Press Releases

Big Gobbler Photo Contest Winner 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Bean | 251-327-0901 | josh@dcwins.com <mailto:josh@dcwins.com>

10-year-old from Selma wins Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s 2022 Big Gobbler Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (May 12, 2022) – Scott Rouse wanted his 10-year-old son, Owen, to harvest his first turkey. The hunt turned out to be memorable for multiple reasons.

Joined by two hunting buddies, Scott and Owen travelled from their home in Selma to Perry County for the early-season hunt. Several hours of calling and hunting proved fruitless and the hunting party was heading “back to the truck,” Scott said.

On the way, they spotted two gobblers, including one moving toward them, and worked to get Owen into a position for a clean, ethical shot. Owen’s bulky gloves delayed the shot, while Scott’s two hunting buddies stood in plain sight but somehow didn’t spook the gobbler.

“If Owen wasn’t meant to kill a turkey that day, nobody was,” said Lance Braswell, a Camden resident and member of the hunting party assisting Owen. “The turkey just stands there. It was absurd. I’ve hunted all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like that. If you blink wrong, the turkey is gone. This one just stood there.”

The photo of Owen and his first harvested turkey is the winner of the 10th annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest sponsored by the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. The winner was selected through online voting on the ABBAA’s website , with thousands of votes cast and dozens of photos entered.

As the 2022 contest winner, Owen receives a limited edition, Birdseye maple pot call with matching striker paired by renowned champion turkey caller Preston Pittman. Both are numbered and signed by NWTF Hall of Fame inductees Ron Jolly and Preston Pittman. In addition, the prize package includes a signed copy of “Memories of Spring” by Ron Jolly and award-winning wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly and a $300 gift certificate sponsored by Jonathan Goode of Southeastern Land Group.

“I was excited,” said Owen, who attends Meadowview Christian School. “I couldn’t believe it stood there.”

The ABBAA’s annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest ran throughout turkey season as a way to educate the public about the abundant natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
“We are so appreciative of the many hunters who participated in this year’s contest,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “It’s rewarding when you see so many youngsters being mentored by their parents, teaching them the importance of wildlife conservation as a hunter while also carrying on the hunting traditions that make up the fabric of life in Alabama’s Black Belt. We invite everyone to visit the Black Belt to experience the region’s natural beauty, unique culture and southern hospitality.”

Big Gobbler Photo Contest 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Bean | 251-327-0901 | josh@dcwins.com 

 Big Gobbler Photo Contest returns for 10th year 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (March 24, 2022) – Successful turkey hunters in Alabama’s Black Belt are encouraged to enter the 10th annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest. 

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is proud to continue its annual tradition of hosting this contest in conjunction with Alabama’s turkey season to showcase the region while highlighting seasoned and new hunters. The Black Belt is widely regarded as one of America’s best turkey hunting areas. 

“Spring has sprung and that means hunters will be in the woods all over the Black Belt for Alabama’s turkey season,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Our 23-county region is the perfect place to visit and experience the thrill of pursuing the largest game bird in North America while enjoying the natural beauty of the Black Belt’s bottomlands. While hunters are here, there are so many local establishments for delicious food, drinks and fellowship. Turkey season is the perfect time to visit.” 

Alabama’s 2022 turkey season official began with a youth-only hunting weekend on March 19-20. Most areas of the Alabama begin their hunts Saturday, and the season runs through May 8. 

Some hunters have already enjoyed a successful hunt. During last weekend’s youth-only hunting, brothers John David and Walker Scott, of Pintlala, bagged their first turkey during a family hunting trip in the Black Belt. Any youth who experienced similar success are encourage to enter this year’s Big Gobbler Photo Contest. 

This year’s Big Gobbler Photo Contest, conducted online at https://alabamablackbeltadventures.org/biggobblercontest begins Saturday and closes on Sunday, May 8. The winner will be selected exclusively through online voting. 

The contest winner will receive a limited edition, Birdseye maple pot call with matching striker paired by renown champion turkey caller Preston Pittman. Both are numbered and signed by NWTF Hall of Fame inductees Ron Jolly and Preston Pittman. In addition, the prize package includes a signed copy of “Memories of Spring” by Ron Jolly and award-winning wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly and a $300 gift certificate sponsored by Jonathan Goode of Southeastern Land Group. 

Participants are limited to only one entry and must fully complete the online form with the necessary information, including person or persons in the photo and the county where the gobbler was harvested. Visitors to the contest webpage may vote once per day, per entry, per IP address.  

