Hunting With Suppressors In Alabama: Controversial Among Hunters

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LACEY'S SPRING, Ala. (WHNT) - A major change is on the horizon for hunters in Alabama. The state is one step closer to allowing hunters to use silencers, or suppressors, on their guns.

The changes to the state regulation is intended to protect a hunter's hearing, but some believe this latest move is a step in the wrong direction.

Matthew Eslick of Lacey's Spring has been a hunter for 22 years.

When he heard that the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Board voted unanimously to allow hunting with suppressors, he was not happy.

"I think it's a complete and utter outrage," said Eslick. "As a law-abiding hunter, there is no need."

Suppressors reduce the amount of noise when a gun is fired.

More than 30 states already allow hunting with silencers saying it cuts down on hearing loss and noise pollution, but Eslick says they will do more harm than good.

"When you're hunting big game, you're using calibers that are well faster than the speed of sound.  So, there's no positive side to using a silencer other than no body knows that you are anywhere around," said Eslick.

Along with the safety concerns, he says it will lead to more poaching and hurt the game population.

"True hunters, as they are, are actually conservationists," said Eslick. "When you make it easier for people to go against all the other laws that are set in place to help better the deer herds, to help better turkey populations, you're essentially negating all conservation."

Several people who are in favor of the new rules were contacted, but none were willing to give an interview to help with this story.

According to the National Rifle Association, this change in policy still has to go through an administrative review. If it is passed, the change will likely take effect in late June.



  • Nuclear Mike

    “Silence is golden”…hunting with suppressed firearms is a good deal for all!

    …those who choose to not abide by any law will break the laws(s) regardless…

    Hunting with a rifle or handgun which has a sound suppressor is just fine as a bow & arrow or crossbow make little noise when released.

    No suppressor makes a centerfire rifle or handgun 100% silent anyway.

    I just wish there was a suppressor for shotguns as our dove & duck hunts can leave your ears ringing after a successful day of hunting.

    Game Wardens across the country already use suppressed firearms to kill game for their annual biological studies of the game populations.

    Just like ‘open carry’ the sky will not fall on Alabama!!!

    This will NOT degrade our conservation efforts at all…poaching does and the deer cam is eliminating much of the illegal poaching when used in law enforcement.

  • larry staapler

    well if they dont pass this law the pouchers willstill use the silencer as they dont care if its leagal or not and as far as not knowing anyone is aroundyou dont shoot untill you see what your shooting

  • twistedliss

    At least unsilenced rifles do help other people be aware there are hunters in the area. Obviously people can use them now, but they would be risking being caught and fined, so that’s a bit of a deterrent.

  • Andrew

    Mr. Eslick obviously has no idea as to what he is talking about and has obviously never been around a suppressed centerfire rifle. He is completely missing the point. We aren’t using suppressors to keep the game from hearing the shot. We use them to protect our hearing and to be less of a disturbance to our neighbors. As he pointed out, most large game is taken with supersonic centerfire rifle ammunition. That means that the shot is far from silent. A sonic boom occurs as the bullet breaks the sound barrier. This is a very loud audible crack that can be heard from a distance. The only sound that is suppressed is the explosion leaving the muzzle. This violent concussion can rattle the teeth of the shooter and is extremely damaging to the fragile components of the middle/inner ear. As he pointe out, the bullet will reach the target before the sound does. So suppressors make very little difference to the game. I don’t know a single soul that wants to hear loud rifle shots while enjoying their peaceful day outdoors. The argument of not being able to hear shots being unsafe to other shooters in the are is invalid. By the time you hear the shot, it is too late to get out of the way of the bullet. Whether you hear the shot or not, if you are standing in the bullet’s path, you will be hit. Suppressor owners are some of the most law-abiding citizens around. We must undergo extensive back ground checks and receive purchase approval by our local chief law enforcement officer. We have to pay a ridiculously high tax for every suppressor purchase in addition to inflated prices that result from unnecessary regulation and taxing. I don’t know a single suppressor owner that is willing to risk financial loss and the loss of these privileges for the sake of poaching. We follow every rule by the book no matter how ridiculous they may be, so that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of suppressed shooting. If someone wants to interview a suppressor owner ad wildlife conservationist, please feel free to contact me. You will appear far more credible if you interview informed citizens as oppose to complete morons who have absolutely no education regarding the topic at hand.

  • ScottM

    To purchase a suppressor in the first place requires fingerprinting, an extensive background check, and currently a 6-10 month wait for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to process the request.

    Not to mention price. A good unit for a rifle is about $600, plus a $200 tax to the government to own one.

    Bubba ain’t gonna get one at Academy, slap it on his gun and hit the woods to kill him some deers.

    Honestly, I wish the media would at least attempt to do a little research instead of running with a sensational story about guns.

  • John Doe

    That guy REEKS of being a liberal. If the guy doesn’t like suppressors thats fine he doesn’t have to buy one.

  • Red

    Noise pollution??? There is no such thing as pollution! When are we going to be able to hunt with fully automatic weapons???? HUH?

    Hey deer… Say hello to my little friend!

      • Saul Alinsky

        Say what , your right ,too many red neck , as our leaders said these people a clinging to there guns and religion this is not good for the country were trying to build.

  • Hollow

    Unless someone is using a subsonic bullet (which isn’t very effective for big game) there will stilll be a sonic boom. A suppressor only silences the muzzle blast. The Hollywood rifle that doesn’t make a sound doesn’t exist.

  • Broc

    Saul this country was built by people who “hung on to ther guns and religion” and the freedom to do as they wish without being watched over and over stepped by their government. This country is getting far from that now and destroying what has been built but I digress.
    Silencers (suppressors) are not Hollywood quiet Ninja assassin killing tools like people make them out to be, yea it still heard and in some rifle shooting supersonic rounds it’s still kind of loud. No one who goes through all of the background checks and paper work and money is going to go out there and poach bc not only is it illegal and stupid but they’d also loose everything the paid for and waited forever for and never get to own them again. The people who own NFA items are extremely intelligent well rounded respected law abiding citizens you can find period

  • Seymore

    Wow what is up with all the name calling? Moron, liberal, redneck? Is it that hard to give a reply without being offensive to people? So Mr. Eslick has his opinion you have yours why call names?

    No silencers are not “Ninja” quiet but if you have poachers on your property at least you can tell where a shot comes from without one and possibly catch them? It would be much harder to figure out where the shot was taken with a suppressor?

    What is the advantage to using one hunting big game? A deer will still hear the shot with a suppressor?

    You would have to shoot hundreds of shots with a high powered rifle to cause hearing loss? How many “average Joes” really shoot there rifle over maybe 10 times a year?

    If I was someone who shot my guns every weekend for sport I could see the need for me to have a suppressor. I would say on average I and most hunters shoot 2-4 deer a year so that is 2-4 times a year we will hear boom! I think my hearing will be just fine?

    • Bill Cowman

      Actually you are wrong about having to shoot a lot to get permanent hearing loss. Also after having to go through the process to even get a suppressor, I doubt anyone would risk serious jail time to poach with one.

  • Bill Cowman

    WHNT should have also interviewed someone who has actually FIRED a suppressed weapon. Mr Eslick and his comments have no basis in reality. After all, it is not like one can go right over to the gun store and get a suppressor. It is an NFA item that requires an extensive background check. I doubt Bubba The Redneck is going to have one. I say that because as a proud redneck, I don’t have one.

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