Falconry Allowed in Select State Parks for Squirrel and Rabbit Seasons
In an effort to expand recreational opportunities in Alabama’s state parks, the parks system will allow falconry in the following parks this fall: DeSoto, Joe Wheeler, Lake Guntersville, Lakepoint, Chewacla, Bucks Pocket, Lake Lurleen, Monte Sano, Oak Mountain, Paul Grist, Wind Creek, Frank Jackson, Cheaha and Cathedral Caverns. Park entrance fees will apply.
Falconry will be available in the parks listed above only during squirrel and rabbit seasons, which run from September 15, 2016, to March 5, 2017. Participating falconers are required to check in with the individual park’s management to learn about recommended hunting areas and other falconry program guidance.
“Parks is happy to offer this new hunting opportunity as a pilot project for the 2016-17 seasons,” said Forrest Bailey, Natural Resource Section Chief for Alabama State Parks. “After this first season, we will review the feedback from both falconers and the parks. Based on that information we hope to offer more falconry opportunities in the coming years.”
Alabama falconers must have a valid state hunting license and falconry permit. Falconry permits are issued by the state, but also operate under federal guidelines related to migratory birds.
Falconry is one of the world’s oldest forms of hunting. It involves pursuing wild game in its natural habitat with a trained bird of prey. In Alabama, the most commonly used bird is the red-tailed hawk and squirrel is the most commonly pursued game animal. There are currently 58 permitted falconers in the state.
Proper procedure for permitted falconers interested in hunting within the above listed parks, will be either to call or email the park and advise them on the intent to hunt on a specific date and time. If scouting prior to arrival (recommended), the participant should communicate this location to the park staff.
For more information about Alabama State Parks falconry opportunities, call Forrest Bailey 334-242-3901 or Roger Clay with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries at 251-626-5474. Information about obtaining an Alabama falconry permit can be found at www.outdooralabama.com/resident-commercial-hunting-licenses.
Hunting licenses are available for purchase at probate offices, license commissioners, and many bait and tackle stores. Licenses are available online 24 hours a day at www.outdooralabama.com/alabama-license-information.
The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit www.alapark.com.