MONTGOMERY – The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would give hunters the ability to buy a license to hunt feral hogs and coyotes at night.
Under the proposed legislation, HB 458, citizens would be allowed to purchase a license to hunt swine and coyotes on privately owned or leased lands.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) would establish a nighttime feral swine and coyote hunting season, and would charge a small fee for the purchase of the license to hunt during that season.
Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) sponsored the bill and told Yellowhammer News over the phone he believes his legislation will allow greater freedom to hunt the two animals, which is currently tied up in regulation.
“A lot of hog hunting, coyote hunting, is getting more and more popular,” Crawford said, explaining the practice could bring revenue to the state from those visiting to enjoy the hunts that would be permitted under his legislation.
Both feral hogs and coyotes have grown in population across the south in recent years, and while current law allows landowners to shoot them as pests, expanding the permissibility of hunting the animals is viewed as helpful for population control.
Large groups of feral hogs, sometimes as many as 30-50, have been mentioned as pests so aggressive that they intrude on the lives of some individuals in rural areas.
HB 458 passed the House unanimously, on a vote of 98-0.
“This is something that’s been discussed for several years, and every year that we discuss it the numbers seem to growing of those nuisances,” Speaker Mac McCutcheon said Thursday afternoon, adding that coyotes are the bigger issue in his North Alabama district.
“The feral hog situation… I’m talking to legislators that are saying it is a real problem,” he noted.
The legislation now heads to the Alabama Senate for consideration in the coming weeks.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.