May 6, 2020
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Jake Hornsby Wins Big Gobbler Photo Contest
Youngster’s First Turkey Special for Family
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – With the close of another turkey season, Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is excited to announce 14-year-old Jake Hornsby of Reeltown as the Big Gobbler Photo Contest Winner for 2020.
Jake’s photo received 460 votes and edged out nearly 30 other contestants to claim the title. Additionally, the bird was Jake’s first turkey which was called in by his father and harvested with his grandfather’s Remington 870 making it a true experience they will never forget.
Jake and his father, Brandon, hunt in Lowndes County and have been hunting together for 10 years. In recounting the story, Brandon noted “The one we ended up taking weighed 12 pounds, had a 4.5 inch beard and 1/2 inch spurs. There weren’t any super tight expensive chokes, high end turkey loads or professional calling involved. Just a 14-year-old boy with an old, worn out, passed down shotgun with a factory full choke, some cheap Remington turkey loads and some amateur calling from his dad. When we went back to gather up all of our gear and head out, Jake looked at me with the biggest smile and said “Daddy, I love deer hunting, but this turkey hunting…ain’t nothing like it!”
Jake Hornsby has been awarded with a National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition) by Melissa Gayman Ball donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. He also received a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly.
“Each year the region’s hunters never fail to showcase some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the country with their successful hunts,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Additionally, we know it’s really the time afield with family and friends that’s embedded in our outdoor heritage and traditions. Seeing young people experience the bounty of the Black Belt is one of the many reminders of why this region remains so special to so many.”
This year’s contest had just shy of 30 entries of successful turkey hunts throughout the Black Belt region. The contest was open throughout turkey season as a way to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region. To view all of the other contest entries visit www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.
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.
April 6, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cash is King of the Best Dogs of the Black Belt Photo Contest
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The first ever Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association “Best Dogs of the Black Belt Photo Contest” was an astounding success by all measures and finished with Steve Hutto’s photo of Cash emerging as the winner. The contest drew nearly 200 entries all totaling more than 10,700 votes this year with Hutto’s photo of Cash garnering nearly 7,300 votes.
“We loved seeing everyone’s hunting companions throughout this contest,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We know that people rightfully love their canine hunting buddies and the overwhelming response we had to this contest only solidified that sentiment. So much of being afield is the dog work and this contest was a fantastic way to recognize and praise these sporting dogs as well as the endless hunting opportunities with the Black Belt region.”
The photo of Cash further highlighted the Black Belt’s cultural significance with bird dogs, and the contest as a whole promoted the numerous dog hunting opportunities within the Black Belt including quail hunting, duck hunting, small game hunting as well as hog and deer hunting.
Big Gobbler Photo Contest Opens Along with Alabama Turkey Season
Turkey hunters in Alabama will be heading into the woods this weekend with the opening of spring turkey season on Saturday, March 21. Hunters pursuing wary gobblers in Alabama’s Black Belt – long known for its hallowed turkey woods – are encouraged to submit photos of successful hunts.
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo Contest, now in its eighth year, will be showcasing the 23-county Black Belt region’s dedicated hunters and legally harvested birds. The contest this year will be conducted online at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest and will feature a prize of an official National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition #300 of 1900) by Melissa Gayman Ball (valued at $225) donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. The winner will also receive a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly. This book is full of entertaining stories that any beginner or seasoned turkey hunter will enjoy.
The contest coincides with the length of Alabama’s spring turkey season which, with recent changes, now runs from Saturday, March 21 to Sunday, May 3 within the Black Belt. Please note that Barbour, Lowndes, and Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Areas will all have a delayed start to the season that will begin on Saturday, March 28.
“It is no secret that Alabama’s Black Belt region is home to some of the finest turkey hunting in the country,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures
Association. “These wily eastern turkeys are indeed the “King of Spring” and present an addicting challenge to hunters of all levels. We encourage folks to visit the habitat-rich Black Belt for fantastic turkey hunting opportunities and stand ready to assist hunters interested in a full- service outfitter as well as the public lands available within the region.”
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association
February 11, 2020
Young Luverne Hunter Wins
8th Annual Big Buck Photo Contest
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The eighth annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest drew more than 9,100 votes this year, with Porter Beasley of Luverne emerging as the winner. The 9-year-old outdoorsman won a CVA .50 caliber Optima Muzzleloader with a KonusPro Scope and gun case, valued at $535, by receiving the most votes in the online contest.
“We are always happy to highlight the memories made while hunting in the Black Belt,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “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 – youngsters 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 is a fourth grader at Luverne School and his 10-point buck was taken on the Friday afternoon of the special youth hunt in November just outside of his hometown. The buck had a rough gross score of 141, according to his dad and hunting partner, Mylan Beasley.
“Porter has taken several deer,” his dad said, “but this one is his best. He has really taken notice of how special his deer was, and it has led him to pass on several quality deer this year. He hunts as much as possible and is in the woods around our house daily. He has beaten a path to the ponds on our place, as well.”
The hunt that produced the winning photo was over a 3-acre food plot. Beasley said several doe and young bucks came to the plot, but Porter wanted to wait to see what would happen later since it was his first hunt of the year. “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 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.”
Hunting for the Best Sporting Dogs
January 20, 2020
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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.
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.
“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.
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.”
This 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.
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 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.
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.