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Alabama

Hunting

Deer Management Assistance Program

At this time, the Seasons and Bag Limits have not been finalized and are subject to change pending final review.

If you are a landowner or lease land for deer hunting and in need of technical assistance in managing your deer herd, the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) is here to assist with our Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). The DMAP was implemented to assist landowners and hunting clubs with managing deer herds on their property. Wildlife biologists from WFF can provide DMAP Cooperators with assistance in designing deer harvest recommendations and habitat management programs to help achieve their deer management goals.

While the turn of the century represented all-time lows for deer numbers, aggressive stocking efforts conducted statewide by WFF assisted in their quick rebound. By the early 1980’s, deer populations had exploded in many portions of Alabama. Either-sex gun deer seasons during this time were very short in nearly all counties, with most having only 2 or 11 days to harvest antlerless deer during the long gun deer season with some counties having no days of either-sex hunting during the gun season. The need for more options to harvest does was widespread and became the driving force behind the formation of DMAP in Alabama.

Alabama’s DMAP started as a pilot program prior to the 1984-85 hunting season using only 10 Cooperators from around the state. It was made available to the public prior to the 1985-86 hunting season and was an immediate success. DMAP allowed cooperators to harvest antlerless deer throughout the gun deer season. This flexibility made meeting the doe harvest goals prescribed by the wildlife biologists much more likely. Participation quickly grew, with more than 1,500 Cooperators enrolled in the program by 1992. The number continued to climb until 1998 when it peaked at 2,070.

Beginning with the 1998-99 hunting season, the length of either-sex gun deer seasons was substantially liberalized in most counties. This provided landowners and hunting clubs more options including additional days for harvesting does to better manage their herds and less dependence on DMAP for their antlerless harvest. As a result, participation in the DMAP began to decline in those counties. Approximately 150 Cooperators currently participate in DMAP.

To participate in DMAP, cooperators first must submit data from deer harvested on their property, a map of their property, and a DMAP application. Once enrolled in the program, a biologist is assigned to work with each Cooperator. The biologist typically makes an onsite visit with each cooperator to assess the property to be managed and discuss the Cooperator’s long-term deer management goals.

The collection of deer harvest data is a requirement and essential for a successful DMAP cooperator and must continue each season. Data includes sex, body weight, jawbone, antler measurements for bucks, and lactation status of does. Cooperators also may submit hunter observation data taken while in the field. Most importantly, a lower jawbone must be taken from each deer so its age can be estimated by the wildlife biologist. Using these data, as well as the information gathered from meeting with the cooperator and touring the property, the biologist develops site-specific deer management recommendations. These usually include recommendations on the number and age of bucks and antlerless deer to be harvested, but can also include habitat management recommendations, advice for improving hunting success and deer sightings, or one of many other aspects of deer and wildlife management.

Participation in DMAP is free. To learn more about the program and discuss deer management options and schedule a site visit with a WFF wildlife biologist, visit Deer Management Assistance Program | Outdoor Alabama (outdooralabama.com/wildlife-management-programs/deer-management-assistance-program).