Only photos of turkeys taken in the Black Belt during the 2022 season are eligible. Previous winners of the Big Gobbler Photo Contest from recent years are not eligible. 

Hunters should be aware the maximum bag limit for wild turkey has been reduced from five to four birds this year. Each bird harvest must be immediately recorded within 48 hours to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). In addition, decoys are prohibited during the first 10 days of the season. 

Hunters are also reminded to comply with all game laws, including purchasing a valid hunting license and game-checking their harvested bird. 

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

“Turkey season gives families and young people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories. We invite you to visit the Black Belt during this spring,” Swanner said. 

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. 

Photo information: On the opening day of this season, brothers John David and Walker Scott, of Pintlala, both bagged their first turkey. Pictured from left to right are Wilson Scott, John David Scott, Walker Scott and Chandler Hudson. 

Big Buck Photo Contest Winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Bean | 251-327-0901 | josh@dcwins.com

Tallassee woman wins 10th annual Big Buck Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Chelsea Hunter needed some peace, quiet and the fresh air, a combination she knew she’d find in the solitude of a deer stand. Little did she know she’d find something else.

Hunter’s spur-of-the moment hunting trip on family land in Macon County ended with the 24-year-old Tallasee resident harvesting a 242-pound, 13-point buck that’s “by far” the biggest deer she’s ever bagged and one she’d been tracking for about a year. “I was so surprised when I finally caught up to him,” she said.

The photo of Hunter smiling after harvesting the trophy-sized deer won the 10th annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest, which drew more than 100 entries and garnered thousands of online votes. Hunter harvested the big buck in Macon County on Jan. 4.

As the winner of this year’s Big Buck Photo Contest, Hunter wins a $500 gift card donated by Jonathan Goode and Southeastern Land Group.

“We are so appreciative that so many deer hunters chose to enter our contest this year,” Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Director Pam Swanner said. “The Black Belt Region definitely lived up to its reputation for producing trophy-sized deer again this year, and we received entries from just about every county in the region.

“What’s truly gratifying is knowing that so many of these photos were taken after family hunting outings or young hunters harvesting their first deer. Those memories truly live forever.”

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Free Program Allows Deer Hunters to Help Fight Hunger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Bean | 251-327-0901 | josh@dcwins.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Dec. 16, 2021) – The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is urging hunters to donate to Hunters Helping the Hungry during the current deer season. 

 A program coordinated by the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, the Hunters Helping the Hungry program began in 1999 and has donated about half a million pounds of venison to food banks across the state since the program’s inception. 

 “We want to encourage sportsmen and women to utilize this free program to support the areas in which they go afield,” said Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Director Pam Swanner. “Providing healthy, organic and ground venison to families in need in Alabama, and especially in the Black Belt, is a powerful way to give back to our communities.” 

 Donated deer meat is processed into ground venison, packaged and frozen, ready to be distributed to the food banks. There is no charge to the hunter for processing the deer. 

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Big Buck Photo Contest 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Josh Bean | 251-327-0901 | josh@dcwins.com

Black Belt Big Buck Photo Contest Celebrates 10th Year

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 10th annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) Big Buck Photo Contest officially begins today, Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The contest, which takes place online, will run through Feb. 10, 2022 and is sponsored by Jonathan Goode and Southeastern Land Group.
“Over the past decade, we’ve held this friendly contest to highlight the long seasons, healthy populations and big bucks that the bountiful Black Belt region is known for,” said Pam Swanner, Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We encourage experienced hunters and those new to the sport to scout our woods for an unforgettable adventure and enter the contest.”

The winner of the contest is selected through online voting.

To enter the contest, hunters must upload a photo of a buck harvested from within the 23-county Black Belt region click here. The buck must be harvested during 2021-2022 whitetail deer season. Photo contest winners from the previous two years are not eligible for entry.

The contestant who receives the most online votes before the season closes in February will receive a $500 gift card donated by Jonathan Goode and Southeastern Land Group.
ALBBAA reminds all sportsmen and women to purchase a hunting license online through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources before heading afield. Additionally, successful hunters are also reminded to report their harvested deer through Game Check.

The Black Belt includes the following 23 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.

2021 Best Fish Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 11, 2021

For more information, contact:

Bee Frederick

334-300-3996

bee@dcwins.com <mailto:bee@dcwins.com>

Three-Year-Old Lands Black Belt Best Fish

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Fishing is a family affair for the Knight’s in Valley Grande, Alabama. And the youngest, Spur Knight at age three, recently took home the top prize for the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Best Fish Photo Contest beginners division sponsored by Triple D Ranch.

