Alabama Changes Depredation Permit Rules

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At the request of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board, Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley has issued an emergency regulation to make it easier for landowners and leaseholders to acquire crop depredation permits for feral swine and coyotes.

The affected landowners and leaseholders will no longer be required to prove crop or property damage before a depredation permit is issued. The new regulation states, "Feral swine and coyotes are considered invasive nuisance species for which the necessity of demonstrating specific damage is not required."

"People who have feral hogs on their property know the damage they can wreak on not only agricultural crops but the habitat of native wildlife, as well," said Commissioner Lawley, who signed the emergency regulation March 13. "And studies have shown that coyotes can have a significant impact on the survival of whitetail fawns and also pose a threat to household pets."

Landowners and leaseholders who wish to obtain a crop depredation permit for feral swine and/or coyotes still must apply for the permit, which is issued at no charge through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

Crop depredation permits for all other protected birds and animals require proof of crop or property damage before the permit will be issued. Except for feral swine, permits shall not be issued to take protected wildlife causing damage to crops planted for wildlife management purposes. All wildlife killed shall be disposed of under the supervision of the local conservation officers.

The emergency regulation, which is in effect for 120 days, also states: "The means, methods and times for which a permit is valid may be stipulated, except that only those arms and ammunition legal for use during the open deer season may be used to kill deer under the authority of a crop or property damage permit."

The Conservation Advisory Board is expected to vote to make the regulation permanent at its May meeting.

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 Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.