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Official Publication of the ACEOA WWW.ACEOA.ORG S P R I N G 2 0 1

Official Publication of the ACEOA

WWW.ACEOA.ORG

SPRING 2011

of the ACEOA WWW.ACEOA.ORG S P R I N G 2 0 1 1 EDITOR: G

EDITOR:

Gayle Morrow

PUBLISHER:

Brent-Wyatt West

8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207

Montgomery, Alabama 36117

SALES OFFICES:

Bryan Elkins, Sr. Jim Downing

8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207

Montgomery, Alabama 36117 (334) 213-6229

ON THE COVER

CONGRATULATIONS STAN ARRINGTON AND GUIDE CLAYTON LYNN.

ON THE COVER CONGRATULATIONS STAN ARRINGTON AND GUIDE CLAYTON LYNN.

in this issue

President’s Corner

3

Notes from the Trenches

5

2010-2011 State Officers and Directors

7

100 Years of Service 1907-2007

9

Game Wardens Present Governor Riley With Conservation Badge

11

Game Wardens Meet With Governor Riley In His Office

At The Alabama State Capitol

13

Little River State Forest To Remain Open

15

Wild Animals In Captivity

19

Outdoor Women Unlimited Holds Hunt For Youth Girls

23

Barbour County Wildlife Management Area Youth Hunt -

Another Great Day Outdoors

27

Decisions About Fishing

37

Coyotes Here To Stay

41

Managing Roadsides For Wildlife

43

Buckmasters American Deer Foundation Life Hunt

49

The Buckmasters American Deer Foundation Life Hunt Classic 2011

55

Life Hunt…A Hunt of a Lifetime

57

Conservation And Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr

59

Kids Korner

63

Alabama Trapper Youth Education Workshops

67

Commissioner Barnett Lawley

71

Owls Evoke Mixed Sentiments

75

Pre-Baiting Hog Traps Increases Success Rates

79

The Singing River

81

The Loss Of Vernon Minton

85

The Journey School

89

Website Helps Identify Wildlife

91

Restore Coastal Alabama

93

Advertisers Index

105

Business Directory

111

President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this
President’s Corner by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist J ust as the sun broke the horizon this

President’s Corner

by Chris Jaworowski-Wildlife Biologist

J ust as the sun broke the horizon this morning, the gobble of an Eastern Wild Turkey thun- dered from the bottom below the house. Since

I was a young boy hunting with my father, the sound of a gobbler proclaiming his dominance from the top of an oak tree has always made me smile. I was one of the lucky kids that had the opportunity to experience the joy of the outdoors at an early age. Hunting deer, turkey, and rabbits across Alabama with my father taught me many things. I learned about conservation of natural resources and to respect the game that I was hunting. I learned about game laws and regulations and why they are impor- tant. Most of all, I learned that I enjoyed being out- doors with my father and that my future would somehow involve working with wildlife.

As a Wildlife Biologist, I often have the opportu- nity to teach students from local schools about wildlife at various events. At these events, I am often amazed at the knowledge of wildlife that some students possess, but there are also those times when I question if some of these children ever spend

time outside. The future of wildlife and wildlife con- servation depends on the education of the next gen- eration. Some of the students and children that I have met in my 13 year career will one day be pol- icymakers that influence the future of wildlife in this state. If we fail to educate the young about the importance of conservation and the wise use of nat- ural resources, then the future of Alabama’s wildlife species may be in jeopardy. ACEOA is dedicated to educating both young and old about the importance of wildlife conservation in Alabama. Thanks to the support we receive from businesses across the state, ACEOA is able to fund conservation oriented events across the state. Through the efforts of ACEOA members, associate members, and sponsors, ACEOA has been able to educate and entertain thousands of youth at hunt- ing, fishing, and shooting events across the state. Please join ACEOA in assuring that the future of Alabama’s wildlife is in good hands. Visit our web- site at ACEOA.org and become a member today.

in good hands. Visit our web- site at ACEOA.org and become a member today. ACEOA…Making a

ACEOA…Making a Difference.

Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season
Notes from the Trenches by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director F inally, my favorite season

Notes from the Trenches

by Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

F inally, my favorite season is here! There was a hint of spring in February. I was

afraid it was so pretty that the ole gobblers would crank up. This was way too early. A little cooler air, hopefully, put them in their holding pattern. The neighbors will hear the familiar sound of my ole hunting trucking cranking up every morning this spring. Turkey season is truly a joy! I wish I could learn to be a better turkey hunter. Maybe I just enjoy the punishment. Our year is underway and the budget is set. We will be sponsoring about 46 events this year throughout Alabama. We also continue to sup-

this year throughout Alabama. We also continue to sup- port C.O.P.S. on a national and state

port C.O.P.S. on a national and state level. BADF Life Hunt Classic remains in our budget. This issue of ACE Magazine features the Life Hunt in 2011. We support the “Archery in the Schools” program and state compe- tition. We just worked with the Outdoor Women Unlimited at their Southern Classic event at the Southern Sportsman Lodge in Benton, Alabama. Each of these events encourages the outdoor experience, developing skills, and promoting safety. Special funds will be set aside for Mrs. Louise Grider and her Raptor Rehabilitation Center. We recently took part in a fundraiser for Iron Men Outdoor Ministries. It is amazing to see the heart these folks have and the mission they carry out on a daily basis. Be sure to read about them in this issue of ACE. Each ACEOA District Director is provided with budget funds to meet the needs within his district. ACEOA makes a habit of trying not to turn anyone away. If funds are needed for events, we try to make them available. All of these things are made possi- ble through our corporate sponsors. If you’re listed in this magazine or

corporate sponsors. If you’re listed in this magazine or you purchased an ad, you are the

you purchased an ad, you are the key to ACEOA’s success. It only takes a glance through ACE Magazine to see the support we have. We deeply appreciate it. The chil- dren, ladies, and the special needs individuals who are helped by the events we sponsor appreciate you. Enjoy this unique Life Hunt Classic issue and, when finished, pass it on to a friend. Our editor has worked hard and will continue to provide our reading public with a great magazine. We encourage your suggestions. We are available at www.aceoa.org and on Facebook. Please look us up! We always look for youth hunting and fishing adven- tures in “Kid’s Korner”. If you would like to participate, please send us photos and stories of your kids, grandkids, relatives and friends. My email is on our website. Until next time, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sayings…If every- thing is coming your way then you’re probably in the wrong lane.

one of my favorite sayings… If every- thing is coming your way then you’re probably in
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement
2010-11 State Officers and Directors Executive Director Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement

2010-11 State Officers and Directors

Executive Director

Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement Retired)

ACEOA State Officers

President – Chris Jaworowski Vice President – Trey Pose Secretary/Treasurer – Chris Lewis

District Directors and Associates

D-I Director – Ernie Stephens D-I Associate Director – Wendell Fulks D-II Director – Scott Kellenberger D-II Associate Director – Jerry Fincher D-III Director – Grady Myers D-III Associate Director – Joe Little D-III Associate Director – Cliff Robinson D-IV Director – John Bozeman D-IV Director – Vance Woods D-IV Associate Director – Heath Walls D-V Director – Don Reaves D-V Associate Director – Bo Willis

ACE Magazine

Editor – Gayle Morrow

Walls D-V Director – Don Reaves D-V Associate Director – Bo Willis ACE Magazine Editor –
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife
100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife

100 YEARS OF SERVICE

1907–2007

by Rusty Morrow

100 YEARS OF SERVICE 1907–2007 by Rusty Morrow T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife and

T he Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, more often referred to as "Game Wardens," turned 100 years old in

