Thursday, February 15, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

If the plan works out, Alabama red snapper anglers will have access to the prized reef fish for more days than last year’s extended season.

The plan entails exempted fishing permits (EFPs) that allow the five Gulf states to set seasons that will keep the snapper harvest within the overall quota for the recreational fishery in the Gulf.

If approved, the EFPs will be used until the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has time to go through the process to approve state management plans for the Gulf states.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

With barbecue and wild-game delicacies on the menu, the Alabama Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus treated Alabama legislators and guests to lunch to celebrate the 10th year of the Caucus in Alabama.

Alabama is one of 48 states that are members of the national organization, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Representative Randy Davis, Alabama’s Caucus leaders, explained to attendees how important hunting and fishing are to Alabama for a variety of reasons.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The historic town of Eufaula has long laid claim to the title of “Big Bass Capital of the World.” Now, the town of 13,000 in southeast Alabama has the big bass to prove it.

A 12-foot-tall replica of a largemouth bass was dedicated last week in downtown Eufaula, where Mayor Jack Tibbs expects it to become a social media magnet.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Every hunter at the 2018 Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation went home with great memories. And with a snowstorm approaching, each hunter bagged a buck before the three-day event was complete.

Going into the final afternoon hunt, David Powell of South Carolina had taken a doe earlier in the hunt but was the only participant without a buck. Powell completed the buck-sweep by dropping a 10-pointer as sleet started to pelt the ground blind.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

 

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

A group of five scored what might be considered the lottery for hunters who want to pursue white-tailed deer in the Black Belt of Alabama.

Those lucky hunters were selected in a random drawing to participate in the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division’s Adult Mentored Hunt Program.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

With Alabama in the peak of deer season, freezers are getting full, which means it’s time to prepare some tasty venison.

As a buddy and I were discussing on a trip home from a hunting excursion, venison got a bad rap back in the day because of several reasons. Most deer hunting in the mid-20th century was done in front of a pack of hounds on a hot deer trail. Plus, it was verboten to shoot a doe back then. Hence, bucks replete with rutting hormones or lactic acid from being chased by the hounds, or both, made some of the meat less than palatable.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Interaction between humans and black bears saw an uptick last year, and that will likely be the trend for the near future, at least in one corner of the state, according to Dr. Todd Steury of Auburn University.

Funded by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division’s State Wildlife Grants Program, Professor Steury, along with graduate students John Draper and Chris Seals, recently completed a multiple-year study of the black bear population in Alabama.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Unwanted guests can sometimes show up during the holiday season, but they almost always go home at some point. Unfortunately, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division got word recently that an unwanted fish species has invaded Alabama waters, and Fisheries Section Chief Nick Nichols is afraid the silver carp wants to make the Tennessee River home.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

If you’re passionate about the outdoors and think those endeavors will be limited to a hobby or favorite pastime, think again. The University of Montevallo in central Alabama has a path to convert your outdoors activities into a career.

The President’s Outdoor Scholars Program allows students to tailor their studies en route to a degree that could translate into a career in the outdoors industry.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Despite a concerted effort by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division’s Hunter Safety Program, Alabama deer hunters are still falling out of treestands in disturbing numbers.

Plus, there has been one firearms fatality where the cardinal rule of unloading your firearm before exiting your deer stand was not followed.

Seven Alabama hunters had suffered treestand accidents as of December 1. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities in the falls, but several serious injuries were reported.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Christmas music is wafting through the air everywhere you go these days, and the Alabama State Parks System will embrace that theme throughout December.

The holiday celebrations begin on Dec. 1 with Santa’s Underground Workshop at Rickwood Caverns State Park near Warrior, just north of Birmingham. Santa will greet visitors in the cave, which will be decorated in Christmas lights. The Underground Workshop will be open through Dec. 23. Admission is $10.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Despite Alabama’s woods teeming with deer and deer hunters, many will take a Thanksgiving break to acknowledge the bountiful blessings of living in our great state.

Those blessings include food – lots of food – on Thursday through the weekend. The traditional turkey will likely be on the table, but many families who love the outdoors will enjoy wild game as well.

For you movie buffs, like Lloyd Bridges’ character in the movie “Airplane,” it looks like I picked the wrong time to try to lose weight.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Fall is a magical time on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The white pelicans execute their synchronized flying patterns as mullet leap for the sky for no apparent reason. In the distance, the spray from their spouts reveals a pod of dolphins on the hunt as they surround a school of baitfish.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Bryan Nettles of Mobile is of a generation that doesn’t have the connection to the outdoors that I and my Baby Boomer hunting buddies have.

We stayed outdoors and followed in our fathers’ (or mentors’) footsteps into the world of hunting, for both recreation and sustenance.

However, like many from the later generations, Nettles just needed a little nudge to join the hunting community, and he found that encouragement in the form of an Alabama Mentored Hunt.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The buck of your dreams steps into the open. You try to remain calm and get ready for the shot. You place the crosshairs of your trusty scope-rifle combination on the deer’s shoulder and squeeze the trigger.

As the boom echoes across the bottom, the buck snaps his head to attention and then darts into the thicket with his white tail pointed skyward, indicating a clean miss.

What just happened? The scope had always been dead on, an inch high at 100 yards.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

There’s an old saying that to find a person’s passion, follow the money. That apparently is true for Alabama’s hunters, who fuel the economies in many parts of the state that need it the most.

To ensure the citizens of the state understand how important hunting is to the state’s well-being, both economically and culturally, Hunting Works for Alabama was formed last year to enlist the aid of the  business community to spread this important message.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board will welcome new members and share its appreciation with departing members at its first meeting of 2018 in February.

Jessica Butler of Scottsboro and Greg Barksdale of Hanceville will join the board as first-time members, while Brock Jones of Boligee returns to the board for a new term.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Preliminary numbers from the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, aka Snapper Check, indicate the fear that Alabama anglers would exceed the 2017 quota were unfounded.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Capt. Richard Rutland can no longer express disappointment about the fishing at a certain Exxon-Mobil petroleum platform just south of Dauphin Island.

“I’ve never caught a fish off this rig, but I stop here every time,” Rutland said as he eased up to the rig to look for cobia lurking in the shadows of the rig structure.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated across the nation Saturday, and Alabama will join the festivities with special access to the abundant natural resources in the state.

At a news conference Tuesday at Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club outside Montgomery, Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), announced that to honor the vast economic and cultural impact of hunting and fishing on Alabama, DCNR will waive boat launch fees at Alabama State Parks and offer a free day of fishing at Gulf State Park Pier on Saturday.

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