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The Tennessee Valley Authority created lakes and helped set aside hunting areas as it created the largest power corporation in the nation. The area has become a mecca for duck hunters. North Alabama is the southern terminus for duck migration, so there are a lot of ducks there. Wildlife management has only increased a naturally good situation for hunting.
Other types of hunting--such as turkey and deer--are also good in north Alabama, but it is duck hunting that has become most popular.
The Tennessee Valley Authority was created in 1933 as part of the New Deal. It is now the largest power company in the United States. The corporation created dams for energy production and flood control. They brought electric power to rural Tennessee and Alabama. There are nearly 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat along about 500 miles of the river, including more than 100 miles in Alabama.
The northern Alabama portion of the Tennessee River offers great duck hunting opportunities. The area between Scottsboro and Stevenson has swamps, river bottom land and vegetation ideal for ducks. The Alabama Wildlife Division, along with TVA officials, work hard to manage the land and improve an already good habitat.
The river and the lake created by TVA around Guntersville is also good for duck hunting. You can hunt from a boat, but you need boating skills and must use caution to hunt on the water.
What makes north Alabama special for duck hunting, in part, is that it is at the southern terminus of the migration patterns for many kinds of ducks.
In Jackson County there are 25,000 acres of state-managed waterfowl habitat, and people come from all over to hunt there in the northeast corner of the state. On the eastern side of the state, Raccoon Creek is called the "crown jewel" by wildlife officials because of the large number of ducks and the great hunting areas. The area is 7,000 acres of river bottom land. There are three smaller refuges in the area where hunting is not allowed, and ducks congregate there as well.
Alabama residents between the ages of 17 and 64 must have a hunting license. Non-residents 16 and over must have a license. There is also a management fee charged to hunt on wildlife management areas operated by the state, but these are not required on TVA land.
A resident basic hunting license is $16, while it is $77 for non-residents. Short-term licenses are available as well.
In 2007 the law was changed to allow people who have not taken a hunter education course to purchase an apprentice license allowing them to hunt with a licensed hunter who is 21 or older. Previously, anyone born after August 1, 1977 had to have passed a hunter education course to purchase a license. Certifications from other states are honored. Another exception are members of the military or law enforcement.
Colbert County, in north Alabama, offers turkey and deer hunting areas, and there are 34,000 acres---much of that TVA land---in public lands.
State officials say this is a good area for hunting small game, and there are also some nice deer taken during the season. Colbert county has a shooting area, and a Coon Dog Cemetery.
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.