Notasulga Youngster Wins Big Buck Contest – February Newsletter
Notasulga Third-Grader Wins Big Buck Photo Contest
The seventh annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest drew more than 8,500 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.” Brolen’s family shared his 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.
ALBBAA Targets Avid Bird Hunters at National Event
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association will be representing the Black Belt region’s many hunting and fishing opportunities as well as promoting the Alabama Quail Trail to more than 25,000 attendees at the National Pheasant Fest/Quail Classic Convention and Expo in Schaumburg, Ill., Feb. 22-24.
The Alabama Quail Trail is partnering with ALBBAA to showcase 40 of the best quail hunting plantations in Alabama. All are dedicated to providing an exciting wingshooting adventure, plentiful coveys, skilled bird dog action, courteous guides, comfortable lodging and the best of Southern hospitality.
“It’s the perfect venue to reach outdoor enthusiasts who are passionate about hunting and, particularly, the avid bird hunter,” said ALBBAA Executive Director Pam Swanner. “Alabama’s Black Belt is home to 27 of the 40 quail hunting preserves in the state. It’s a great testament to this region’s hunting heritage.”
ALBBAA gives a shout-out to Ken Owen of Ken’s Wildlife Images and his skilled team for providing us an appropriate table-top taxidermy of a bobwhite quail. His showroom displays great works of art of both native and exotic wildlife.
Get Ready for Big Gobbler Contest
Spring turkey season starts this year on March 16 and runs through April 30. Our Big Gobbler Photo Contest will begin with the start of the season and we encourage you to bag a big one and send us your photo for a chance to win a handcrafted Jager Call with striker, a Jager Calls T-shirt, a Summit Predator Blind and a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent.
Jager Calls owner Josh Cumbee said, “I have a passion for turkey hunting that I bring to every call I create. Each one is one-of-a-kind, hand-turned, signed and dated by me. No two will ever look exactly alike, although they all sound amazing.”
Jager Calls is proudly based in Barbour County and we’re thankful Josh volunteered to sponsor this year’s Big Gobbler Photo Contest. The complete prize package is valued at $175.
The Big Gobbler Photo Contest will be conducted at our website at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest (the page will go live at the beginning of the season/contest). You can enter one photo in the contest and vote once per day on any photo. The deadline is the end of the season – April 30. The Big Gobbler winners from the 2017-18 and 2016-17 seasons are not eligible. The turkeys must be taken in one of our 23 Black Belt counties.
As you know, the bag limit for those elusive gobblers is one a day, total of five combined for both fall and spring seasons.
Many WMA’s are located in the Black Belt and are a great turkey hunting option and can be found on our website with a list of Alabama Black Belt lodges and outfitters offer a full-service adventure. Visit our website at alabamablackbeltadventures.org/outfitters-lodges to find them. Give them a call now to make sure you can book your perfect hunt.
Take note, the spring season will be delayed (March 23-April 30) for research purposes on these Wildlife Management Areas: Barbour, J.D. Martin-Skyline, Hollins, Oakmulgee, Lowndes, Choccolocco and Perdido River.
Essential Turkey Hunting Gear
If you’re a first-time turkey hunter or you need to prepare your checklist for the upcoming season of chasing the elusive gobbler, the National Wild Turkey Federation has some great recommendations for gear to help you bag Mr. Tom.
Besides essentials such as shotgun, ammo and choke and camouflage that conceals you from turkeys while keeping you dry and comfortable, make sure you don’t skimp on your hunting boots. You may want to take some good binoculars, pop-up blinds and seat cushions (the best you can afford).
Check out this link for the full list.
Be Ready to Learn About Bee Keeping
The Alabama Wildlife Federation will sponsor an Introduction to Bee Keeping class on March 9 at the Alabama Nature Center at Lanark in Millbrook. The 10 a.m. program will share information about pollination, bee keeping and the equipment used in bee keeping. Honey jars will be for sale in the Bear Den Gift Shop. General admission ($5, with a $20 maximum per family) applies and includes this program.
There will be an animal encounter at 1 p.m., too, and the Upper Pond is open for catch-and-release fishing every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visit the AWF website for more information about the great wildlife programs and season pass options.
Fun Black Belt Outings Drawing Near
Here are a couple of fun outings taking place in the Black Belt over the next few weeks that are great for the entire family.
Head to downtown Auburn on March 2 for the Krewe De Tigris Mardi Gras Parade. The parade begins at 2 p.m., but the fun will be all day as the Auburn Downtown Merchants Association hosts its second annual Krewe Krawl. The Krawl features discounts and specials for those who have purchased a wristband, available at select businesses from Feb. 25-March 2.
Prescribed Burns Set at Lakepoint State Park
Two prescribed burns are planned for Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula sometime between now and March, weather permitting, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says. The first burn will be in an area of recently planted longleaf pine near the campground. The second is set for an area adjacent to the lodge and cabins.
The ADCNR says “Every effort is being made to ensure safety and proper smoke management during the burns. This project complies with a permit from the Alabama Forestry Commission.”
Prescribed fire is an effective way to reduce wildfire risk, enhance wildlife habitat and maintain a healthy forest ecosystem. You can find more information about the benefits of prescribed fire at outdooralabama.com.