August 2021 Newsletter

Take a Friend Fishing and Enter the Black Belt Best Fish Photo Contest

Set the hook and snap a pic to enter the Alabama Black Belt Adventure Association’s (ALBBAA) 2021 Best Fish Photo Contest.

New this year, participants in the contest must take a first-timer or beginner angler along for their adventure. Participants are encouraged to help mentor these new anglers and share their experiences of including these young people or adults during their outing.

The contest, which opens Wednesday, July 28 and runs to Thursday, September 30, is eligible for any type of fish caught in the Black Belt during 2021 only. Participants should visit to enter their catch and to vote for their favorite entry. Visitors to the contest webpage may vote once per day, per entry, per IP address.

“Over the last year we’ve seen many first timers hit the woods and water in search of adventure,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “Our fishing photo contest this year is designed to continue that trend by encouraging folks to take along someone new to experience the thrill of reeling in the big catch or simply enjoy the beauty of being in the great outdoors. There are great public access points to fantastic fisheries all across our region from Lake Eufaula to Miller’s Ferry and to our region’s west, the Tombigbee. Many of the lodges across the Black Belt offer trophy bass fishing with full amenities as well.”

The prize package includes 1-day of fishing for two people on one of the five trophy-managed lakes at Triple D Ranch near Emelle, AL in Sumter County. One-night’s lodging is also

included. Please note that Triple D is a bring your own boat destination, and the winner and their guest must fish in the same boat.

ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Photos contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found across Alabama’s Black Belt region.

ALBBAA Thanks Alabama Association of RC & D Councils for Continued Support

ALBBAA would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Alabama Association of RC & D Councils (AARCD) for their continued support of our mission of promoting outdoor recreation, the talented artisans and craftsmen and rich cultural heritage found along the rural back roads of Alabama’s Black Belt region. A grant provided by AARCD this year allowed us to build upon our collection of promotional photos, videos and exhibits. These visuals are a valuable piece of the puzzle in the development of creative messaging for print, digital and social media marketing. With these tools, we are able to competitively reach potential visitors who prefer traveling to more rural and less populated destinations in pursuit of their specialized interest or outdoor adventures.

Here we share with you the new promotional exhibit standing almost 8’ tall and the three combined panels expand 9 feet. We invite you to experience the Black Belt’s lazy pleasures and wild adventures. Hope to see you soon!

Jon Kohler & Associates

Just released! Take an inside look at one of Alabama’s most famed hunting plantations. Celebrating our sporting legacy, field trials, and some of the best deer and quail habitat in the South.

Watch the latest in our Short Film Series “Three Notch Plantation – Celebrating Landowners of the South.” All of us in this niche can be proud of what has been preserved here.

For 30 years, Jon Kohler & Associates has been a staunch advocate for land stewards. Today, our specialty marketing of these great properties and our “Rolodex” of buyers both nationally and internationally has completely changed the way high-quality properties are bought and sold. See how our $1,000,000,000 in sales knowledge earned by now closing $441,000 each and every day in 2021 can benefit you or someone you know. For more information on the Kohler difference, visit

Black Belt Birding Festival Recap

By all accounts, the inaugural Black Belt Birding Festival was a resounding success and stakeholders near and far are already preparing for future birding events in West Alabama. Over 170 ticket holders helped to sell out the festival hosted at the Joe Black Angus Cattle Farm in Newbern, AL as well as the nearby Robinson Farms.

The Festival was organized by Alabama Audubon. “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.”

Guests included birders from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee as well as Christian Cooper from New York City. Cooper, a Black birder and member of the NYC Audubon Board, was in the national spotlight in May 2020 when he was falsely accused by a white woman of threatening her while he was birding in New York’s Central Park. The unfortunate incident sparked the creation of National Black Birders Week which was created to highlight people of color who are nature enthusiasts and the dangers they can face while engaging in outdoor pursuits.

Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Advisory Council member Christopher Joe is the owner of the Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours and his family’s fourth generation farm was one of the hosts for the Festival. “The growth and interest we’ve seen in birding, in general and in our region, has been phenomenal. I want people to know that the outdoors is for everyone and we extend our hand to show that. We’re committed to helping promote the region as an outdoor destination as well as helping landowners diversify their recreational opportunities and income-producing possibilities.”

During the festival, participants were able to enjoy field trips, indoor classes on Black Belt history and culture, and local vendors in nearby Greensboro. Additionally, the birders were able to experience Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites, wood storks and white pelicans.

Photo Credit: Ethan Honaker

Adventurous Portuguese Water Dog Wins Best Black Belt Dog Photo Contest

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

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.

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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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