Aiming for a Perfect Father’s Day Gift?
Black Belt Bounty is on target to be a must have for any avid outdoorsman and those that simply have a passion for nature’s bountiful resources. Stories like Follow Me from Ron Jolly and dozens of others are included in ALBBAA’s beautiful coffee table book Black Belt Bounty.
The book, following an incredible demand of the first printing, is now available again just in time for Father’s Day. We expect it to be as popular as the first and encourage you to pre-order your copy of the second edition on our website at this link.
This deluxe hard-cover 11 x 11 is a treasure trove of endearing stories of the Black Belt’s hunting and fishing heritage penned by award winning outdoor scribes. The pages are heavily laden with images and artwork from nationally recognized wildlife photographers and artists as well a wild game recipe section by celebrity chefs. Most all the contributors are from Alabama and many from the Black Belt region.
Black Belt Bounty promises to become a prized possession for anyone who enjoys the outdoors or simply a good read and it’s a gift that will endure for many generations.
Black Belt Offers Abundant Options for Activities during COVID-19
As we head into the summer and travel restrictions are being lifted, now is the perfect time of year to explore the Black Belt and enjoy all of the recreational opportunities available in the region. From world-class fishing to fun activities on public waters and state parks, there are plenty of options for folks to enjoy responsible recreation during this time.
The fishing in the Black Belt is widely known to anglers and regularly produces excellent – and big! – largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and bream fishing. There are abundant opportunities to find that hotspot for consistent action by checking out the various lodges and outfitters in the Black Belt that provide high-quality fishing along with all-inclusive services and accommodations. Our public lakes and rivers are great resources if you’re looking for that natural lure of the great outdoors in the region. To that end, Lake Eufaula is often referred to as the “Bass Capitol of the World” and was recently named the 21st best bass fishing lake in the country!
State Parks abound in the Black Belt from Lakepoint on beautiful Lake Eufaula over to Roland Cooper in Wilcox County and up to Lake Lurleen north of Tuscaloosa, these spots and the others in the region remain open and, with various exceptions, are still providing essential services and fine fishing for folks to safely enjoy the parks and the water.
For example, Lakepoint is a resort property and remains open for fishing, lodging, to-go service dining, canoe, kayak and boat rentals, RV camping, cottages and cabins, birding, hiking and more while Lake Lurleenremains open for some boat rental, camping, day-use, hiking, picnicking, and fishing. Roland Coopercontinues to provide access to the incredible fishery on Miller’s Ferry as well as overnight RV park, camping and cabin accommodations. And don’t forget about the adventurous escapes and activities provided by Bladon Springs in Choctaw County, Blue Springs in Barbour County, Chewacla in Lee County, Chickasaw in Marengo County, or Paul Grist in Dallas County either. With the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, it is recommended that you call individual state parks if you have any questions about reservations, activities and hours.
We encourage you to get out there on the water, wet a line and safely enjoy Alabama’s Black Belt region.
Luverne 9-Year Old Wins Big Buck Contest
Mylan Beasley said the deer hunt that resulted in his 9-year-old son’s taking of a 10-point buck in Luverne was “a moment I hope every father gets to experience with their kids.” Young Porter Beasley’s buck was the biggest he’d ever taken – and it was the winning entry in our eighth annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest.
Porter’s entry received almost one-third of the 9,140 votes cast! He won a CVA .50 caliber Optima Muzzleloader with a KonusPro Scope and gun case, valued at $535.
“We are always happy to highlight the memories made while hunting in the Black Belt,” said Pam Swanner, director of the ALBBAA. “We love seeing families share these experiences here in the Black Belt.
“Our contest this year had entries from 20 of the 23 Black Belt counties with a wide range of hunters sharing their photos – young people and adults, men, women and children. We enjoy bringing these contests to our followers to promote ethical hunting and fishing in the Black Belt and celebrate all our region has to offer.”
Porter, a fourth grader at Luverne School, took the 10-pointer on the Friday afternoon of the special youth hunt in November. The buck had a rough gross score of 141, according to his dad and hunting partner. Mylan described the hunt this way:
“As the evening progressed, we had several does and really young bucks out feeding. Sometime around 4:30, a pretty nice buck came out and tempted Porter, but he decided to pass since it was his first hunt of the year and there was plenty light left in the day. As the shadows disappeared and the deer really started coming in, I looked over Porter’s right side and noticed a rack moving through the woods. I carefully got his attention and he positioned his rifle into the shooting window.
“When the buck exited the timber and stood in the plot maybe 30 yards away, he was already in Porter’s sights. Before I could tell him to take a deep breath and make a good shot, Porter’s rifle cracked and the buck kicked with both back legs and dug his way back into the timber. Porter had to call his Uncle Burch, Mom and GG and let them know pictures of a huge buck were coming. We got out of the stand and took right to his trail. The buck was found within minutes. … A few pictures were taken before we field dressed him and I posted them on my Facebook page. By the time we made it out of the woods, word had traveled quick and the picture had a lot of attention.”
This year’s Big Buck contest attracted 54 entries.
Hunting for the Best Sporting Dogs
Hunters in the Black Belt are justifiably proud of their dogs, those who work the fields and woods with them. With these great dogs in mind, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is sponsoring another online photo contest – “Best Dogs of the Black Belt” – with the goal of putting the spotlight on the great dog hunting opportunities available in the region.
