Soon Alabamians will be able to buy a license allowing them to hunt feral swine and coyotes at night.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed new legislation this week that will allow the state’s conservation commissioner to establish a season for hunting feral hogs and coyotes at night without the need for a depredation permit.
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries officials said currently anyone who wants to hunt those animals during the night has to get the depredation permit, which is only issued to landowners. Landowners are able to list friends, family or delegates on the permit.
“The new law provides for a license that allows anyone in the state to hunt feral swine and coyotes at night by buying a license to hunt on any private or leased property where they have permission to hunt,” Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Chief of Enforcement Matt Weathers said in a news release. “So, if you lease a hunting club, if the person or corporation you lease that property from allows you to hunt at night, you can purchase the license to hunt those animals at night on your hunting club. And you can do that without the landowner coming to us to get a permit.”
The license will also allow the use of night vision or thermal optics, and lights can be attached to firearms, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The change in licensing will allow as many as 200,000 hunters in the state to hunt the animals, which officials said have had damaging effects on state property, crops and wildlife.
Feral hogs cause an estimated $50 million in private property damage each year in Alabama, officials said, and they compete with native wildlife for food.
Coyotes can have significant impacts on populations of white-tailed deer, they said.
The license will cost $15 for residents and $51 for nonresidents.
An implementation date has not been set, but WFF Director Chuck Sykes said the 2021 season will likely run from July 1-Nov. 1 this year. After this year, he said the season will likely run from Feb. 11-Nov. 1.