Alabama Deer Population:  An estimate of 1.41 million whitetail deer in 2022 based on hunting data, up from the state estimate for 2021 of 1.375 million but down from the state estimate of 1.63 million deer in 2019.  Estimated at 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 1.75 to 2 million deer in the year 2000. 

Alabama Deer News

Where there's smoke … prescribed fires at Alabama State Parks are a good thing April 8, 2024 Alabama News Center

... “Prescribed fire is also used as a tool to control or manage invasive species, to maintain biodiversity and to stimulate the growth of new vegetation. That growth serves as valuable food for deer and creates a nesting habitat for turkey and quail.” [Tasha Simon, chief of the Natural Resources Section for the State Parks Division] ...

Alabama Sees Significant Decrease in Deer Harvest Numbers, Baldwin County Leads March 5, 2024 BNN Breaking

... hunters in Alabama harvested more than 201,000 deer, a stark contrast to the over 300,000 deer taken during the 2022-2023 season... These statistics raise questions about the health and management of deer populations in Alabama and Tennessee..,

Another deer season is in the books. Now let’s crunch those harvest numbers.  February 17, 2024 Alabama,

...  A total of 201,124 deer were harvested during the season that ended on February 10.  Antlered deer:  104,89.   Non-antlered deer:  96,226 .., [Alabama estimates its total harvest from hunter surveys, these are from its game check page] 

Two Additional Cases of CWD Confirmed in Northern Lauderdale County December 15, 2023 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) News

... two additional cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in hunter harvested, white-tailed deer have been confirmed in northern Lauderdale County in northwest Alabama. The two additional deer bring Alabama’s total number of confirmed CWD cases to five.  CWD in Alabama’s deer herd was first detected in Lauderdale County in January 2022..,

Mandatory Deer Sampling Continues in CWD Management Zone December 1, 2023 ADCNR News

... Wildlife biologists with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division collected 127 samples as part of the weekend of mandatory CWD testing. Last year 207 deer were sampled in those two adjacent counties. Three cases of CWD have been confirmed in Lauderdale County, the first two in early 2022 and the third in early 2023. No other cases of CWD have been confirmed in Alabama..,

Impacts of a Severe Hailstorm on a White-Tailed Deer Population in East-Central Alabama - Southeastern Naturalist, 2023

...  a hailstorm produced hailstones up to ∼7 cm in diameter in the area of Camp Hill, AL, and the nearby Auburn Captive Deer Facility (ACF) on 26 March 2023... We detected no cases of mortality attributed to the storm ...

Alabama farmers say deer are destroying crops July 17, 2023  WSFA

... The president of the Calhoun County Farmers Association, Doug Trantham, said hunters are part of the problem since many are only focused on catching prized bucks, leaving the does to eat many crops...

Chronic Wasting Disease case in Florida deer should be concerning for all in Alabama June 27, 2023 Alabama,

... The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced last week a road-killed deer in Holmes County tested positive for CWD. Holmes County shares a border with Alabama’s Geneva County in extreme southeast Alabama... ADCNR officials say it will install self-service, drop-off sampling freezers throughout southeast Alabama...

Road-killed Deer in Florida Panhandle Positive for CWD June 15, 2023  Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

... The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be increasing chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling surveillance efforts in southeast Alabama after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the confirmation of a positive CWD test sample from a road-killed deer in Holmes County, Florida..,

State Parks Recruits Community to Plant Oak Trees April 6, 2023 Alabama, Outdoor Alabama

... White oak acorns are one of the mast crops preferred by deer and drop the nuts a little later in the fall. Swamp chestnuts produce larger acorns and are known to attract deer. Nutall oaks are the last to drop nuts in the fall...

Third deer found with wasting disease in Lauderdale County February 16, 2023, ADCNR News

.... the first since two cases were detected in Lauderdale County in early 2022... samples were collected from more than 3,500 white-tailed deer ...  only one positive ..,

Deer Activity in Most of Alabama Approaching Peak January 13, 2023  Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

... Alabama deer hunters are in the midst of the peak hunting period when deer start moving with increased rutting activity... Alabama had its first cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) last season with two deer in Lauderdale County confirmed with the disease.  To date, no deer harvested during the 2022-2023 season has tested positive for CWD...

