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Bird Hunting in Alabama, Season Dates, and Bag Limits

Bird Hunting in Alabama, Season Dates, and Bag Limits

A hunter shows a bobwhite quail shot in Alabama

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 SpeciesDatesDaily/Possession LimitsRestrictions
Bobwhite QuailNov 7 – Feb 28, 20218/8
WoodcockDec 18 – Jan 31, 20213 Per a DayHIP Requirement
SnipeNov 14 – Feb 28, 20218 Per a DayHIP Requirement
Mourning and White-winged DoveSept 5 – Oct 25 and Nov 21 – Nov 29th and Dec 12 – Jan 10, 202115 Per a DayNorth Zone
HIP Requirement
*On 9/5 Afternoon Shooting Only
Mourning and White-winged DoveSept 12 – Nov 1 and Nov 21 – Nov 29 and Dec 12 – Jan 10, 202115 Per a DaySouth Zone
HIP Requirement
*On 9/12 Afternoon Shooting Only
Clapper, Virginia, Sora, and Gallinule RailSept 12 – to Sept 27 and Nov 27 – Jan 19, 202115 Per a DayHIP Requirement
Squirrel Sept 12 – Mar 7, 20218/8
RabbitSept 12 – Mar 7, 20218/8
CrowNo Closed SeasonNo Bag LimitDaylight Hours Only
*All game hunting seasons, limits, and laws are subject to change. For the latest information from the state check out the OUTDOOR Alabama. The last update of this information was on August 5th, 2020.

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.

Bobwhite quail 

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. 

American woodcock

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. 

Alabama Online Hunting Courses:
Hunter-Ed.com – Cost $28.95
Besafehunter.org – Cost $9.99
HUNTERcourse.com – Cost $29.00

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. 

LICENSE*ResidentNon-Resident
All Game$27.75$320.30
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
WMA License $18.40$18.40
* License fees, laws, and availability is subject to change. For the latest information please go to the OUTDOOR Alabama. The last update of this information was on August 5th, 2020.

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.

Quail Forever

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)

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.

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