Many deer hunters in my home state of Alabama would count their season a success by filling the freezer with venison. Folks tend to forget there are also numerous opportunities for a trophy buck. Alabama is a big state with varied terrain, from the mountains in the north, the wooded flat lands in the west, and the well known Black Belt region across the south.
To help you narrow your search, I reviewed data from the past 5 years to come up with the counties most consistently rated for quality deer. In no particular order, here are the 10 best big buck counties in Alabama. Photo via Flickr.
These two adjoining counties lie in the northwestern corner of the state. This region is typically known for good numbers of deer, but the effect of better deer management by locals and clubs has had the effect of increasing the quality of deer.
For a public land option, look into the Sam Murphy WMA. The area is full of mature pine forests as well as some drains with hardwoods.
Jackson County represents some of the best big buck hunting in northeastern Alabama. The region lies in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, creating rugged and hilly terrain that also features lots of great habitat. The James Martin-Skyline WMA has been expanded over recent years, and provides over 60,000 acres of public hunting land along the Tennessee border.
These two counties are situated in the eastern part of the Black Belt region. The Black Belt is a big swath of land sweeping across the midsection of the state. The fertile soil is conducive to farming, food sources, and excellent habitat for mature bucks. Public areas to check out are the Lowndes WMA, a small 14,000 acre tract that borders the Alabama River and is easily accessible by road from Montgomery.
These four neighboring counties in District 4 are always on the list of big deer opportunities. They for the easternmost portion of the Black Belt region, where the land transitions from the fertile Black Belt to the coastal type plains going into Georgia. This huge area is well known for producing some of the nicest deer each season. Clubs and locals in the Black Belt were some of the first adopters of quality deer management practices, and the result has been more and bigger deer.
The Barbour WMA is an excellent place for the seasoned or beginning bow hunter, thanks to excellent deer numbers and chances for a trophy. The habitat is mostly hardwood forests and pine tree plantations, plus plenty of water from the numerous streams feeding into the Chattahoochee river valley. Some people consider this to be one of the premier public hunting lands in all the country.
In District 5 we have Marengo, yet another Black Belt county. Marengo has the benefit of not only the nearby Alabama River, but the Tennessee-Tombigbee river system that feeds water through the area and creates awesome habitat.
Marengo County was so adept at big bucks that for a few years the state ran a program called the “Big Buck Project”. The project goal was to breed and introduce deer with the best possible genes in an effort to grow trophy bucks with 200-inch potential.
If you do your research, and focus on these 10 counties, you can have confidence that you will giving yourself the best possible chance at an Alabama bruiser. Private land is great, but there are also good public land options to choose from.
Finally, while there is opportunity for trophy deer from all corners of the state, you may be interested in a guide service. There are many excellent hunting guides and lodges operating in these areas. You can search for one here on Dream Sporting Trips.