Press Releases

Best Hunting Dog Photo Contest

Hunting for the Best Sporting Dogs

January 20, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | mike@dcwins.com

Share Your Best Sporting Dog Photos to Win New ALBBAA Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – 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 (value $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; and, three varieties of Sure Shot Game Calls (the original double reed duck call – the Yentzen Classic, the Rascal 7-in-1 call for duck, quail and turkey hunting and the Speckle Belly Goose Call) as well as the LANYARD (value of $125). Total prize package is worth $270.

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Hunters and Anglers Boost Economy

Hunters, Anglers Give Black Belt Region a $1.1 Billion Boost to Economy

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Hunters and anglers visiting the 23 counties in the Alabama Black Belt had an economic impact of $1.1 billion on the region in 2018, according to a study by Southeast Research of Montgomery released at a press conference on Wednesday.

Those outdoorsmen and women supported 24,716 jobs in the region that paid $364 million in salaries and wages. State and local taxes paid by those who spent their dollars in the Black Belt while hunting and fishing amounted to $62 million with $28 million going to the
Alabama Education Trust Fund, the report said.

Hunting is Big Business in the Alabama Black Belt“This study shows that outdoor tourism is an incredible economic driver for the Black Belt,” said Thomas A. Harris, founder and president of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, a not-for-profit organization that works to market the region to outdoors enthusiasts across the nation. “The 24,000-plus jobs created are very important to the citizens in the region, many of whom might not have other employment opportunities. The local communities and our state are collecting $62 million in taxes that benefit everyone in the region. We’re proud that this year we’re celebrating 10 years of helping attract hunters and anglers and others who want to vacation in the Black Belt to enjoy the outdoors.”

According to the study, 1.2 million hunters in Alabama spent an estimated $3.2 billion in 2018. Statewide, an estimated 73,500 jobs were supported by hunters and anglers and $185 million was generated for state and local taxes with $84 million going to the Education Trust Fund.

Southeast Research used data from a national study from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Sportfishing Association for its economic impact report. The company also polled hunting and fishing licensees who had shared their email addresses with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, assuming those to be
representative of the total data file of hunters and anglers.

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Big Buck Photo Contest 2019-2020

November 6, 2019

Hunters Can Bag More Than a Buck in Black Belt Adventures Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The eighth annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest is now under way with a muzzleloader, scope and gun case awaiting the winner. The contest will be open until the close of deer season on Feb.10, 2020.

“We are excited to sponsor this contest again this year,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We’re always happy to encourage people to share their experiences and great memories formed in the Black Belt and this contest always attracts photos from conservation-minded hunters young and old.”

Big Buck Photo ContestThis year’s prize, a CVA .50 caliber Optima Muzzleloader with KonusPro Scope and gun case, is valued at $535.

Photos must be uploaded to AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bigbuckphotocontest and the deer must be one taken this season in Alabama’s 23-county Black Belt region. The winner will be determined by the number of votes received, also at the ALBBAA contest web page. You can vote once per day, per entry, per email address.

“Our contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region,” Swanner said. “ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices.”

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.

 

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.

Best Fish Contest Photo Winner

Selma Fisherman Wins Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest With Entry Showing Off Big Fish, Happy Grandson

MONTGOMERY, AL Rickie Knight fishes a lot – in tournaments all over the country and for fun near home in Alabama’s Black Belt. One particular fishing/camping trip near his home in Selma paid off with some big smiles and a win in the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest.

Knight and his wife, Carol, were spending some quality time close to home on Chilatchee Creek with family when he hauled in a nice bass with one of his grandsons, Gauge Knight. A photo snapped on the boat and entered in the ALBBAA contest picked up the most votes on the not-for-profit’s website and won a half-day guided fishing trip at Lake Eufaula led by expert Tony Adams and a night at beautiful Lakepoint State Park.

“We love Lake Eufaula, so we’re very excited to win this contest,” Knight said. Pam Swanner, Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, called this year’s Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest a great success. “We are extremely pleased with the response we had to this year’s contest,” she said. “All of our photo contests attract pictures of families involved in the outdoors in the Black Belt, and we take pride in knowing the lessons being both taught and learned in the outdoors will also foster lifelong memories.

“Our contests are meant to educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt and this time we were happy to see almost three dozen entries, coming from 13 of our 23 Black Belt counties.” Knight said he enjoyed time on the water with his family, which includes two sons, their wives and five grandchildren. Grandson Gauge, the son of Chase and Brandi
Knight and brother of Jayden, Paisley and Spur, takes center stage with the nice

Chilatchee Creek bass in the winning photo. The rest of the fishing Knight family includes Jake and Cameron Knight and their son, Foster. “Rickie has fished all over the country in different levels of tournaments and has lots of fishing friends,” said Carol, the winner’s wife. “We asked our families and friends to vote for his photograph, too.” The prize package for this year’s contest is valued at $430.

To view all of this year’s entries, you can click over to the gallery.

Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest

Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest Opens with Guided Fishing Trip Awaiting the Winner

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Cast that line, wet that hook and enter that contest! The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is looking for the Best Black Belt Fish in its fourth annual photo contest spotlighting anglers from across the Black Belt region.

This year’s Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest is now open online at ALBBAA’s website at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bestblackbeltfishcontest and the winner will enjoy a half-day guided fishing trip at Lake Eufaula led by expert fisherman Tony Adams and a night at beautiful Lakepoint State Park. The prize package for this year’s contest, which runs through Sept. 11, is valued at $430.

“Fishing in the Black Belt is a great year-round sport, but we especially enjoy highlighting the many great public and private fishing spots during the warm summer months,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “Pictures of lunker bass and slab crappie are fun to see, but we especially like to hear about the family outings and the great memories that will surely last a lifetime.”

The winning photo is determined by the entry that gets the most votes. You can vote once a day, per photo, per email address. To be eligible, the fish must have been caught this year in a Black Belt county. Contest winners from 2018 and 2017 are ineligible this year. Make sure to include all the information required on the entry page – and share the story of the fishing trip, too.

Big Gobbler Photo Contest Winner

Pickens County Teen Wins Big Gobbler Photo Contest Prize from Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Carlee Jane Criswell, a 14-year-old from Reform, is the winner of the seventh annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo Contest. The contest, open to hunters who took turkeys in Alabama’s 23-county Black Belt region during the 2018-19 season, drew 27 entries. Carlee Jane wins a prize package worth $175 for attracting the most votes on AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org. “For the seventh year in a row, we’ve brought awareness to the great hunting opportunities found in the Black Belt through our popular contests,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “It was nice to see another young person do well as it reminds us spending time in the outdoors together is the perfect way for families to make lifelong memories. We even had one entry of a young man with his grandfather, celebrating 20 years of turkey hunting together.” This year’s contest was sponsored by Josh Cumbee, owner of Jager Calls of Barbour County. Carlee Jane will receive a handcrafted one-of-a-kind Jager Call with striker, a Summit Predator Blind, a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent and a Jager Calls T-shirt. Carlee Jane’s winning photo was taken following a hunt with her father, Jeff, in the Palmetto community north of Reform in Pickens County. The eighth-grader at Gordo High School, whose award-winner was her third-ever gobbler, also enjoys deer hunting in the Black Belt. Carlee Jane recalled her excitement from the hunt. “I was shaking so bad,” she said. “He looked like he was floating across the field!” The Big Gobbler Photo Contest drew entries from 13 of the 23 Black Belt counties, including five from Montgomery County, four from Barbour and Bullock and three from Pickens.

Big Gobbler Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama hunters are heading into the woods this weekend to begin the spring turkey season with hopes of bagging a big gobbler. The hunters will be using all their skills in trying to attract the wily birds, particularly in the state’s 23-county Black Belt region – home to some great turkey habitat.

For the seventh straight year, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association will conduct its Big Gobbler Photo Contest to showcase these hunters and the big birds they bag. This year’s contest conducted at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest will feature prizes valued at $175 for the winner. The contest runs the length of Alabama’s spring season, from March 16 through April 30.

“We know that some of the best turkey hunters in the state – and across the Southeast – come to the Black Belt to test their abilities and we’re always glad to see the big birds they harvest,” said Pam Swanner, executive director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “The great turkey habitats from Aliceville to Eufaula produce some really fine birds and we’re happy to help hunters find great places to hunt in the Black Belt.”

This year’s Big Gobbler Photo Contest is sponsored by Josh Cumbee, owner of Jager Calls in Barbour County. The winner will receive a handcrafted one-of-a-kind Jager Call with striker, a Summit Predator Blind, a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent and a Jager Calls T-shirt.

Hunters may submit only one entry, but visitors to AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest may vote once per day per entry. Entrants need to fully complete the form at the website, making sure to identify the person (or persons) in the photo. Please share the general area where the gobbler was taken, too.

Only photos of turkeys taken in the Black Belt during the 2018-19 season (including those taken in Clarke and Monroe counties during the fall season) are eligible. Big Gobbler Contest winners from 2017-18 and 2016-17 are not eligible this year.

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.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Our Big Gobbler Photo Contest was created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

2019 Big Buck Photo Contest Winner

February 19, 2019

Notasulga 9-year-old wins Alabama Black Belt Adventures Big Buck Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The seventh annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest drew more than 8,800 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.” The Hornsbys shared Brolen’s 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. Brolen, who hunts with his father about twice a month during deer season, was joined on his successful deer hunt by his father; his brother, Jake; his stepmother, Tiffany Hornsby; his stepsister, Jackie Dorn; and family friend Chris Arthur.