Whitetail deer a nuisance for row crop farmers January 10, 2023, Alabama, St. Clair News-Aegis

... Eddie McGriff has had success planting sunn hemp as a buffer or border trap crop for deer ...  In order for sunn hemp to work as a trap crop, it must be planted before the cash crop. This is done so that it is growing and attractive to deer while the cotton crop is being established... this year they plan to use electric fence in conjunction with sunn hemp on the side of the field where deer enter from the woods ...

Teen kills ‘monster’ deer in Alabama. Mystery remains how this rare species got there November 26, 2022 Ledger-Enquirer

...  a red stag deer, not native to North America, was roaming around Randolph County, Alabama ... that deer ate more and more of the apples and pears off Taylor’s trees. He doesn’t hunt, so he asked Coye, a licensed hunter, to come by and solve the problem...

Adult white‐tailed deer survival in hunted populations on public and private lands  2022, Alabama, Wildlife Society Bulletin

...  From 2014 to 2016, we radio collared and monitored survival of 79 adult white‐tailed deer (141 deer‐years; 62 male, 79 female) on 2 public and 2 private properties in Alabama ... Hunter harvest accounted for 77% of observed mortalities (n = 23/30), but harvest and survival rates varied by sex and age. Harvest and survival were similar between public and private property ...

Alabama officials remind hunters of Chronic Wasting Disease sampling weekends November 17, 2022 WKRG

... all deer killed in Lauderdale and Colbert County on Nov. 19-20 must be subm  itted for testing for the disease.  The two counties lie in the state’s CWD Management Zone ...

'Hang on, buddy!' Swimming deer receives words of encouragement from fisherman  November 3, 2022 Alabama, Fox Weather 

... video of the animal in Smith Lake on Wednesday as it swam its way to Goat Island. The animal was not in distress ...

Alabama Firefighters Save Deer Stuck in Sewer: 'You Never Know What the Next Call Will Bring'  October 28, 2022 Yahoo

... The firefighters responded to the call and found a male deer peeking out of a storm drain ... The clip ends with the deer standing up and sprinting off into the woods [below]

Translocating Captive Female White-tailed Deer 2022, Alabama,  Wildlife Research

... Many of these deer get marketed to private landowners with the expectation that introduced deer will enhance genetics in the population, resulting in larger-antlered male deer... We found a 12-month survival rate of 0.54 for translocated deer... Given our results, we believe it is infeasible to expect increased average antler size within this study site by translocating adult female white-tailed deer...

State holds public meeting on Chronic Wasting Disease September 23, 2022 Alabama, CBS 42

... the first positive test of CWD in Alabama was found in December 2021. After issuing some emergency regulations, the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) tested nearly 1,000 deer before the end of the season. Only one other deer tested positive..,

Video below:  Animal lovers ask Alabama to make it easier for them to rehabilitate native wildlife.  May 18, 2022

Alabama aims to stop spread of fatal deer disease after second confirmed case March 23, 2022 Courthouse News Service

... we can try and maintain optimism that maybe something comes around that we’re able to reverse this. The technology doesn’t exist today, but we can slow the spread and we can cross our fingers and hope.” ...

Advisory Board Apprised of Second CWD Case in North Alabama March 11, 2022  Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

... confirmed that a second white-tailed deer in Lauderdale County in northwest Alabama has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) ... A total of 966 CWD samples were tested from deer harvested within the CMZ during the 2021-22 Season. Of the 966 total samples within the CMZ, 847 samples were collected and tested after the initial confirmed positive CWD detection... 

Second case of deadly deer disease found in NW Alabama March 7, 2022 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

... A second case of CWD in a hunter harvested, white-tailed deer has been confirmed in Lauderdale County. The first case of CWD in Alabama’s deer herd was detected in Lauderdale County in January 2022...

HB427 - Alabama 2022 Session March, 2022 Bama Politics

... would establish a commercial deer hunting preserve licensing program for artificially propagated deer on area bound by enclosures which effectively restrict the ingress and egress of deer, and impose a licensing fee ...