2007. This is the oldest enforcement division in Alabama. Our readers may wonder why we are just now celebrating - three years after the fact. To be honest, it took three years to have the above pictured badge completed and funded. Giving credit where credit is due, Captain Larry Hicks (Supervisor of WFFLE, D-4), designed the badge several years ago. He never gave up on his dream - to make the badge a reality! Now, those that don't know Captain Hicks need to know that he is a retired Sgt. Major of the U.S. Marine Corp and when he gets something on his mind, he is relentless. He would not accept "NO" when it came to the 100 year commemorative badge. I never understood why the answer was ever "NO" but that is another story. To be positive about a very positive endeavor, we will not go there! Captain Hicks completed the badge in 2010 and, with the help of Commissioner

Barnett Lawley, the dream became a reality. Without the persistence of Captain Hicks and the funding assistance from a very dedicated Commissioner, this very special badge recognizing 100 years of service would never have happened. To Captain Larry Hicks and Commissioner Barnett Lawley…thank you for your hard work and dedication to this most worthy endeavor.

you for your hard work and dedication to this most worthy endeavor. Original Game Warden Badge
Original Game Warden Badge
Original Game Warden Badge
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and
GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and

GAME WARDENS PRESENT GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE

December 22, 2010

GOVERNOR RILEY WITH CONSERVATION BADGE December 22, 2010 G ame Wardens and DNCR Commissioner Barnett Lawley

G ame Wardens and DNCR Commissioner Barnett Lawley present Governor Riley with a special badge commemorating 100 years of Game Wardens in Alabama. Pictured from right to left are:

Captain Kenneth Blalock Jr., Captain Fred Bain, Captain Larry Hicks, Governor Riley, Commissioner M. Barnett
Captain Kenneth Blalock Jr., Captain Fred Bain, Captain Larry Hicks,
Governor Riley, Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley, Captain Johnny
Johnson, Captain Dennis Sanford, Chief Allan Andress.
continued on 13
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued

CONSERVATION BADGES – continued

CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama
CONSERVATION BADGES – continued Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama

Game Wardens meet with Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama State Capitol

Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama State Capitol MONTGOMERY - Game Wardens from the
Governor Riley in his office at the Alabama State Capitol MONTGOMERY - Game Wardens from the

MONTGOMERY - Game Wardens from the Department of Conservation’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division today presented Governor Riley with a special badge that commemorates the 100 year anniversary conservation law enforcement in Alabama. The Game Warden organization was actually founded in 1907 and, thus, turned 100 in 2007. Realizing the need to recognize this milestone, Barnett Lawley, Commis- sioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural

Resources, commissioned the new badge for game wardens throughout the state. “Game Wardens are Alabama’s oldest law enforce- ment organization, and even after more than 100 years, they are as professional an outfit as you’ll find anywhere,” Governor Riley said. “They work everyday to enforce Alabama’s conservation laws and protect our precious natural resources. I want to thank all of our game wardens for doing such a tremendous job that too often goes unrecognized.”

LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,
LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary,

LITTLE RIVER STATE FOREST TO REMAIN OPEN

Permission to reprint from Melinda “Mindy” Newell, Secretary, Iron Men Outdoor Ministries, Inc.

Newell, Secretary, Iron Men Outdoor Ministries, Inc. T he Alabama Forestry Commission and Iron Men Outdoor

T he Alabama Forestry Commission and Iron Men Outdoor Ministries, Inc. have reached an agree- ment which ensures that the popular recreational

area at Little River State Forest will remain open to the public. The two organizations, which had been involved in discussions about the future of Little River for several months, signed the agreement recently, according to State Forester Linda Casey and Iron Men Outdoor Ministries Executive Director Rick Murphy. The two-year agreement calls for Iron Men to provide volunteer labor and services to manage the recreational area in essentially the same manner as it was operated as a state park and later as a recreational area within Little River State Forest. The agreement provides that Iron Men will operate and maintain the recreational area at no cost to the state. Under the terms of the agreement, all of the proceeds

