Turkey Hunting in Alabama

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  • B
  • 300,000-400,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Eastern

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 609,156

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $28.50

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $143.65 - $329.70

    $143.65 (3-day); $203.60 (10-Day); $329.70 (annual)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

One memorable visit to an Alabama turkey camp for me involved tough wild turkeys, good food, great people, and a lodge with famous football coaches framed on the wall, including the late, great Bear Bryant.

He'd visited there many years ago. But hey, this post is about the current state of 'Bama turkey hunting. 

Alabama once lead the nation in turkey populations, with 500,000 birds traditionally estimated to roam the Yellowhammer State. In recent years, though, 'Bama's numbers have been adjusted by some to a conservative 400,000. This year? Numbers have declined to "300,000-400,000" according to NWTF data.

[Newsmaker: Turkeys for Tomorrow Group Aims to Help Declining Southeast Populations]

That's still a lot of turkeys when compared to other states. Still some regulation changes have been forthcoming for the 2022 spring season. On this, more shortly.

While spring hunters have historically taken up to 60,000 or more birds some years, this dropped to an average of 40,000 for a time. In 2020, hunters took just 34,882 turkeys. So, a concerning trend.

On the upside, about 76% of the state (22.7 million acres in all) is timbered, providing endless habitat for the wild turkey. Public-land opportunities are decent in Alabama, with more than 760,000 acres spread across 37 Wildlife Management Areas; extensive National Forests in the Bankhead, Conecah, Talladega and Tuskegee; and timber-company lands.

If there's drawback to turkey hunting in Alabama, it's that the birds are as hard-hunted and cagey as you will find anywhere. You probably won't just step out and shoot a gobbler here. These are Eastern turkeys at their wariest and most stubborn, and the hunting is never easy. That's okay for many hardcore traditionalists.

And nonresident hunting licenses might be too expensive for some, though the 3-day option is fairly affordable.

On a personal note, my memories of turkey hunting this state include shut-mouthed gobblers, birds that spit-and-drum to your calls when they're right on top of your position. Kill a turkey in 'Bama and you've done something.

Alabama is home to many fine hunting lodges as well, and that's a big plus if you're willing to pay.

Advisory Board Approves Changes to 2022 Turkey Season

David Rainer, of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, reports the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board has officially recommended a starting date of March 25 for the 2022 spring turkey season, with a four-bird season bag limit.

This came after a 6-2 vote with two abstentions.

They also recommended prohibiting hunters from using decoys for the first 10 days of the 45-day season for most of the state.

Read more here.

– Steve Hickoff 

Turkey Hunting in Alabama (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

More Realtree Turkey Hunting.