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Extended Deer Season and Baiting Bills Introduced
State legislature weighs in on deer hunting regulations
By Nick Carter
Posted Friday February 24 2012, 1:40 PM
As of Feb. 24, there were two bills in the Alabama legislature involving hunting of deer over bait and a bill to extend the deer season.

The bill to extend the season, SB 359, was introduced by Senate Republican Tom Whatley, of Auburn, who introduced similar legislation last year but withdrew it at the behest of DCNR. This year’s bill would tack an additional two weeks onto the end of deer season, extending it into February.

Of the baiting bills, the House bill, HB 322, is complex, requiring a fee and many stipulations to be met before a hunter could hunt over bait. The senate bill simply defines a distance from which a hunter on private land would be allowed to hunt from bait.

The Senate baiting bill, SB 346, was introduced Feb. 21 by Sen. Whatley. This bill sets a minimum distance of 100 yards from which hunters on private land would be allowed to hunt from bait, as long as the feed is outside of the hunter’s line of sight.

Sen. Whatley’s office is holding a public hearing to explain and seek input regarding SB 346 on March 7 at the State Capitol in Montgomery. Specifics on the meeting had not yet been announced.

HB 322 was introduced in the House by Democrat Daniel Boman, of Sulligent, on Feb. 14. It is based on Texas regulations and appears designed to allow the use of bait as a part of a quality deer management program. Under this bill, the use of bait is highly restricted and prohibitive to everyday hunters.

Stipulations under HB 322 include:

• Each feeder would be required to be placed within 200 yards of a planted food plot of at least 1 acre in size. An exception for this is included for hunters without permission to clear land on leased property.

• Feed to be hunted over would have to be dispensed from a spincast, broadcast or container feeder.

• Annual $25 permits would be required for each feeder. Decals would be provided upon permit purchase to place on feeders.

• Contents of feeders would have to contain at least 15 percent protein.

• Antler restrictions of three points on a side for harvest of bucks would apply to properties where hunting over bait is permitted.

• Feeders would have to be 100 yards away and out of line of sight of hunters.

• Feeders would have to be at least 500 feet away from public roadways and 300 feet from adjacent property lines.

• A penalty of $300 to $500 would be established for violations of this act.
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