Daily Mountain Eagle
...  no biologists on the staff Brock works with has seen a drought like this since they’ve been at the department. Due to a lack of comparable data and weather conditions from previous years, they’re currently unsure how a continuing drought will affect deer activity and behavior in the long-term...

Lack of rain affecting deer food plots December 2, 2016 Alabama, Tuscaloosa News
... West Alabama hunters have been criticized for being too dependent on food plots. But until this week, there haven’t been any green fields for deer to graze in... It’s so dry that the volunteer rye grass that everybody has didn’t come up...

CH Newbolt, PK Acker, TJ Neuman, SI Hoffman… - The Journal of Wildlife …, 2016
... Our most supported model indicated that annual body size and antler size of the individual were positively associated with annual male breeding success... Management practices that encourage balanced adult sex ratios and older male age structures (e.g., Quality Deer Management) may promote a highly competitive environment where sexually selected traits are of increased importance to male breeding success. However, the ability of managers to alter herd genetics in a positive or negative direction through selective harvest is limited in white-tailed deer because of the high proportion of reproducing males...

... Laura says her two younger children were playing in the yard when they came inside and told her they found a reindeer...  it seems Reindeer was quite the gentleman, allowing the kids to pet him ...

Watch Incredible footage of wild #youngbuck #whitetail hanging out with the family. Walks right up and touches my hand! Let's the kids pet him! We named him #Reindeer #deer #buck Really hope he makes it through #huntingseason #hunting #Bambi #wildlife - November 19, 2016



...  The ADCNR says it's critical to completely debone the animal, remove and dispose of any brain or spinal tissue from skull plates, raw capes and hides before returning to Alabama. Root structures and other soft tissue should also be removed from all teeth...

Alabama Man Charged with Violating State's CWD Ban November 17, 2016 Outdoor Alabama
... It was an anonymous tip from another Alabama resident traveling through Illinois that led to the charges against Durham. “The caller, who knew about the CWD ban, stated they were behind a truck travelling south with Alabama plates that was loaded with hunting gear and a recently harvested buck,” ...

What's happening to our deer with this drought? November 15, 2016 Alabama, Buckmasters Online
... “I’ve been talking to some old-timers, and they don’t ever remember it being this dry,” ... those hunters and landowners who are especially concerned about the deer herd’s health can take advantage of supplemental feeding ...

Drought affecting reservoirs, wildlife November 11, 2016 Alabama, Trussvilletribune
... “There are a lot of acorns on the ground, at least in the places I’ve been ... Deer are focusing on the acorns to build fat reserves that they lost when they ate up everything that was available during these dry conditions. “Deer are pretty hardy animals, so they’ll make do. It’s going to start raining again, eventually. They may be less than typical weights this winter...

... Lots of folks aren’t fully aware of the CWD regulation change ... once it goes into the ground or contaminates water, you can’t get rid of it. It never goes away. Contaminating one spot could be catastrophic to Alabama’s entire deer herd...

Alabama Hunters Now Able to Report Harvests Via Mobile App October 27, 2016 Alabama, Business Wire
... “This new, innovative technology is an asset to hunters across the state as they now have a more convenient way to report their game,” said Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr ... The Outdoor Alabama Pocket Ranger app is available for download for both iOS and Android devices at www.outdooralabama.com/mobile-apps.

Managing wildlife begins with some home improvement October 16, 2016 Alabama, Anniston Star
... Alternating fall/winter foods with spring/summer plants gives deer and other wildlife something nutritious every month. Summer can be just as tough on deer as winter...  pears, crabapples, persimmons, chestnuts, white oaks and red oaks are top choices ...

Alabama Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game & Fish
... hunters in parts of northern Alabama will see fewer either-sex days this season in an effort to bolster the deer herd in that area ... “Many people who hunt deer in northern Alabama expressed concern about seeing fewer deer last season,” ...

... This costly insect was eradicated once in the 1960s, but we all need to be aware that it could be moving into Alabama with remnants of Hurricane Matthew ... USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) in three deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida...

... “When I say you never get rid of it, in Colorado where it was first found in captive mule deer, they killed all the deer and waited many years to put more deer back there, and CWD killed those deer, too. Once you get it, you never get rid of it. We don’t want it in Alabama, and the best chance to keep it out is to make sure it never crosses our border.” ...

