The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would allow Alabamians to purchase a special permit from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to hunt for coyotes and wild hogs at night.
“This is a conservation bill,” said state Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, who is sponsoring House Bill 458.
Both coyotes and wild hogs are not native to Alabama, and both species tend to go nocturnal with even light hunting pressure. Both predate heavily on native species, especially ground-nesting birds like quail.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that hogs do billions of dollars in economic damages nationally and $800 million in damage in Alabama alone. Hogs will eat farmers’ crops, in some cases rooting freshly planted seeds right out of the ground.
Alabama is a poultry-producing state. Many modern-day consumers prefer pasture-raised chicken, which is difficult to do in the presence of coyotes and wild hogs hunting the chickens and their feed. In suburban areas, hogs will get into homeowners’ trash and root plants in their yards. Coyotes prey on their pets.
“They have to have permission from the property owners,” Crawford explained. “If they own the property they can get a free permit to hunt nuisance animals. Landowners can work with the Department of Conservation to get that nuisance permit.”
Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, thanked Crawford for bringing this legislation.
“Outside of Gardendale, wild hogs are a huge problem,” she said.
The Legislature added a committee amendment to the bill.
“If you are 100 percent disabled, the permit will just be one dollar,” Crawford said.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will set a season for nighttime hunting of hogs and coyotes. Nighttime hunting of deer and turkeys remains illegal.
The penalty for violating this provision of Alabama law is a fine of not less than $2,000 and a sentence to county jail of not more than six months. Additionally, a person so convicted would lose their hunting rights. To hunt for hogs and/or coyotes at night legally you must have a valid Alabama hunting license, the new special permit, written permission from the landowner, and do this within the season set by law for nighttime coyote and hog hunting.
The legislation passed the House 98 to 0. It now goes to the Alabama Senate for their consideration.
HB458 was cosponsored by Reps. Reed Ingram, Joe Faust, Brett Easterbrook and Tommy Hanes.
Thursday was day 14 of the 2021 Legislative Session. Under the Alabama Constitution of 1901, there is a maximum of 30 days in a regular session.