The contest winner is the son of Brandon and Tiffany Hornsby and Ryan and Heather Fulford. Brolen will receive a Wildgame WiFi Action Camera from Wildgame Innovations, valued at $169.
This year’s contest drew 82 entries from 22 of the 23 Black Belt counties in Alabama. To be eligible for the contest, the deer must have been taken in the Black Belt during the 2018-2019 season and uploaded to the website. To see all the entries, visit AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/BigBuckContest. The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Our Big Buck Photo Contest was created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

Alabama WFF Closely Monitoring Mississippi CWD Cases

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

While Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) officials continue to do all they can to keep chronic wasting disease (CWD) out of Alabama, unfortunately the latest news from our neighbors in Mississippi is not good.

Another deer in the lower Mississippi Delta in Issaquena County, a 2½-year-old doe, tested positive for CWD last week. The initial CWD case in Mississippi last January was also in Issaquena County, confirmed in a 4½-year-old buck.

These are in addition to the Mississippi deer in a different county that tested positive for CWD about two weeks ago. A 1½-year-old buck tested positive in Pontotoc County in north central Mississippi, about 200 miles from the initial case.

WFF Director Chuck Sykes is watching and analyzing all of these developments very closely.

“These last two cases are concerning,” Sykes said. “Typically, you think of CWD as being found in older age-class males.”

Also gaining Sykes’ full and immediate attention, the Pontotoc County CWD-positive deer was within 50 miles of Alabama’s border.

“With the Pontotoc deer being within the 50-mile radius of Alabama, we’re doing exactly what we said we would do in our response plan,” Sykes said.

The section of the Alabama CWD Response Plan (www.outdooralabama.com/deer-hunting-alabama/chronic-wasting-disease-what-you-should-know) that deals with out-of-state cases uses concentric circles around the positive test site in increments of 25 miles, 50 miles and more than 50 miles. With the case confirmed in Pontotoc County, portions of three counties in Alabama fall within the 50-mile-radius protocol – Franklin, Marion and Lamar counties.

“We have met with DOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) engineers to help us in locating road-killed deer that will be tested,” Sykes said. “Our technical assistance staff will continue their efforts in working with hunting clubs, taxidermists and meat processors in those counties to collect samples.

“I don’t want people to panic, but they need to understand that we’re doing everything we can to keep it out of Alabama. The main thing I want to get across is that we are not targeting any one particular group. This is not a deer breeder versus a non-breeder. This is not a high fence versus a no fence. This isn’t a dog hunter versus a stalk hunter issue. Honestly, this isn’t even just a hunting issue. This is an Alabama issue concerning the protection of a public-trust natural resource. We really need people to focus on facts about CWD, not what they hear about or read on Facebook.”

A limit of one 25-round box of shells in possession is in effect on all Jackson County WMAs while waterfowl hunting. No gasoline-powered motors are allowed in Mud Creek (Wannville) dewatering unit and Raccoon Creek dewatering unit (North of Hwy 117).

“Most of the people we talked to are happy with these restrictions that allow the birds to rest for a few days,” Maddox said. “The 25-shell rule cuts down on the extra shooting, the sky busting. People perceive that as a good thing.”

For the Mobile-Tensaw Delta/W.L. Holland Waterfowl Management Zone in south Alabama, one new restriction is in place for the current season. The use of gasoline motor prohibition zone that was in effect for Big Bateau Bay last year has been expanded to include Bay Grass. A no-hunting refuge zone remains in effect in the area west of the Apalachee River, occupying the area between the Causeway (Battleship Parkway) and I-10 to its intersection.

Hunting in the Waterfowl Management Zone is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Hunting is allowed from a half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays during the season.

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Alabama Duck Hunters Hope for Repeat of Last Season

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

By DAVID RAINER

TDuck Hunting in Alabamahe snowstorm that skirted just north of the state recently should be good news for Alabama’s duck hunters.

The waterfowl seasons in Alabama are always weather-dependent. If it’s cold and snowy north of us, the birds will migrate in significant numbers into Alabama. Without the cold or precipitation to cover their food sources, the birds won’t make it this far south.

Seth Maddox, Migratory Gamebird Program Coordinator with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, said duck numbers should be increasing soon even though the numbers were down when the annual aerial survey took place the week before the season opened.

“We were down a little bit on our preseason counts,” Maddox said. “We had a few cold fronts and a lot of rain. That spread the birds out a lot. I think it pushed some of the early migrators further south.

“That left us with a decent amount of birds, but not a good number for opening weekend. On opening weekend, people killed birds but it wasn’t a great opener. When the season opened back up, it got better. Most of the birds are just a little north of us. I hope with another cold front or two, it will push birds into Alabama. We got a small push from that snowstorm, but I hope we get a larger push soon.

Maddox said the long-term weather forecast bodes well for waterfowl hunters in Alabama.

“It’s shaping up to be similar to last year,” he said. “They’re predicting several disturbances up in the Arctic region with some polar vortexes, which will give us some cold weather. Last year, we had some sub-freezing temperatures, below average temperatures, for a week or so throughout the season. I think that’s going to end up giving us a season similar to last season.”

That would be great news for waterfowlers, considering the harvest for the 2017-2018 season was up 85 percent over the similar period a year earlier.

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<p>Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox. Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox.

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