...  North Alabama.  The CDC says some animals are putting hunters at risk for Brucellosis which is a disease that can cause severe illness if a person comes in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products...

Significant changes made to 2016-2017 hunting season September 22, 2016 Alabama, Newsaegis
... you cannot hunt over bait this year. That legislation didn’t pass. The House (of Representatives) passed it, but it takes both houses of the Legislature to pass a bill... “Starting in October, hunters will have to report their deer and turkey harvests,” ...

Helping what appears to be an abandoned deer could cost you August 25, 2016 Alabama, WPMI Local 15 News
... What most dont realize is that it's natural for a doe to leave it's young... You could face a $500 fine ... It's against the law to pick up any of these spotted fawns...

... Wildlife experts point to Oak Mountain State Park as a textbook case of how deer tend to multiply in numbers greater than their habitat can support unless controlled through regulated hunting  [related research] ... regulated archery hunts were established in 2004 to control the Oak Mountain State Park herd...

Mandatory check system July 24, 2016 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... Game check is simply a harvest record for deer and turkey. The system allows the Alabama Department of Conservation to get a pulse on the deer and turkey population in each county...

Biologists, hunters react to hunting season extension July 24, 2016 Alabama, Decatur Daily
... North Alabama hunters will get 10 additional days of deer hunting ... The mature bucks are typically more active later in the season, so the extra 10 days gives hunters a better chance to harvest a mature buck ... Alabama was one of the remaining three states not to have mandatory harvest reporting systems until this year...

... the best thing to do would be to return it to where it was found ... It was fine when we turned it loose ... Fawn are sometimes left alone for up to 12 hours...

Trail-Camera Surveys used to figure out deer population July 16, 2016 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
 ... A Trail-Camera Survey is an incredibly useful tool to give you a look at your deer population   ... take your photos and start compiling. Count the number of bucks, does, and fawns, or deer under a year... a handy form [PDF] on QDMA’s website from Thomas to help you get all the details worked out ...

Education Is Sykes' Goal on Game Check Tour July 6, 2016 Alabama, courierjournal
... Estimates from sampling and mail surveys indicate about 300,000 deer are harvested annually in Alabama... The Game Check program, which has been used on a voluntary basis for the past three years, will be mandatory for the 2016-2017 hunting seasons for reporting the harvest of deer and turkeys...

New rules for deer hunting take affect this fall July 6, 2016 Alabama, RocketCityNow
... “Many Alabama hunters commonly hunt deer in states with CWD in their deer populations ... Under this new regulation they must take steps to debone the meat or remove all brain tissue from their harvested deer before returning home to Alabama...

... Between 9,500 years BP and around 3,500 years BP humans and deer played on an essentially even playing field ... At 1,000 AD Native Americans ... were killing more deer than what could sustain them... the Whitetail had it pretty good from 1550 to about 1680 with fewer Native Americans alive who could hunt them ... during 1700's the cycle of trading deer skins for guns .. populations were being decimated ...

State deer herd appears in decline May 7, 2016 Alabama, Anniston Star
...  there are around 1.5 to 1.7 million deer in the state. This number is down from the first part of the 21st century where at time there was an estimated 2 million deer....In the 2007-2008 deer season, the WFF implemented a three buck per season rule ... put more pressure on taking does... Hunting license sales are also in decline. Fewer hunters mean less operating revenue ...

Extending deer season not the way to go April 23, 2016 Alabama, Tuscaloosa News
... The landscape in Alabama is perfectly suited for growing large numbers of deer ... the vast amount of overgrown cutover and commercial pine thickets in Alabama offer ideal cover ... Throughout the majority of the season, squirrel and rabbit hunters are pushed on to Alabama’s limited public hunting areas because of conflicts with deer hunters on private land...

Board Recommends Changes to Alabama's Hunting and Fishing Regulations April 5, 2016 Alabama, The Quad-Cities Daily
 ... Recommended extending deer season to end Feb. 10 statewide, with no closed period in December. Archery season in the South Zone would be bucks only from Oct. 15 to Oct. 24. This season is dependent upon Game Check becoming mandatory.  Reduced doe season in portions or all of select north Alabama counties ...

