Swine Time Night Shoot

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) continues to provide citizens with groundbreaking opportunities to explore the outdoors in new, innovative ways.

The ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s (WFF) Law Enforcement Section recently held a Night Shoot at the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Shooting Range.

Law Enforcement Chief Michael Weathers says, “Number one, we think it’s very likely this is the first time a game and fish agency has ever hosted an event like this, where we open one of our state shooting ranges during what are normally closed hours and staff it,” Weathers said. “We did this so members of the public who own rifles with night vision or thermal sights can shoot or zero their guns in a safe environment.”

The WFF staff brought in numerous WFF officers to oversee the range to ensure safety under the low-light conditions, “We brought in some of our firearms instructors, not to teach, but to run the range and ensure safety on the range,” Weathers said. “With the explosion in nighttime predator control hunting and the ownership of night vision and thermal equipment, we hope to do a lot more of these events to give folks the opportunity to come out in a safe environment to shoot their firearms with their night vision or thermal optics,” Weathers said.

The Alabama Legislature passed a law that allows Alabama residents to purchase a license to hunt feral hogs and coyotes at night with night vision, thermal optics or lights attached to the firearms. The season runs through November 1.

“Last year, we got a dedicated feral hog and coyote nighttime hunting season on private or leased land,” Weathers said. “That’s been a real success. A lot of folks are taking advantage of that. It makes it easier for those landowners to control predators.”

“Because of the popularity in nighttime feral swine and coyote hunting and the increase in people who own night vision and thermal optics, opening the range at night was a good way for us to work with the public. And when people buy night vision or thermal scopes and firearms, those tax dollars go into the Pittman-Robertson Fund that is distributed to the states for a variety of uses, including purchasing shooting ranges and staffing them. This gives everybody an equal chance to better use the resources they’re paying for.”

“We know there’s a demand for this, a need for it,” he said. “We plan to host more of these events and move them around the state. By nature, they must be staffed, and we can’t do it everywhere all the time. But we intend to conduct as many of these events as possible.”

Visit www.outdooralabama.com for information on State Shooting Ranges and the nighttime hunting license for feral hogs and coyotes.

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Fred Hunter

Fred Hunter

WBRC First Alert Meteorologist Fred Hunter was born in Alabama in the historic town of Ft. Payne. He has lived, attended school, raised his family and worked in the South all his life.