Big Buck Photo Contest Deadline Draws Near: January Newsletter

Big Buck Contest Prize Deadline Approaches

We have a spirited competition going on for a couple more weeks in our Big Buck Photo Contest on Facebook. More than 70 photos are in the running for a prize package worth more than $3,000! The deadline is Feb. 14 – the Wednesday following the end of the 2017-18 deer season on Feb. 10.

Thanks to some great Alabama Black Belt vendors – and some from outside the region – the prize is one of the most attractive we’ve had in our six years of spotlighting the great deer hunting we have in our 23 counties. The prizes awaiting the hunter whose photo gets the most “likes” on our Facebook page are an Alabama Hog Control Thermal Hog Hunt for three, a Winchester XPR 270-caliber rifle from Central Alabama Farmers Cooperative in Selma, a $300 cash donation from The Management Advantage in Helena, an American Hunter 200-pound Tri-Pod Feeder and a $50 gift card from Rountree Outdoors in Selma, a $250 cash donation from the Southeastern Land Group and a Lifetime Alabama Wildlife Heritage License. 

To be eligible, the deer must be taken in the Black Belt during the 2017-2018 season and the photo must be emailed to Photos uploaded to Facebook are not eligible and Big Buck Photo Contest winners from 2015-16 and 2016-17 are ineligible this year. Please include the name of the hunter and the county where the deer was taken with the email.

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.

Income Tax Check-Off Supports State Wildlife

The Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund check-off box on your Alabama state income tax form allows you to donate all or a portion of your state tax refund to benefit nongame wildlife. Our state has more than 1,000 species of animals that are categorized as nongame, that is, species that are not hunted, fished or trapped. The Nongame Wildlife Program, administered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is responsible for many programs such as wintering surveys of bald eagles, shorebird surveys on the coast and research on threatened and endangered species – such as wood storks and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

The Nongame Wildlife Program receives no tax dollars and is partially funded by Alabamians through tax-deductible donations. The income tax check-off donations are matched with federal funds, so even the smallest donations are valuable.

Nongame Wildlife Program success stories include helping in the comeback of bald eagles, ospreys and bluebirds to the state.

If you’d like to donate but you won’t receive a state income tax refund, donations can be made to Alabama’s Nongame Wildlife Program, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 64 North Union St., Montgomery, AL 36130. For more information, call 334-242-3469 or visit

Sweet Deal at Alabama Wildlife Federation

Did you know that the Alabama Wildlife Federation has honey on sale that is harvested from hives on the AWF property at Lanark in Millbrook? Two beehives have been on site for quite a while and two new hives are being added. All the hives will be moved to an enclosed apiary that will make the bees’ homes available for public viewing.

The in-house beekeeper looks after the bees, including harvesting the honey. The beekeeper also bottles the honey on-site. The honey is raw and natural, minimally filtered with no additives or heat applied in order to preserve the natural integrity of the honey.

Lanark honey is made of a variety of nectar sources that makes for a complex taste, much different from the singular clover honey popular in most grocery stores. Lanark honey can also help those who live near the area create a resistance to pollen allergies.

Visit the store to buy some Lanark honey! Prices range from $8 for a four-ounce jar to $17 for a one-pound jar that includes honeycomb.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day Is Feb. 3

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has set Saturday, Feb. 3, as one of the 2017-18 hunting season’s Special Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. Youngsters under age 16 may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter. Regular waterfowl season shooting hours, bag limits, legal arms and ammunitions apply.

Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult supervisor, who may not hunt and must remain within arm’s length of the youth at all times. The supervisor may accompany up to two youth hunters during the hunt. The adult (21 years or older or the parent of the youth) also must have a waterfowl stamp and the free harvest information program registration. For more information, visit or contact WFF Waterfowl Coordinator Seth Maddox at or 256-437-2788.

Shooters Can Help Montevallo Program

The Continental Pheasant Shoot Fundraiser to benefit the President’s Outdoor Scholars Program at the University of Montevallo is set for Saturday, Feb. 17 at Frost Farms in Calera. The $300 fee per shooter also includes lunch and the pheasant shoot.

The shoot will be from 10 a.m. until noon with lunch to follow from noon until 1 p.m. Frost Farms is at 264 Highway 222, Calera. Safety orange and 6-shot or smaller required. No alcoholic beverages allowed.

For reservations or more information, contact William Crawford at or 205-665-6216.

Run Wild at Critter Crawl and Yeti Dash

The eighth annual Alabama Nature Center Critter Crawl will be Saturday, Feb. 10, on the beautiful trails at Lanark in Millbrook. This year, there will also be the ANC Yeti Dash – a 1-mile trail system run. To run in the Yeti Dash, you must dress in a nature/critter costume. How fun is that!

The Critter Crawl 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. and the Yeti Dash starts at 9:45. First-place finishers in all age groups will get a Yeti Dash medal.

Preregistration is $25 (5K) or $20 (Yeti Dash). T-shirts are guaranteed for runners who register before Jan. 31. For more information, visit

Fins, Feathers & Flowers at Lakepoint State Park

The Fins, Feathers and Flowers Weekend at Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula is set for Feb. 16-18. The program, similar to Eagle Awareness Weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park, offers a variety of activities for wildlife watchers. The weekend is a cooperative effort of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Parks Division and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Lakepoint is offering a Fins, Feathers and Flowers overnight package that includes lodging for three days and two nights and attendance at the social, cookout, breakfast, lectures, field trips and other presentations. Rates are $202 for single occupancy and $262 for double occupancy. For more information and reservations, call 334-687-8011 or visit

The weekend begins on Friday afternoon with a Conservation Fair before the evening social, welcome session and field trip sign-ups. John Trent, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Biologist, will present a program called “eBird: A Benefit to Birders and Science.” Special field trips, bird viewing outings at the park and at the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge are also planned.

For reservations, call 334-687-8011; use group code: 4436.

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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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