God willing (and if the creek doesn’t rise) you’ll be bird hunting in Alabama
You can find plenty of good hunting on any number of Alabama’s hunting preserves, a staple in bobwhite quail hunting. The Alabama Black Belt Adventures, for example, is a whole series of hunting preserves ideal for the avid quail hunter.
But if preserve hunting is not your thing, Alabama has more than 700,000 acres of wildlife management areas, too. If you want to hunt those, you’ll need to possess a permit in addition to a license.
|Game Species||Dates||Daily/Possession Limits||Restrictions|
|Bobwhite Quail||Nov 7 – Feb 28, 2021||8/8||—|
|Woodcock||Dec 18 – Jan 31, 2021||3 Per a Day||HIP Requirement|
|Snipe||Nov 14 – Feb 28, 2021||8 Per a Day||HIP Requirement|
|Mourning and White-winged Dove||Sept 5 – Oct 25 and Nov 21 – Nov 29th and Dec 12 – Jan 10, 2021||15 Per a Day||North Zone|
*On 9/5 Afternoon Shooting Only
|Mourning and White-winged Dove||Sept 12 – Nov 1 and Nov 21 – Nov 29 and Dec 12 – Jan 10, 2021||15 Per a Day||South Zone|
*On 9/12 Afternoon Shooting Only
|Clapper, Virginia, Sora, and Gallinule Rail||Sept 12 – to Sept 27 and Nov 27 – Jan 19, 2021||15 Per a Day||HIP Requirement|
|Squirrel||Sept 12 – Mar 7, 2021||8/8||—|
|Rabbit||Sept 12 – Mar 7, 2021||8/8||—|
|Crow||No Closed Season||No Bag Limit||Daylight Hours Only|
COVID-19 restrictions and updates for Alabama hunting
As of right now no restrictions apply to out-of-state hunters coming to Alabama. Social distancing regulations are still expected to be adhered too. The most notable restriction is all in person hunters educations courses are canceled until further notice. Alabama does offer 3 separate online options for accruing your hunters safety certificate online but it is restricted to residents only. See below for hunter education online options.
Once abundant, the bobwhite quail population has sharply declined in many Southern states over the past few decades. According to Alabama Black Belt Adventures, the 1961 harvest of quail in Georgia was more than 3.5 million birds. In 2009, that number had declined to over 800,000. With the aid of conservation programs and hunting preserves like the Alabama Quail Trail, many bobwhite quail hunted nowadays are raised and released.
The season opens November 7 and closes February 28, 2021 with a daily bag limit of 8.
Dove hunting in Alabama
There are two kinds of dove in Alabama: mourning dove and white-winged dove. The white-winged dove is a newcomer in the state. In order to hunt dove, you will need to comply with the Harvest Information Program.
The season is divided into North and South Zones. The North Zone season is split into three seasons, opening September 5 to October 25, then November 21 to the 28, and lastly December 12 to January 10, 2021.
Baldwin, Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Mobile counties define the South Zone. The season dates are September 12 to November 1, November 21 to 29, and December 12 to January 10, 2021. Further regulations apply on specific days within these dates. There is a daily bag limit of 15.
These migratory game birds are a favorite among many upland hunters. You can find them along streams and in the marshy areas of Alabama and other areas where probing for worms is prevalent. Since the American woodcock is a migratory bird, you will need to comply with HIP requirements. The Southern woodcock season is coveted among many who have found a love for this wandering souls.
The season opens for December 18 and closes February 28 with a daily bag limit of 3.
Other species for bird hunting in Alabama
There are plenty of other great species for bird hunting in Alabama. Snipe season opens November 14 and closes February 28 with a daily bag limit of 8. Youc an find four subspecies of rail, Sora, Clapper, Virginia, and Gallinule which have a season — September 12 to 27, and then again November 27 to January 19, 2020 with a daily bag limit of 15. There is no closed season for starlings, crows, and English sparrows. While there are isolated populations of ruffed grouse in Alabama, there is no open season for them.
Hunting license fees and hunters safety courses
Anyone born after August 1, 1977, will need to complete a hunter education course. You will need an education certificate in order to purchase a license. The state offers three online course from third part vendors and can be taken by anyone 10 years old or older. There is an option for an Adult Mentored Hunt, but you must be 19 years old and be new to hunting.
Residents of Alabama pay $18.40 for a small game license. Nonresidents pay $104.60. 3-day and 10-day licenses are $46.30 and $63.85, respectively. If you’re a nonresident and you want to hunt on any of the wildlife management areas, you will need both a WMA license and permit in addition to a small game license.
|Small Game Only||$18.40||$104.60|
|All Game 65+||Optional||—|
|Small Game Only 65+||Optional||—|
|10-Day Small Game||—||$63.85|
|3-Day Small Game||—||$46.30|
|Non-Resident College All Game||—||$27.75|
|Non-Resident College Small Game||—||$18.40|
If you intend to hunt any migratory species including woodcock, snipe, dove, or rails you must have a HIP Permit which is a free permit. FOr more information in accuring a HIP number in Alabama check out: The Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP)
Dog training restrictions and permitting
You may train your dog for bird hunting in Alabama during the closed hunting season. You may train your bird dog with the aid of a recovery pen to recover the quail used in training. All pen-raised quail used must be banded. You may only use a pistol with blank ammunition, unless your training is restricted to a predesignated area approved by a conservation officer. In that case, you may use a shotgun and live ammunition.
Related conservation and non-profit organizations for bird hunting in Alabama
The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the most up-to-date information on bird hunting in Alabama.
Project Upland is an editorial initiative to capture the cultures and traditions of upland bird hunting. We seek to inspire a future generation of upland bird hunters to understand the essence of hunting traditions and the critical cause for conservation.