Will You Get a Gator? May 2018 Newsletter

Will You Be the Next World Record Gator Holder?

Do you remember the world record alligator bagged in the Black Belt on the Alabama River in August 2014? The Stokes gator – at 15 feet, 9 inches and 1,011.5 pounds – was hauled in as a part of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ regulated gator hunt.

The ADCNR opens online registration for the state’s 13th annual regulated alligator hunts on Tuesday, June 5, at 8 a.m. Registration must be completed by 8 a.m. on July 11.

The state will issue 260 Alligator Possession Tags, distributed among four hunting zones, and if you get one you may be the person to break that world record! There is a $22 administrative fee to apply for a tag and individuals may register one time per zone. Selected hunters and their assistants are required to have valid hunting licenses in their possession during the hunt. Only Alabama residents and Alabama lifetime license holders age 16 and older may apply for tags.

To register, go to outdooralabama.com/alligators/alligator-hunt-registration during the period listed above. Hunters will be randomly selected by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag each and tags are non-transferrable. According to the ADCNR, “the random selection process will utilize a preference point system. The system increases the likelihood of repeat registrants being selected for a hunt as long as the applicant continues to apply. The more years an applicant participates in the registration, the higher the likelihood of being selected. If an applicant does not register for the hunt in a given year or is selected and accepts a tag for a hunt, the preference point status is forfeited.”

Applicants can check their status after noon on July 11. Those selected must confirm their acceptance online by 8 a.m. on July 18. After that date, alternates will be notified to fill any vacancies. Applicants selected must attend a mandatory, zone-specific Alligator Training Course provided by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. The course is a one-time requirement, so any hunters who have attended may be exempted from this requirement.

The hunting zones, total number of tags available and hunting dates:

Southeast Alabama Zone (40 tags) – Private and public waters in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Russell counties (excluding public Alabama state waters in Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries). Hunting dates are sunset on Aug. 11 until sunrise on Sept. 3.

West Central Alabama Zone (50 tags) – Private and public waters in Monroe (north of U.S. Highway 84), Wilcox and Dallas counties. Hunting dates are sunset on Aug. 9 until sunrise on Aug. 12 and sunset on Aug. 16 until sunrise on Aug. 19.

Lake Eufaula Zone (20 tags) – Public state waters only in the Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries, south of Alabama Highway 208 at Omaha Bridge (excludes Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge). Hunting dates are sunset Aug. 17 until sunrise Oct. 1. An 8-foot minimum length requirement is in effect for alligators harvested in the Lake Eufaula Zone. There is no minimum length for hunts in the other zones.

Southwest Alabama Zone (150 tags) – Private and public waters in Baldwin and Mobile counties and private and public waters in Washington, Clarke and Monroe counties that lie east of U.S. Highway 43 and south of U.S. Highway 84. Hunting dates are sunset on Aug. 9 until sunrise on Aug. 12 and sunset on Aug. 16 until sunrise on Aug. 19.

Hunting hours are official sunset to official sunrise in the Southwest, Southeast and West Central Zones. For the Lake Eufaula Zone, hunting is allowed both daytime and nighttime hours. All Alabama hunting and boating regulations must be followed.

We Have A Winner!

Our first video Big Gobblers Contest brought in some fine examples of turkey-calling from Black Belt region hunters. The People’s Choice winner, chosen by the number of “likes” on our Facebook page, was Cody Godwin of Enterprise. The Pro’s Pick, selected by a panel of turkey-hunting experts, was Jerry Lavender of Greensboro.

Godwin won a $200 cash prize from Southeastern Land Group while Lavender scored three special Eddie “Turkey Man” Salter turkey calls, worth more than $150.

The turkey-calling videos racked up more than 7,200 page views in the contest, which ran during the spring turkey season in Alabama.

Free Fishing Day Is June 9

As part of National Fishing and Boating Week, Saturday, June 9, is Free Fishing Day in Alabama. The Alabama Legislature approved Free Fishing Day to allow anyone to enjoy the outstanding fishing opportunities our state has to offer without having to purchase a fishing license.

Some lakes and piers may still require fees and permits and, of course, fishing in private ponds requires the owner’s permission. You can find public fishing areas in the Black Belt by visiting our website here: alabamablackbeltadventures.org/hunting-fishing/public-fishing or find areas everywhere in the state at outdooralabama.com/fishing.

Celebrate Hank in his Hometown

There are lots of great ways to enjoy your visit to the Black Belt and communities throughout the region are hotbeds for fun festivals during the summer months. Head to Butler County to experience the Hank Williams Festival at his boyhood hometown in Georgiana. This year’s event on June 1-2 is the 39th annual “Salute to a Legend” at the Hank Williams Music Park. The festival is held on the grounds of Williams’ boyhood home and museum at 127 Rose Street in Georgiana. To reach the festival site from I-65, take exit 114 and go one mile east.

Music starts at 3 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday. Among those scheduled to perform are T.G. Sheppard, Kim Carson, Flashback, Tony Jackson and more. The festival also includes arts and crafts and a food court. Check it out at hankwilliamsfestival.com.

Summertime Is Farmers Market Time

We love our festivals and we love our farmers markets in the Black Belt. Here are three great places to get fresh fruits and veggies – and lots more – at farmers markets in the region.

Orrville Farmer’s Market – Orrville is just southwest of Selma in Dallas County and the Farmers Market offers locally grown, farm-fresh produce along with artisan foods and prepared foods. The market’s Facebook page says it gives “… farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers and cultivate consumer loyalty with the famers who grow the produce.” The Orrville Farmers Market is at 14560 Alabama Highway 22 West/Main Street. Call 334-996-8301 for more information.

The Farmers Market at the Tuscaloosa River Market – This public service of the city of Tuscaloosa is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon with Tuesday markets from 3-6 p.m. through Nov. 20. EBT/SNAP, WIC and SFMNP payments are accepted. The market, located at 1900 Jack Warner Parkway, offers fresh produce, grass-fed beef, artisan crafts and lots more!

The Shoppes at Eastchase – From 7 a.m. until noon every day through Sept. 29, the 14th Annual Farmers Market at The Shoppes at Eastchase in Montgomery will offer locally grown products, including Aplin Farms, Penton Farms, Leatherwood Nursery and many more. Goods from farms in Verbena, Slocomb, Thorsby, Clanton, Tallassee, Wetumpka and Shorter are just a few of the attractions for this large market. For more information, visit the website or call 334-279-6046.

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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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