Paul Ballentine 07.12.22
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s (WFF) Law Enforcement Section recently hosted their first night shoot to help Alabama shooters practice use of thermal and night vision devices. This comes at a great time as more hunters and recreational shooters are entering the world of night vision, but finding a range to use these devices at night is difficult.
The shoot was held at the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Shooting Range located in Helena AL, south of Birmingham. Traditionally the range, and all other WMA shooting ranges in AL, close before dusk. This night shoot began at 8:00 p.m. and ended at 2:00 a.m. allowing participants plenty of range time to practice in a safe, controlled setting.
WFF Officers were present to ensure range safety, using thermal and night vision optics to ensure the range was clear before turning off red lights illuminating the range allowing shooters to resume.
Steel targets were used on the range. Heated by range officers with propane torches to increase the thermal profile. Public and WFF staff reactions were positive of the night shoot. WFF staff are already developing plans to host additional night shooting events around the state. They are aware of the demand but due to the nature of the event, the range must be fully staffed.
Alabama Legislature passed a law that allows Alabama residents to purchase a $15 ($51 for non-residents) license to hunt feral hogs and coyotes at night with night vision, thermal optics, or weapon mounted lights. With the license night hunting is available on private land and hunting leases that allow night hunting. This will give landowners increased ability to control predator populations and help decrease the spread of destructive feral hogs. If you want to attend a WFF night shooting event or just enjoy the use of WMA shooting ranges, all you need is an AL hunting/fishing license or purchase a Wildlife Heritage license for $11.70.
The 2022 Alabama night hunting season began on February 11 and runs through November 1. For more information and updates on night shooting events, please visit ADCNR’s Wildlife website.