June 2016 Newsletter
Free Fishing Day is June 11
Saturday, June 11, is Free Fishing Day in Alabama in most public waters. As a part of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 4-12), Free Fishing Day allows both residents and non-residents to fish without a fishing license for the day in both salt and fresh waters.
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the fishing license exemption on Free Fishing Day does not affect some lakes that may still require fees and permits. Fishing in a private pond requires the pond owner’s permission. Anglers can visit www.outdooralabama.com/where-fish-alabama to find a fishing spot nearest them or the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association website for a spot in the Black Belt.
Wilson turns wood into fishing lure art
Dallas County native Lamar Wilson has spent many years refurnishing historic homes and furniture across Alabama’s Black Belt region – from Furman and Oak Hill in Wilcox County to Marion in Perry County. A few years ago, he decided to find a smaller wood craft to occupy his time, so he ordered several fishing-lure pattern books, practiced and perfected his techniques, and then set out to teach himself a new art. While lures are much smaller than the homes and furniture that have occupied much of his time, he says that making lures is the hardest craft he has ever done!
Each lure begins with a basic shape, which he then carves and whittles until it is the shape he desires. Once the shape is complete, he brushes and sprays several layers of paint, protects the paint with several coats of spar urethane, and finishes with appropriate hooks, weights, spinners and feathers.
Some lures are arranged within a rustic wood frame, while others are sold individually. Each box is numbered on the back, and each lure is signed by the artist.
While he admits to being a recreational fisherman, he spends most of his time helping his 4-year-old grandson learn to fish and he is content in knowing that his lures are being used and admired by competitive and recreational fishermen and women all across the state.
Please visit Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center online or in person at 209 Claiborne Street in Camden to view both Wilson’s framed and individual lures, along with the artwork of more than 450 artists, craftsmen, authors and musicians from across Alabama’s Black Belt region.
Black Belt Adventures in the news
The Alabama Black Belt and Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association were the subjects of a nice article in the Montgomery Advertiser recently. Outdoors writer Marty Roney spent a great day in the Black Belt at Shenandoah Plantation near Union Springs during a quail hunt and shared his observations in the newspaper.
Shenandoah owner Tom Lanier told Roney, “I agree that hunting, fishing and the outdoors is key for economic development in the Black Belt. We’ve had hunters come from Texas and Michigan. The work the association is doing has really increased our footprint. Since they have been advertising across the country, business has picked up year after year.”
Read the entire story here and watch the video at the top of the newsletter.
State seeks bids to operate Roland Cooper State Park
The Alabama State Parks Division is accepting bids for the operation, by concession contract, of all or a portion of park operations at Roland Cooper State Park in Camden, according to an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources press release. Interested vendors are encouraged to submit bids by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
The bids will be publicly opened the following day at 2 p.m. Vendors interested in submitting a bid for all or a portion of the park’s operations must contact Toni Hart at email@example.com or call 334-242-3334 to receive a bid packet.
Roland Cooper State Park features camping, cabins, pavilions, fishing and boating. The park is also a stop on the Alabama Bass Trail and a weigh-in station for the state regulated alligator hunts. Additionally, Roland Cooper is home to the nine-hole Deer Haven Golf Club. For more information about the park, visit www.alapark.com/roland-cooper-state-park.
Listen to the music, enjoy the great food
The annual Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest is set for Sunday, July 3, in downtown Demopolis. This regional arts partnership project for Demopolis, Ala., and Meridian, Miss., educates adults and children on the songwriting process and helps boost tourism in the area by having songwriters come to talk about their songs and perform them on stages. Several singer-songwriters will perform in “rounds” in the downtown area, where streets are closed from 6-10 p.m. There is also food vendors and children’s activities. This is a bring-your-own-cooler and tent event. The festival is held on the Public Square in downtown Demopolis, at Walnut and Washington and Main and Washington.
Alabama Wildlife Federation license plate on the way
Alabama Wildlife Federation members and supporters have a new way to show off their passion for wildlife and the outdoors beginning Aug. 1. Head to your local license plate office in your county – no matter when your tag is up for renewal – and purchase a new Alabama Wildlife tag! The new design captures nature at its finest with a massive whitetail buck, flying mallards, strutting wild turkeys, bass bedding in the blue water with an alligator lurking nearby. You also have the opportunity to incorporate six characters on your personalized message.
By purchasing the tag – which adds $50 to your license costs each year, plus a one-time $5 fee – you will be helping the AWF to grow and accomplish more for wildlife in Alabama and increase exposure of the AWF name and logo to raise the federation’s visibility. A portion of the $50 fee is tax deductible.
The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization. The mission of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity. To learn more about the Alabama Wildlife Federation, including membership details, programs and projects, visit www.alabamawildlife.org or by phone at 1-800-822-WILD.
Scotch WMA pulled from state system
According to a release from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Scotch Wildlife Management Area in Clarke County will no longer be a part of the state WMA system effective 90 days from May 25 – Aug. 23, 2016.
This change means hunters will lose access to 19,480 acres of public hunting land. Scotch Land Management, which had provided the acreage as public hunting land since the 1950s, told ADCNR the decision was due to an increase in candidate listings under the federal Endangered Species Act, which could restrict its business and land management practices.
According to a Scotch Land Management press release, the decision was in no way related to the thousands of responsible hunters who utilized the land. “To the many law-abiding citizens who have enjoyed hunting and other recreational and conservation activities on the land for nearly 60 years, and to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we say thank you for being such good stewards of the land,” Scotch spokesperson Gray Skipper said in the press release.
“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or without much deliberation, but recognizing our responsibility for ensuring that this land remains available and productive for future generations, we feel we had no other choice.”
ADCNR Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. thanked the company for supporting conservation efforts and providing decades of hunting opportunities in the state. “The Harrigan, O’Melia and Skipper families who comprise Scotch Land Management continue to be conservation pioneers whose actions benefit Alabama’s wildlife resources and rich hunting heritage,” he said. “Their willingness to provide public hunting land for inclusion in Alabama’s WMA system has provided an opportunity for thousands of hunters to enjoy the state’s great outdoors. We greatly appreciate their conservation efforts in Alabama.”
Local hunters have other options in the area, the ADCNR said. Additionally, several Forever Wild tracts in the area offer access to public hunting land. For a complete list of public hunting options in Alabama, visit www.outdooralabama.com/where-hunt.