WFF's Sykes Urges Hunter to Not Overreact to CWD January 14, 2022 Alabama DCNR

...  Alabama’s first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) was confirmed last week in northwest Alabama, and Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, urges all hunters and concerned citizens not to overreact.. . “We’re not going to kill all the deer..,"

WFF's Sykes Urges Hunter to Not Overreact to CWD January 14, 2022 Alabama DCNR

...  Alabama’s first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) was confirmed last week in northwest Alabama, and Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, urges all hunters and concerned citizens not to overreact.. . “We’re not going to kill all the deer..,"

Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Lauderdale County, Alabama January 7, 2022 Alabama DCNR News

... A sample recently collected from a hunter harvested, white-tailed deer in west-central Lauderdale County has been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This is the first case of CWD detected in Alabama’s deer herd..,

Dry Fall Should Have Minimal Effect On Deer Hunting In Alabama December 10, 2021 Alabama, Patch

... Alabama received abundant rain when it was most important to the state's deer herd ... during the time when they're putting on antlers and when fawns are dropping, nursing and developing ...

Are deer harvested in Alabama safe to eat? November 30, 2021 Birmingham WBRC

... “We believe at this point it’s not a matter of if we get Chronic Wasting Disease detected in Alabama, it’s more a matter of when,” Ditchkoff acknowledged... The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has drop off sites for hunters to leave a sample for testing. Its website walks hunters through this process...

Can we prevent this 100% fatal deer disease from invading Alabama? Here's how you can help. May 27, 2021 Alabama, BhamNow

... After years of seeing CWD migrate east toward Alabama, CWD arrived at our doorstep in 2018. That was when the first infected deer were found in Mississippi. The following year, Tennessee discovered their first deer with CWD.   Recently Tennessee found an infected deer within 23 miles of the northwestern corner of Alabama..,

Year of the big deer in Alabama February 12, 2021 ... Chris Cook, the WFF’s Deer Program Coordinator, said ... the COVID-19 restrictions have played a role in the increased harvest of all deer. Many people have discovered or rediscovered many outdoors activities, including hunting, since they’ve had far more free time as a result of closed workplaces and schools ..,

Alabama hunters bagging big bucks this season Feb 10, 2021 Dothan Eagle ... The Alabama deer herd is estimated at between 1.25 million and 1.5 million animals. As the Game Check numbers and phone survey data are analyzed for harvest on the county level as well as age and sex ratios, Cook said WFF will be able to update its population estimates after deer season ends February 10..,

Alabama Hunters Bagging Big Bucks This Season February 5, 2021 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ... “We had two good years of above average rainfall ...In some areas, we had a lot of flooding, which makes it hard to hunt during deer season. Some deer that would have normally been harvested didn’t get killed. The other benefit of all that rain is food production. So tough hunting conditions for a couple of years and great growing conditions ... Another factor that may be playing into this is the supplemental feeding. When feeding became legal last year, we had a 14-percent increase in harvest..,

Record deer hunting season in Alabama brings reminds for hunters' safety December 31, 2020 WIAT -

... Projections are for 145,000 kills this season. Compare that to just 90,000 last season.   Experts credit the increase to more hunters in the woods thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions that have more people staying at home..,

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer Within 25 Miles of Alabama January 1, 2021, Alabama News Network

... It has still not been discovered in Alabama ... two hunter-harvested white-tailed bucks in northeast Mississippi have what’s being called “suspect positive” test  ...

Improving Coastal Plain Hardwoods for Deer and Turkeys with Canopy Reduction and Fire

MA Turner, WD Gulsby, CA Harper, SS Ditchkoff - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2020

... Prescribed fire and canopy reduction are accepted forest management practices used to increase forage and cover for white‐tailed deer ... We recommend FSI [herbicide to kill trees with low value to deer and turkeys and retained oaks] and low‐intensity prescribed fire in Coastal Plain hardwoods to improve brooding cover for turkeys and understory forage for deer while retaining acorn production...

Public land provides opportunities to hunt rut all season December 4, 2020 Alabama, Atmore Advance

... Early in the 20th century, Alabama’s deer herd was extremely limited because of unregulated harvest... Extensive restocking efforts ... Deer were transported from Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin ...  transplanted deer maintained their native rutting activity ... [as a result] rut in the state from mid-November through early February..,

Deer in woman’s driveway was missing an important body part, Alabama video shows  November 17, 2020 Raleigh News & Observer

...  one of the deer appears to have only two legs. Closer inspection reveals it has three ... State officials shared the video Monday on Facebook, calling the deer a marvel of adaptation...