Changes Proposed To Alabama's Hunting Regulations April 2, 2016 WKRG
... Reduced doe season in portions or all of select north Alabama counties ... Revised the dog deer hunting permit system to require a 500-acre minimum acreage for any new dog deer hunting permits ... Strengthened existing regulations aimed at preventing the unintentional import of disease pathogens such as Chronic Wasting Disease ...

Advisory Board Votes For Statewide Deer Season Extension Apri 2, 2016 Alabama, Courier Journal
... Alabama hunters could be in store for the longest white-tailed deer season in history ... Board member Raymond Jones Jr. of Huntsville expressed opposition to the February extension, citing Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division research that only about 14 percent of the does in north Alabama are bred in February...

Arrests being made for unlisenced hunters March 31, 2016 Alabama, St. Clair News-Aegis
... arrested a non-resident hunter from Florida on the property for failure to wear hunter orange and hunting over bait... The remaining eight hunters were tracked to their stands and subsequently arrested for multiple hunting violations....

Deer Season Now Closes Feb. 10 Statewide March 27, 2016 Alabama, Alabama Outdoor News
... The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) on Saturday approved extending the Alabama deer season through Feb. 10 in the North Zone ... Alabama’s Game Check system mandatory beginning with the 2016-17 deer season ...

Effort to reintroduce elk to Alabama in 1916 March 13, 2016 Tuscaloosa News
... elk were captured in Yellowstone by experts for $5.00 a head and transported in wagons and trains to Alabama... The first night the herd made a rush on the fence and ten of them broke out. This herd has been loose in our woods ever since. Three of the elk have died  ... I believe they died from eating mountain laurel or poison ivy ...

Statewide Deer Season Until Feb. 10? February 23, 2016 Alabama, Alabama Outdoor News
... The Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) will meet next month to possibly implement significant changes ... could include a deer season that would now extend into February in the North Zone ... about 15 percent of the North Zone has a rut that extends into February...

...  In good habitat and with reasonable harvest limits, baiting does no harm to the deer population on private lands--limited access is of course a big part of the key. If baiting were allowed on public lands ... the usual "tragedy of the commons" would no doubt quickly take effect, reducing the herds below safe levels as thousands of hunters swarmed the woods with truckloads of shelled corn...
... Jackson County Representative Tommy Hanes voted against it. He feels it doesn't teach children anything about the sport of hunting...
... State Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, filed the perennial bill, which has failed to pass during numerous legislative sessions... would allow landowners to bait without restrictions on private land...
     Alabama Committee Approves Hunting Over Bait February 17, 2016 Outdoors 360
... Representative Artis J. “A.J.” McCampbell (D-Livingston) ... he believes in giving the deer a fair chance and has issue if this applies to deer season...

State hunting by the numbers February 14, 2016 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
... survey also shows that, out of the 12,801 participants, 1,665 participants primarily hunted on public property, while 11,664 primarily hunted on private property... Out of the 12,801 folks surveyed, 6,584 hunters said they would support mandatory harvesting reports, while 2,754 opposed. 2,819 said they had no strong feelings either way...

White-tailed deer still reigns supreme February 12, 2016 Alabama, Andalusia Star-News
... Estimates of the Alabama deer herd range from 1.5 million to 2 million animals, but Sykes says those are only rough estimates, stemming from anecdotal information gathered from a small sample of hunter surveys, landowner visits and reports from hunting clubs... “All but three states have some type of data gathering ... I don’t want Alabama to be the last.” ...

Legislature should take SB 62 and toss it in File 13 February 7, 2016 Alabama, Montgomery Advertise
...This bill would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of baiting at any distance... Under the existing law ... any bait or feed located beyond 100 yards from the hunter and not within the line of sight of the hunter is not a lure, attraction ...

The life of a deer-tracking canine January 10, 2016 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser
...  eventually the time will come when you need a tracking dog. Unfortunately not all shot placements are perfect and mortally wounded deer do escape from being recovered by the hunter ... This year, Lucy has recovered 42 deer that were still alive ...

Alabama Data:  An estimated 2016 population of 1.5 to 1.7 million, trending down in recent years because of pressure from predators, habitat change, and hunting.  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.  
     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 with arrival of the Europeans the herd was decimated by the early 1800's.  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.  
     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.  

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

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