The contest is open to photos of all hunting dogs. Lap dogs are great too, but this contest is NOT for them. We want photos of dogs in the woods, on point, in action, or posing with their retrieved bird or game. Photos can include the owner or family members as a sidekick to the main star – your furry friend and hunting partner. A general snapshot of your canine in his comfy bed, hanging out on the porch or anything else other than showing off his hunting skills will not qualify.
The winner will be the photo that receives the most votes by our deadline of March 31, 2020. The top vote-getter will receive a Filson Game Mesh Vest (valued at $145) perfect for the Black Belt’s mild winter seasons and designed for upland bird and small game hunting, donated by Quail Forever, one of the nation’s leading conservation organizations, plus three varieties of Sure Shot game calls – the Yentzen Classic (the original double reed duck call), the Rascal 7-in-1 call for duck, quail and turkey hunting and the Speckle Belly Goose Call along with the LANYARD (valued at $125). Total prize package is worth $270. (Photo at left by Logan Hinners.)
Upload your entry to AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bestblackbeltdogs.
ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Its contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
The Perfect Christmas Gift: Black Belt Bounty
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s new deluxe hardcover coffee table book, Black Belt Bounty, was introduced at a November press conference at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center and is the perfect gift for anyone who loves great artwork, spellbinding prose and the Black Belt.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of ALBBAA, Black Belt Bounty is 228 pages of words and images from award-winning photographers, artists and writers – plus, it includes amazing recipes from some renowned Alabama celebrity chefs: Stacy Lyn Harris, Chris and Idie Hastings and David Bancroft.
The book can be purchased for $49.95 at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/blackbeltbountybook or at the following retail locations: 905 Gallery, Selma; Black Belt Treasures, Camden; Caliber, Homewood; Gibson’s Home Center, Union Springs; Goat Hill Museum, Montgomery; Vinson Market, Montgomery; Monroe County Museum, Monroeville; Montgomery Visitors Center; Orrville Farmer’s Market, Orrville; Sweet Creek Farm Market, Pike Road; Superior Pecans, Eufaula; and The Mustard Seed, Demopolis.
Deer Season Soon to be in Full Swing
The bowhunters have had the Alabama Black Belt woods to themselves for about a month, but gun season opens Nov. 23 – the Saturday before Thanksgiving. If you haven’t already reserved a spot at one of the great lodges in the Black Belt, there still may be time. Just visit our website at this link to find a lodge or outfitter that interests you.
Bow Season Is Upon Us
The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that it’s going to be just a little warmer than normal this October, so you bow hunters need to remember to hydrate because starting Oct. 15, it’s time to hit the woods. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources splits the Black Belt into two hunting zones, but both start bow season on Oct. 15.
Check the map, if you’re not sure (www.outdooralabama.com/deer-season), but generally the northern portions of several Black Belt counties are in Zone A. Bow season in Zone A is Oct. 15-Feb. 10. In the southern counties – Zone B – the first 10 days of the season (Oct. 15-Oct. 24) are for antlered bucks only. Either sex deer are in season for bow hunters from Oct. 25 until Feb. 10.
ALBBAA Founder Earns Top Honor
Thomas A. Harris of Montgomery, the founder and chairman of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, has been honored as the Conservationist of the Year in the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s 2019 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.
Mr. Harris worked to create the ALBBAA to spotlight the wonderful outdoor activities available in the Black Belt region of the state, to ensure outdoor tourism was a leading economic driver for the area. In order for his idea to take hold, landowners in the Black Belt had to make conservation a priority and with his leadership – and that of others – they have.
Fine Fishing Spots Abound in Black Belt
Many of us have spent quality time in Alabama’s beautiful Black Belt forests in pursuit of turkeys and deer or quail and then retired to a relaxing cabin or lodge to relive the memories. But we can also think of no better places to spin some fish tales than in the Black Belt.
There are lots of lodges that offer great fishing spots in the Black Belt. Just visit our Outfitters and Lodges page on our website to find one that suits your needs. You can also stay on public waters and haul in plenty of fish – and big ones at that!
For example, Lakepoint State Park on the “Bass Capital of the World” Lake Eufaula is an amazing spot for the serious angler as well as for the casual outdoorsperson who wants to spend some time with the family. Lakepoint offers a full-service restaurant and lounge, a marina, hiking trails, a modern campground (with 192 improved campsites), tennis courts, a swimming complex and playgrounds. You can book a room in the Lakepoint Resort Lodge and Convention Center or make reservations for one of the 29 cabins or 10 lakeside cottages. Handicap-accessible and dog-friendly units are available, too.
Roland Cooper State Park, 285 Deer Run Drive in Camden, offers some of the best fishing in southwest Alabama on the Dannelly Reservoir – probably best known as Millers Ferry. The park provides great boat launching facilities. There are five furnished, two-bedroom cabins at Roland Cooper.
Make Your Turkey Hunt a Success
Now that the spring turkey season is in full swing, it’s a great time to refresh yourself with some great turkey hunting tips. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Ron Eakes wrote a comprehensive article about the steps necessary to bag a big gobbler.
Click on the photo for a video from OutdoorAlabama.com by Ron Jolly on sighting your shotgun, a critical step in preparing for a successful hunt. And, here are a few of the great tips from Ron’s article that should pay off once you’re in the woods.
Because wild turkeys have such keen vision, camouflage is almost a must to avoid being seen. This normally includes a camo suit, cap, facemask and gloves. Don’t forget to wear dark colored socks so that they don’t show when you sit down. Always remember: Controlling movement is most important regardless of how well you are camouflaged.