Fishing at the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake, Chase Knight had his sons Spur and his older brother Gauge, age 7, in tow to try a new spot. They noticed tree limbs hanging into the water on the backside of the lake and figured that it would attract fish.

“I tried to help Spur make the perfect cast to get his hook near the structure without getting caught up, but he would have none of it and insisted he go it alone. By the end, you can imagine the number of hooks and corks that were dangling from the limbs – easily 10 to 15. I honestly thought he was hung up again when he started yelling but, sure enough, he made a great cast and did it all by himself, eventually landing a huge shellcracker.”

Spur received almost 1000 votes during the contest. For his efforts, he won a full day of fishing for two along with one night’s lodging at Triple D Ranch near Emelle in Sumter County. And now both Knight brothers can claim bragging rights as Gauge was a previous winner of an ALBBAA best fish photo contest.

Additionally, this year the Best Fish Photo Contest recognized a winner in both a beginner and experienced angler categories. ALBBAA is pleased congratulate Brandon Sullivan of Tyler, Alabama for his impressive nine-pound, 11-ounce bass that he caught in a Dallas County private lake and for bringing in the top prize for the experienced angler category.

“Having a winner from both a public fishing lake and a private lake speaks to the bountiful fishing opportunities in the Black Belt,” said Pam Swanner, Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “The many water ways and impoundments found in the Black Belt have always had great reputations as abundant fisheries and the privately managed lakes at various outfitters are well maintained for the utmost in customer satisfaction. We’re extremely proud to recognize both an experienced and beginner angler this year and are very grateful to Triple D Ranch’s support and partnership of the contest.”

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.

Black Belt Dog Photo Contest Winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Adventurous Portuguese Water Dog Wins Best

Black Belt Dog Photo Contest

 MONTGOMERY – Adventure abounds in Alabama’s Black Belt, and one special dog in Dallas County is no stranger to the region’s waters and woods. Rudder, a two-year old Portuguese Water Dog, recently brought home the most votes to win the second annual Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest.

“From sporting dogs to everyday sidekicks, we know that the Black Belt provides excellent opportunities for adventures with our four-legged friends,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We purposefully opened up the contest this year to include all dogs that were out and about in the region. Rudder is well known in the Selma area and is regularly seen on the Alabama River or walking down Main Street making him the perfect recipient of the top dog in this year’s expanded contest.”

Rex Jones, of Selma, submitted the photo of Rudder and noted that his pup literally goes everywhere with him.

“Rudder’s happiest place is on the water and he’s most at home on a boat,” noted Jones. “Living on the Alabama River, we are out there often but he also accompanies me around town to any of my sales meetings or general meetings throughout the day. He’s basically an office dog for us here at Cougar Oil.”

The Cougar Oil family was well-represented in the Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest as the father of Cody Jones, who was the runner-up in the contest, also works at Cougar Oil. Cody submitted a photo of his young lab named Sadie. Rex Jones loved the competitive spirit he saw from Cody in the contest and is donating the prize package to the 13-year-old. Jones added, “I was so impressed with Cody and how he wasn’t afraid of the competition that I wanted to donate these winnings to him and his hunting dog, Sadie.”

The prize package is a personalized 100% cotton oil finished Shelter Dog Coat by Filson and a copy of Black Belt Bounty, an award winning deluxe hard-cover coffee table book that celebrates the traditions of hunting and fishing in Alabama’s famed Black Belt region—a retail value of $175.

To see all the dog entries, visit www.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.

2020 Best Fish Photo Contest Winner

August 25, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Special Needs Angler Lands Best Fish Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Lake Eufaula is well-known as the “Bass Capitol of the World”, but it was crappie that helped seven-year-old Blakely Sweatt reel in the winning photo for this year’s Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Best Fish Photo Contest.

Fishing with her grandparents on the sprawling Lake in Barbour County, Blakely hauled in several crappie throughout the day. Danny Waters, Blakely’s grandfather, fishes often on the Lake and submitted the photo of Blakely with her great catch.

Waters described Blakely as an enthusiastic young girl who never meets a stranger and loves to be outdoors, especially with a fishing rod in her hand. Danny and his wife have a fishing camp on Lake Eufaula and spend many weekends in Alabama’s Black Belt with their four grandchildren.