Alabama WFF Reports No CWD Positives; Testing Continues November 6, 2020 Alabama DCNR News

... “It looks like the cases in Tennessee and Mississippi are moving northwest. We have no new zones, nothing any closer than what we had last year. And nothing has tested positive in Alabama, so we’re on the same protocol as we were on last year.” ...

How Likely Are Deer Collisions In Alabama? October 15, 2020 YAHOO!

... Drivers in Alabama have a 1 in 90 chance of colliding with an animal on the road...

Continue to Monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease October 7, 2020 Alabama, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

... It is important for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts to watch for the signs of CWD. Watch for deer that are emaciated, have difficulty moving or standing or exhibit lowering of the head. Other signs to watch for include tremors, listlessness, lack of wariness and excessive salivation and urination...

What’s wrong with this deer? September 30, 2020 Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Daily Digest Bulletin

... Most of the sick or injured deer that prompt the calls and e-mails have not suffered serious, long-lasting harm, but are only exhibiting the results of a brief illness, injury, or even just normal events that alter their appearance. Deer warts, mange, broken legs, or just weight loss associated with raising fawns can appear to be life threatening when, in reality, the condition is not life threatening to the individual deer or the deer population.... In order to make reporting of these deer simpler for the public, ADWFF established an online system for reporting sick or dead deer on our website.., Report a Sick Deer Online

Alabama court orders that deer stay the same size June 3, 2020 Legal News Line

... 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..,

Deer Warts, Monstrous growths on white-tailed deer are turning stomachs in Alabama January 8, 2020 Miami Herald

... 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...

Effects of Breeding Chronology on White‐Tailed Deer Productivity in Alabama

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...

'Zombie' disease 'inevitable' in Alabama and could kill state's $1.8 billion deer-hunting industry November 21, 2019 Montgomery Advertiser

... 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 ...

What hunters need to know as Alabama deer season begins November 17, 2019 Alabama,

... 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 ..,

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling surveillance efforts in northwest Alabama November 15, 2019 Outdoor Alabama

... 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...

Alabama DCNR cautions hunters on possible CWD in deer November 11, 2019

... 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...

Conservation officials caution about CWD in deer as archery seasons open October 16, 2019 Alabama,

... 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,” ..,

Sorry, Virginia: Alabama bans reindeer imports this Christmas July 19, 2019 Daily Mountain Eagle

...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...

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 ..,

     Alabama lawmakers approve hunting deer with bait April 25, 2019

... 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

... 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,” ..,

Where have all the hunters gone? Decline threatens economy, conservation efforts February 11, 2019 Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser

... 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 ..,

Alabama fishermen encounter reckless buck hunter on Lake Mitchell January 28, 2019 Alabama, WRBL

... 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..,

16 deer tested for Chronic Wasting disease in Hackleburg last weekend January 7, 2019 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

... 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 Analysis:  A significant decline in the 2023 hunt raises questions about the statues of Alabama's deer population.  Based on the the 2.5 percent increase in the deer hunt for 2022, an estimate of 1.41 million whitetails in 2022.  The state estimated of 1.25 to 1.5 million deer in early 2021 (about 1.375 million).  An estimate in the press of 1.25 million deer in 2020 with a 10.6 percent decline in the deer kill.  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. 

Data and sources for the chart below.

The significant increase in the deer kill in 2020, was partially attributed to the increase in hunters as a result of COVID-19.  Two years of good rainfall contributed to a population increase.  The state reduced hunting pressure after the 2016 drought to help populations recover.  A 2022 study found that 77 percent of deer that died were killed by hunters.

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 1.5 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.  A 2009 population estimate of 1,500,000.

An estimates of 2 million and 1.75 million deer in the state around tear 2000, peak population, up from 400,000 in 1970.  A 1990 population estimate of 1,300,000. 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.   Graph below from Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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 1,000 in 1915 and 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 -- distribution in 1941.  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, but runs from mid-November through early February because many deer retained their native rutting activity.  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.  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.


Population Estimates:  15,000 in 1940,  350,000 in 1968.  

Chronic Wasting Disease  Two deer tested positive from the 2021-22 hunting season.  The first positives in Alabama in Lauderdale county, but recently found in Tennessee within 23 miles of the northwestern corner of Alabama.  A third deer from the 2022 hunting season detected in early 2023 out of 3,500 deer sampled.  By the end of 2023, a total of 5 positives.

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.