Contact: Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
A perennial issue in the Alabama Statehouse for the last eight years, the highly controversial baiting bill is now law.
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources press release: “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 including online at www.outdooralabama.com.”
The previous law allowed for hunting near supplemental food using an “area definition” which permitted hunters to continue supplemental feeding but only allowed for hunting near it if it was 100 yards away and out of the line of sight.
The new law explicitly applies to white-tailed deer and feral swine only on privately owned or leased land and removes distance and sights restriction if a privilege license is purchased. Additionally, there are no exemptions to the bait privilege license, meaning all hunters – regardless of age or ownership of property – who choose hunt with the aid of bait are required to purchase a bait privilege license.
Chief among the concerns expressed and discussed throughout the legislative process was the potential for diseases, specifically Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), to spread through baiting which can congregate animals and could potentially allow for possible transmission through saliva.
Importantly, with the new law ADCNR now has the authority to suspend the practice of baiting on a statewide, regional, or county basis to prevent the spread of disease. Also of note is that the revenue generated from the new privilege licenses will be eligible for the three-to-one federal match through the American System of Conservation Funding which will support all conservation efforts in Alabama.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?