Last Updated on February 15, 2023 by Brian Grossman
There’s nothing better than watching a young hunter take their first deer, turkey, or other game animal. And fortunately, Alabama is a great state when it comes to youth hunting opportunities and minimal requirements to get started.
This article quickly breaks down what licenses and permits Alabama youth hunters need, as well as some of the excellent youth hunting opportunties the state offers. If by the end of the article, you still have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to get them answered.
Alabama Youth Hunting License Requirements
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) makes it easy to get youth hunters out in the field. Resident and nonresident youth 15 years of age and younger are NOT required to have a hunting license or any permits to hunt. So it doesn’t get much easier than that.
Youth hunters ages 16 to 17 will need the same licenses and permits as an adult hunter. It would be great to See Alabama allow these youth hunters to hunt without licenses and permits, too, but for now, they will need to have them.
If the youth hunter will be hunting deer or hogs over bait on private land, then they are still required to purchase a Baiting Privilege. The Baiting Privilege is required for all hunters hunting over bait, regardless of age.
Alabama Hunter Education Requirements
Anyone born on or after August 1, 1977 must complete an approved hunter education program before being eligible to hunt in Alabama. Hunters must be at least 10 years of age to get certified.
Youth hunters without a Hunter Education Certificate still have the opportunity to hunt, but they must be supervised by a licensed adult who is 21 years of age or older. The supervisor must remain within 30 feet of the youth hunter being supervised and within normal voice control.
Alabama Youth Hunting Opportunities
NOTE: For the purpose of all the youth hunting seasons and special opportunties discussed below, Alabama considers a youth as someone who has NOT reached their 16th birthday.
Youth Deer Season
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) offers a four-day youth deer hunt for each of Alabama’s six deer zones.
During these youth deer hunts, hunters may harvest deer of either sex.
For Zones A, B, C, and CWD
Season Dates: November 11-14, 2022
For Zones D and E
Season Dates: October 28-31, 2022
In addition to the statewide youth deer season, many of Alabama’s wildlife management areas offer youth deer hunts prior to the regular season opening. So, if you’re looking for more opportunities to get a youth deer hunter in the field, be sure to check those out.
Youth Turkey Season
In a similar fashion as deer season, Alabama gives youth turkey hunters a jump on the spring turkey season. The youth turkey season is the Saturday and Sunday prior to opening day of the regular spring turkey season. For 2023, those dates are listed below.
Turkey Zone 1
Youth Season Dates: March 18-19, 2023
Turkey Zone 2
Youth Season Dates: March 25-26, 2023
Turkey Zone 3
Youth Season Dates: March 18-19, 2023
Decoys are allowed during the youth turkey season.
Youth Dove Hunting
The Alabama DCNR also offers numerous youth dove hunting opportunties across the state. Registration is required for these special hunts, and they are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Unlike youth deer and turkey hunts, on these special youth dove hunts, the supervising adult is allowed to hunt as well.
Hunting requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Youth MUST be 15 or younger
- Youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old or their parent.
- The adult must have a valid state hunting license and a Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) privilege and is allowed to hunt.
- All are encouraged to wear eye protection and ear plugs.
For more information about these hunts, or to get registered, visit the Alabama DCNR’s Youth Dove Hunts webpage.
Additional Youth Hunting Opportunities
In addition to deer, turkey, and dove hunting opportunities, Alabama also offers special youth hunting opportunities in the form of youth waterfowl days and youth squirrel hunting opportunities on some of the state’s Special Opportunity Areas. You can learn more about those on the Alabama DCNR’s Youth Hunting web page.
The future of our hunting heritage lies in the hands of our youth. It is our responsibility to introduce them to hunting, get them in the field as much as possible, and to teach them woodsmanship and proper hunting ethics. Make it a goal to find a local youth this fall who wants to try hunting, and be a mentor to them. That may be your own child, grandchild, or nephew, or it may be a neighbor or coworker’s child.
Regardless of who it is, taken them hunting and give them the same opportunity to develop that passion that you were given. When they pull the trigger on their first deer, turkey, or other game animal, and you see that excitement in their eyes, you’ll be glad you made the effort!