Wildlife food plots in Alabama have suffered because of the recent drought and some hunters are trying to increase their chances of harvesting a deer by disregarding a long-standing law. Hunting game over bait is illegal in Alabama, but the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources continues to receive calls asking if the law has changed. “There is a rumor being passed around that we’re allowing hunting over bait because of the drought, and that is absolutely not true,” said Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director Chuck Sykes.
What Alabama does have is an “area definition” regulation that allows for supplemental feeding, but not baiting of game. The area definition applies to hunting deer and feral swine on private land. It states that there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any bait or feed located beyond 100 yards and not within the line of sight of the hunter, is not a lure or attractant on the area where the hunter is attempting to or taking deer or feral swine. “Not within the line of sight” means hidden from view by natural vegetation or terrain features.
ADCNR regularly uses fixed-wing aircraft to conduct wildlife surveys and aid in law enforcement surveillance efforts. Recently, those flights have documented many illegal bait sites. “In just a two-hour period, we documented more than 50 illegal bait sites in one county,” Sykes said. “So we know that it’s a problem, and our officers will be writing tickets for this violation.
“I know that hunters are frustrated that their food plots greened up late − or not at all − because of the drought, but that doesn’t change our hunting laws,” Sykes said.
To read the full area definition regulation, visit http://www.outdooralabama.com/area-regulation.