I routinely spend a lot of money to join two or more, hunting clubs each year and I am lucky enough to have access to many other private properties to hunt. But, I know not everyone has the money to join a club, or has access to private property. Times are tough but, there are an abundance of places around Central Alabama that offer deer hunting to the general public.
Alabama’s “Forever Wild” program has several tracts of land in our area that offer some good hunting for deer. You may not bring back a “trophy” but if a good “freezer deer” is more your desire, they can be a winner for that! The Yates Lake West Tract in Elmore County consists of 3,518 acres of a pine-hardwood hills and creek valleys on the western shore of Yates Lake. Habitat components include long leaf pine stands and mature hardwood creek bottoms, as well as the protection of 3 miles of shoreline along the Tallapoosa River. The tract is to be managed for a broad assortment of public recreational opportunities, as a nature preserve, and an environmental education study area. Location:T19N, R21& 22E, in Sections 10,11,12,13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 7,18,19,30 respectively
Alabama also has a number of State Wildlife Management Areas, WMAs, that are a good place to get outdoors and find that buck.Wehle Tract-Bullock County, 1,505 acres. This tract is cooperatively managed by the State Lands Division and the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division as a Nature Preserve, Recreation Area, and Wildlife Management Area. The hunting and fishing programs on 626 acres of the tract are managed by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and have been included within the Barbour County Wildlife Management Area. Hunting regulations for this tract follow the seasons and limits established for the WMA. A WMA LICENSE AND PERMIT ARE REQUIRED TO HUNT THE 626 ACRES AT THIS LOCATION. Contact the office at Barbour County WMA for additional details on regulations, seasons, limits, and trapping regulations (334)529-3222. Location:Township 12N, Range 22E, Sections 28 & 29
Riggins Tract and Big Swamp Creek Addition- Lowndes County, 624 acres. Managed by WFF as part of the Lowndes WMA. Hunting regulations for this tract follow the seasons and limits established for the WMA. A WMA LICENSE AND PERMIT ARE REQUIRED TO HUNT AT THIS LOCATION. Part of the Riggins Tract is restricted to bow hunting only. Contact the office at Lowndes WMA for additional details on regulations, seasons, limits, and trapping (334) 874-4471 Location:T16N, R15E, Sections 19 and 30 Lowndes WMA- Big Swamp Creek Additionin Lowndes County consists of 1,343 acres of upland and bottomland hardwoods, pine plantations and open fields on gently rolling alluvial land within Alabama=s black belt. The tract is being managed, along with other federal and state land acquisitions in the area, as part of the Lowndes Wildlife Management Area. The tract abuts Highway 80 and offers new access to other WMA land in the southern quadrant of the public hunting area. Location: T15N, R13E, portions of Sections 8, 13, 18, & 19 Coosa WMA: Cahaba & Columbiana Tracts – Coosa County, 9,746 acres. These tracts are cooperatively managed by the State Lands Division and the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division as a Nature Preserve, Recreation Area, and Wildlife Management Area. The hunting and fishing programs on the tracts are managed by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division as part of the Coosa WMA. Hunting regulations for this tract follow the seasons and limits established for the WMA. A WMA LICENSE AND PERMIT ARE REQUIRED TO HUNT AT THIS LOCATION. Contact the WFF Prattville Office for additional details on regulations, seasons, limits, and trapping (334) 358-0035. Location:Township 22N, Range 16, & 17E, Multiple Sections Flag Mountain, Mitchell Dam, Mitchell Dam Northwest, and Richville Quads
There are also Federal Lands open to hunting in Central Alabama that could be just what you are looking for. The U. S. Forest Service has thousands of acres open to public hunting outside of the Alabama WMA system. These properties include significant tracts of land on Bankhead National Forest, Conecuh National Forest, Talladega National Forest, and Tuskegee National Forest. The following website contains information for hunting on National Forests in Alabama.http://www.fs.usda.gov/alabama
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers also has some hunting tracts along the Alabama, Tombigbee, and Warrior Rivers that offers some quality hunting places but, most of them are only accessible by boat. Often they are worth the hassle though. I have taken some great swamp bucks on core lands in previous years so that may be a place for you to find one too! Hunting permits for the Alabama River properties are issued at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers office located at 8493 U. S. Hwy 80 West, Hayneville, AL 36040. The phone number for the office is 334-872-9554.
Hope these will provide locations, courtesy of ALDCNR, will give you some ideas for you to go hunting that won’t break your bank! Times are tough, but your hunting trips should not be out of reach. Take a kid, take a friend, get outdoors and enjoy this great state we are fortunate to live in!