Small Town News
Hunting Alabama's WMAs - Useful Tips and Tactics
Within a short drive of most areas in Alabama, hunting enthusiasts can find a wildlife management area (WMA). Alabama's 36 WMAs provide opportunities for hunting deer, turkey, waterfowl and small game at a small cost to Alabama residents. Scattered across the state and offering hunting opportunities in a wide variety of wildlife habitat types, Alabama WMAs are a resource to those looking for a hunting adventure.
For hunters wanting to experience the opportunities provided by Alabama WMAs, here are a few useful tips and tactics to get started.
Know the Rules - After locating a WMA, obtain a map permit for the area. A map permit contains a map of the area and the rules and regulations for hunting and other uses. Map permits for all of Alabama's WMAs are available at www.outdooralaba-ma.com in the Hunting section under the Public Lands tab. Map permits are also available at WMA check stations and many local stores in the communities surrounding the areas. Read the permit carefully, and do not be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand some of the regulations. Dates for hunting, as well as specific rules and regulations for hunting on each management area, are printed on these permits. Contact information is provided on the back of the map permit for those hunters with questions about area regulations or hunting dates.
Learn the Area - Study the map permit carefully and pay close attention to boundary lines, safety zones, location of the check station and camping areas. A legend is provided on the map that provides hunters with vital information regarding the location of these areas. Aerial photos and topographic maps of the area are great ways to begin scouting from the comfort of home. Websites such as Google Maps and Bing Maps offer free access to aerial photos via the Internet. Utilize these maps to find locations of wildlife openings, timber stands and strategic "pinch points" (where wildlife may funnel through a narrow strip of timber) to increase the chances of success.
Scout Early and Often -Maps are a great way to start learning a new area; however, scouting trips during the offseason are the best ways to find places to hunt. Learning the road systems and locations of key features on the area will save time when hunting season rolls around. While scouting, find the location of the check station, camping areas and a local stores for supplies. This also is the time to locate possible stand sites, dove fields, wildlife openings and waterfowl impoundments. Utilize a GPS, compass and map to mark these locations for future use during hunting trips on the WMA.
Use Bikes and Boats -Utilize mountain bikes or boats to access areas off the beaten path. The ability to find areas with little hunting pressure will greatly improve success rates. Many areas within WMAs restrict the use of a motorized vehicle; however, the use of mountain bikes to access these areas is a great way to avoid hunting pressure. Locating boat ramps on rivers or creeks close to the area can also cut down on long walks in to hunting areas. Locate sections of the area bordered by rivers and creeks and use a boat or canoe to find places with little or no hunting pressure.
Talk to Staff - Alabama WMAs are managed by dedicated employees of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. These biologists, biologist aides, as well as full time and part-time laborers, are a great source of information regarding locations of hunting areas, wildlife openings, wildlife habitats and other information about WMAs. Stop by the check station or look for WMA staff while on the areas for more tips, tactics or answers to questions.
Alabama's WMAs offer hunters in Alabama the opportunity to enjoy the natural resources of this state at an affordable price. In addition to the free WMA map, hunters of license age are required to have a state hunting license, and those hunting deer, turkey or waterfowl must also have a WMA license.
By using the tips and tactics above, hunters can increase their chances of being successful on their next Alabama WMA hunting adventure. For more information on hunting Alabama WMAs contact Wildlife Biologist Chris Jaworowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call your local WFF District Office.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.
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