Deer-Dog Hunting in the South

Dog-deer hunting rights have seriously eroded in Alabama. Of the 67 counties in the state, 35 have completely or partially banned dog-deer hunting. U.S. National Forest Service land in 13 Alabama counties is also closed to dog-deer hunting. Of the counties that still allow dog-deer hunting, five have established regulations to govern hunting clubs. The clubs can be placed on probation or have their dog-deer hunting permits revoked by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) for violation of state hunting regulations or if the number of public complaints becomes excessive. An ADCNR spokesman said that violations of hunting regulations and the number of public complaints have been noticeably reduced in the five counties that adopted permit requirements for dog-hunting clubs.

Recently, ADCNR approved a statewide permit system for dog-deer hunting. See the article at Click on “download document” at the end of the paragraph to view the permit system. This permit system is shorter and simpler than the Georgia regulations are.

Arkansas has 19 deer management zones. Dog-deer hunting is allowed in 12 of these zones, the others are closed to dog-deer hunting. Ozark National Forest has prohibited deer hunting with dogs. Dog-deer hunting is legal in the Ouachita National Forest except in the Wildlife Management Areas.

In 2005, the Florida Wildlife Commission required registration for deer dogs and the tracts of land where they hunt for private landowners and deer hunting clubs. Registration is not required for hunting deer with dogs on public land, such as the Ocala National Forest. Each deer dog must have the registration number on their collar, and hunters with dogs must have permits. The Florida Wildlife Commission officials said that dog trespassing complaints have fallen significantly following the registration requirement.

All national forest land in Georgia is closed to dog-deer hunting. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources implemented a permit system for deer-dogging on private land in 2003. Their permit system requires the following:

  • Each dog-deer hunter must have a special license in addition to their hunting license.
  • A land-permit must be issued by the Department for private tracts of 1000 contiguous acres or more to be deer- hunted with dogs.
  • Each dog must display on their collar the permit number of the land tract.
  • The permit number must be displayed on each vehicle used in dog-deer hunting.
  • Penalties for dogs getting off the permitted property range from warnings to fines and revocation of the permit. During the first year following implementation, their land permits were revoked.

From 2003 to 2007, warnings and citations decreased significantly. Enforcement workload for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources decreased also as a result of the new law.

For purposes of deer hunting regulation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fish (LDWF) divided the state into eight zones. In five zones, dog-deer hunting is allowed during seasons that do not coincide with still-hunting for deer. In the remaining three zones, dog-deer hunting is not permitted. The LDWF retains the final legal authority to establish or amend all dog-hunting regulations.

On the 640,000-acre Kisatchie National Forest (KNF), the USFS proposed to ban dog-deer hunting during the 2009-2010 hunting season, but the influential Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) voted unanimously to allow eight days of dog-deer hunting in the KNF that season. Eight days of dog-deer hunting were allowed during the 2010-2011 season, as well.

(Louisiana continued)  Dog-deer hunting was banned completely for the 2011-2012 season on Kisatchie National Forest. A federal appeals court upheld the ban:

North Carolina

Deer hunting with dogs is legal only in the eastern half of North Carolina.

The practice is prohibited west of Lenoir, Greene, Moore, Harnett, Wilson, Nash, Caswell and Orange counties.

In addition to state law, many counties have adopted their own rules for deer hunting with dogs, and it is prohibited entirely in Wayne, Johnston, Durham and most of Wake county.   County law varies greatly with regard to releasing hounds from roadways, firing weapons along and across roadways (it’s legal in some counties like Warren), enforcement of trespassing and landowner protection act, etc.  At the county level it seems to boil down to the willingness of County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Department to address these issues.

Some county rules are explained in the state hunting digest, available at however enforcement of rules at the county level can be sporadic.

South Carolina
Eighteen counties in South Carolina are closed to dog-deer hunting. The rest of the state is open for dog-deer hunting. In recent years, land owners, lease holders, and still hunters have become increasingly active in seeking relief from unwanted dogs on their land during deer season. In 2008 a series of stakeholder meetings was held around the state to hear both sides of the story. During the stakeholder meetings, permit systems similar to the one used in Georgia was discussed. No effective legislation has yet been passed to remedy the problem. Some landowners in South Carolina have taken steps toward an outright ban on dog-deer hunting in their state. See the details at:

Dog-deer hunting is not allowed in Tennessee.