“There is nothing better than being outdoors with family. These grandchildren are the light of our lives, and we love experiencing the bountiful beauty of nature with them whenever we can,” said Waters. “Blakely does not allow her special needs to slow her down, she is active and passionate about life, and we were all thrilled when she won the contest.”

Blakely won a half-day guided fishing trip on Lake Eufaula led by local expert Tony Adams of ‘Gone Fishin’ with Tony’ as well as a package of lures and hooks donated by TTI Blakemore. The total value of the package was $350.

“We love seeing families and youngsters enjoying the vast recreational opportunities available within the Black Belt, especially during these times,” noted Pam Swanner, Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Spending time in the great outdoors is so important, and the Black Belt is the perfect place to encourage a love and appreciation for nature. ALBBAA thanks all of the contestants who entered photos this year and is pleased to honor Blakely for her fish!”

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.

 

Black Belt Birding Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2021
Contact: Sarah Randolph, Outreach & Communications Director
sarah@alaudubon.org, 205-719-3678 ext. 3

Alabama Audubon’s First Annual BLACK BELT BIRDING FESTIVAL is Coming to Greensboro.

Come celebrate the birds of this historic Alabama region on Saturday, August 7th, 2021

GREENSBORO, AL, June 17, 2021—Alabama Audubon has announced plans to host a first-of-its-kind event, a festival celebrating the birds of the Black Belt, on Saturday, August 7th, 2021, in Greensboro, AL. Highlighting the birds, history, and culture of Alabama’s Black Belt region, the first annual Black Belt Birding Festival is the newest public offering from the storied conservation nonprofit’s Black Belt Birding Initiative, a program aimed at bringing the economic benefits of ecotourism to this stretch of rural Alabama.

“This region is a historic touchstone for the entire country,” says Audubon’s Black Belt Coordinator, Meg Ford. “The Civil Rights victories that took place here are widely celebrated, but the area’s unique ecology and fascinating bird populations are still a bit of a secret. This festival marks a big step toward changing that.”

The festival will feature field trips to experience the diverse habitats and birds of Hale and Perry County; indoor programs highlighting Black Belt culture and history; a vendor expo for local businesses, nonprofits, and makers; and much more. Christopher Joe, owner of the nationally recognized ecotourism company Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours, LLC, will offer birding tours throughout the day, and attendees will receive a keynote address from naturalist, poet, and Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, Dr. J. Drew Lanham.

Founded in 1946 as the Birmingham Audubon Society, Alabama Audubon has since grown to become the state’s leading nonprofit promoting conservation and a greater knowledge of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. Alabama Audubon’s Black Belt Birding Initiative works to bring the economic and environmental benefits of bird-based ecotourism to one of the country’s most economically challenged rural areas.

A certified chapter of the National Audubon Society and an independent 501(c)(3) organization, Alabama Audubon’s mission is to promote conservation and a greater knowledge of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. Find out more at alaudubon.org, or follow us on social media @alaudubon (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest Returns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 15, 2021
For more information, contact:
Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | Bee@dcwins.com

Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest Returns

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Associations (ALBBAA) understands the unique bond that exists between a dog and their owner is universal from hunting dogs to house dogs. With this in mind, ALBBAA is searching for photo entries into the second annual Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest.

This year, the contest is open to all dogs who are out on an adventure – this could be hunting/retrieving out in the field or on the water, riding along in the boat or canoe, hiking, or tagging along for a good old fashioned road trip to a stop along the Flavors of the Black Belt trails like our Flavors mascot Duke!

To enter the Best Black Belt Dog Contest, please visit: https://alabamablackbeltadventures.org/bestblackbeltdogs.

The contest will run through July 31st and the winner is determined by the photo that receives the most votes online. The winning prize is a personalized 100% cotton oil finished Shelter Dog Coat by Filson and a copy of Black Belt Bounty, an award winning deluxe hard-cover coffee table book that celebrates the traditions of hunting and fishing in Alabama’s famed Black Belt region—a retail value of $175.

“With the love and loyalty sportsmen share with their four-legged friends, we had an extremely successful inaugural contest last year with nearly 200 entries,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “The Black Belt region is well known as home of the Field Trial Capitol of the World and the Bass Capitol of the World, but it also offers plenty of other dog-friendly activities as well. We wanted to highlight sporting dogs as well as non-sporting dogs that are out in nature or experiencing an adventure with their owners in our beautiful region. We encourage folks to get out there and explore the outdoors!”

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.

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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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