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.
Notasulga Third-Grader Wins Big Buck Photo Contest
The seventh annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest drew more than 8,500 votes this year, with Brolen Hornsby of Notasulga emerging as the winner. The 9-year-old third-grader at Reeltown Elementary attracted 2,238 votes in the contest that ran throughout the 2018-19 deer season on the ALBBAA website. His buck was taken on Camp Creek Hunting Club property in Lowndes County.
“Once again, we’re happy that our contest was able to spotlight some of the great hunting opportunities we have in the Black Belt,” said Pam Swanner, executive director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Brolen and the many other young people whose photos were entered in our contest show that there’s a bright future for hunting in the region. It’s a great family activity that builds lifelong memories.”
The 169-pound, 5-point buck was Brolen’s first. He bagged a doe last season, said his father, Brandon Hornsby. “He is beyond excited to win,” Hornsby said. “He told me he couldn’t believe how many people had voted for him.” Brolen’s family shared his entry on their social media channels and heard from people from Wyoming, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Kansas and Colorado who said they had voted for him. Continue reading
The Flush TV Features Black Belt’s Quail Hunting
The Flush, airing on the Outdoor Channel, spotlighted wingshooting at its best in Alabama. You’ll be inspired to flush a covey while quail are still in season as you watch the show that made us proud! (Check it out atop our video links page here.)
Quail season on public lands runs through Feb. 28 while the season on preserves ends on March 31. Visit our website at alabamablackbeltadventures.org/outfitters-lodges and view the “quail” column to see which outfitters provide this experience. Several styles of the gentleman’s adventure are offered; from the traditional mule drawn wagons, horseback, quail buggies, to walking the sagebrush terrain. We hope to see you soon!
If you have an interest in quail conservation join up with the Alabama Black Belt Chapter of Quail Forever by emailing Justin Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Tombigbee River Chapter by emailing Sydney Broadway at email@example.com. Continue reading
Last-Minute Black Belt Gift Ideas
Time is running out for procrastinators with an unfilled Christmas list. Never fear, we have some ideas for you that will make the outdoors person in your life happy on Christmas morning.
Click on this link for lots of Made in the Black Belt gifts, such as Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly, made at the Rural Heritage Center in Thomaston. The jelly comes in 4- and 8-ounce jars and is made from red or green peppers.
You can also make your favorite hunter happy with a lifetime hunting or fishing license – or just purchase their license for them for a year. You can learn all about the many options at this link.
Gift cards from some of the food and beverage establishments in the Black Belt are great stocking stuffers. Visit our BBQ & Brews page for a list of some of the best places to stop while traveling through the Black Belt. Continue reading
Big Buck Photo Contest Underway
The 2018-19 Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest is now underway. From now until Valentine’s Day 2019, you can enter a photo of any deer taken in Alabama’s Black Belt region for a chance to win a cool Wildgame Innovations WiFi Action Camera, valued at $169.
The camera provides a wide 170-degree angle of view and has an auto rotation feature that corrects the image if the camera is mounted on its side or upside down. The camera is waterproof with a depth rating of 30 feet, has a built-in flash and is designed for recording movies while in motion – and will take 5MP still images.
To enter the contest, upload photos of deer taken in one of the 23 Black Belt counties in the state this season at alabamablackbeltadventures.org/bigbuckcontest. The winner will be determined by the number of votes received on the website. You may vote once per day through the deadline, Valentine’s Day 2019.
ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. These contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox. Continue reading
Portland Landing Is Special
The newest Special Opportunity Area in Alabama is Portland Landing in Dallas County, about 5,000 acres – with 4,000 more to be added next year – called by Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director Chuck Sykes, “some of the best land in the state, some of the best dirt, some of the best genetics. It’s just one of those special places.”
The new SOA was recently purchased in a joint effort between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and the Forever Wild program. The acreage is great for wildlife, according to a news release from WFF, because of the great diversity of land. The land includes creek bottoms to river frontage to upland hardwood stands to mixed pine to cedar glades. Continue reading
Calling All Rookie Hunters
If you are new to hunting, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has a great program to teach you all you need to know as you head into the great outdoors in pursuit of that whitetail or feral hog or wild turkey. Alabama’s Adult Mentored Hunting program teaches firearms safety, equipment overview and needs, scouting techniques, on-site hunts, game cleaning and preparation and wild-game cooking techniques.
Registration for the 2018 program must be completed online at outdooralabama.com/mentored-application. All AMH program correspondence is via email, so please be sure to include a valid email address with your application. You will be notified by email if you are selected for a mentored hunt event. Email Justin.Grider@dcnr.alabama.gov with any questions about the application/selection process.
Send Your Best Fish Photos for Our Contest
Our Best Black Best Fish Photo Contest is underway now until Aug. 31! Enter your photo of any fish caught in the Black Belt by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may win $100 worth of fishing gear from the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association.
“The Black Belt has so many great fishing spots, both public and private, and we love seeing the smiling faces of the folks who enter our contest,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “This contest is not about the biggest fish, it’s about recognizing the great times that can be enjoyed in our outdoors. Fishing together as a family creates fond memories that will last a lifetime and we want to share them on our Facebook page.”
Photos will be shared on Facebook.com/AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures and the winner will be selected based on the number of “likes” each photo gets.