New law allows Alabama hunters to use bait to hunt white-tailed deer, feral pigs

In one week, the state has sold roughly 300 licenses to hunters.

Posted: May 13, 2019 9:37 PM
Updated: May 13, 2019 10:44 PM

In just a week of being available for sale, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has sold roughly 300 new hunting licenses that allow hunters to hunt feral pigs and white-tailed deer by using bait. 

Feral pigs have historically been a nuisance to land owners in parts of Alabama.

Governor Ivey signed the bill last week to make the change. The new law has a strict rule that hunters can't use bait on federally-owned land, but they can use it on private, or leased land, as long as they buy the new license.

Robert Pitman is a veterinarian in Athens. He has personal experience with feral pigs tearing up his land in Limestone County.

"They root up with the nose. They use those to rip you open," said Pitman, while pointing out small tusks on a picture of a pig.

Pitman said feral pigs can be very destructive, and he has already been using traps with corn in the middle to catch pigs.

"All your food plots, destroy natural habitats for other animals," he said. "Killed over 200 in 2 months."

The difference with this new law is that you're required to get a license to use the bait. Pitman said the more important change with this new law is hunters being allowed to hunt white-tailed deer with bait.

"I don't like it at all, because that takes hunting out of hunting. That's just like me going bass fishin', but yet I'm going to carry a net," said a hunter, DJ Holder.

Hunters are not required to get this new license and can still choose to hunt deer without bait. Beyond changing the traditional means of hunting, baiting deer also presents a potential health problem for the deer population.

"When you start baiting deer, specifically, you give them the opportunity to congregate in a single place and source of food to spread disease," said Pitman.

The new law allows the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to suspend these new baiting privilege licenses to stop the spread of disease whenever they deem it necessary.

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