from park entrance fees, fishing and camping permits and other income will go back into the recreational area for maintenance and improvement. “This is one of the most exciting developments for the Forestry Commission since I joined the organization in 2007,” Casey said. “With a projected budget shortfall of five million dollars for fiscal year 2011 and layoffs already implemented, there was a very real possibility that we would have had to close the recreational area or drastically reduce the opportunities for the public to use the area. This agreement ensures that a facility that has been enjoyed by the public for generations will remain open for fishing, hiking, camping, and the many other activities that Little River has to offer.” “This is a tremendous

opportunity for us to carry out our mission of service to the public,” Murphy said. “We know how important the Little River recreational area is to people in southwest Alabama and throughout the state. We are extremely proud to enter this partnership with the Forestry Commission, and we look forward not just to maintaining the facility, but to making improvements that will make the area even more attractive to the public.” According to the agreement, the Forestry Commission will maintain overall managerial control of the recreational area. Iron Men Outdoor Ministries will conduct day-to-day operations, including maintenance of the grounds and buildings, rental of pavilions and campsites, and other duties which had been performed by state employees. That’s one of the aspects of this agreement that makes it so beneficial to the public,” Casey said. “With a significant reduction in the number of Commission employees, we have to focus the assignment of our people on our core services, primarily wild land fire prevention and suppression. This agreement ensures that we will keep the Little River recreational area open to the public and at the same time allows the employees who had been working to staff the area to concentrate on the Commission’s primary mission.” Iron Men Outdoor Ministries is a non-profit, non- denominational organization with no paid staff members. The faith-based organization is dedicated to helping individuals and families to find fellowship through enjoyment of the outdoors. Iron Men has conducted numerous activities for special-needs children along with

continued on 17

IRON MEN – continued

IRON MEN – continued
IRON MEN – continued retreats and other gatherings for groups ranging from horseback-riding enthusiasts to hunters.
IRON MEN – continued retreats and other gatherings for groups ranging from horseback-riding enthusiasts to hunters.
IRON MEN – continued retreats and other gatherings for groups ranging from horseback-riding enthusiasts to hunters.
IRON MEN – continued retreats and other gatherings for groups ranging from horseback-riding enthusiasts to hunters.

retreats and other gatherings for groups ranging from horseback-riding enthusiasts to hunters. The Forestry Commission’s agreement with Iron Men specifies that the area will be known as “The Claude D. Kelly Recreational Area at Little River State Forest.” The two-year agreement can be extended if the two organizations determine that the arrangement is beneficial to the public.

The Claude D. Kelly Recreational Area at Little River State Forest

Managed by Iron Men Outdoor Ministries, Inc.

The 2,000-plus acres became property of the Alabama Forestry Commission in the 1930s when two families deeded the property for the purpose it is used for today. “The two families, the Alger-Sullivan family and the Blackshire family, deeded the property to the Alabama Forest Commission under stipulation that the property be used as a State Forrest or State Park,” Cole said. “That has been the case since that time and it will continue to be that way. The property cannot be sold by the Commission. If that were to happen, the sale would not take place and the property would revert back to the families or their descendants.” Located off U.S. 21 North, the park’s amenities include walking trails, biking trails, swimming, camping, boating, fishing, picnic pavilions and handicapped hunting. Although hunting is not allowed on a large scale at Little River State Forest, it has the unique identity as

at Little River State Forest, it has the unique identity as ACEOA Board members who recently
at Little River State Forest, it has the unique identity as ACEOA Board members who recently
at Little River State Forest, it has the unique identity as ACEOA Board members who recently
at Little River State Forest, it has the unique identity as ACEOA Board members who recently

ACEOA Board members who recently attended an Iron Men Outdoor Ministries fundraising event are pictured L-R Hasty Hudson, Heath Walls, Rusty Morrow, Rick Murphy (Iron Men Outdoor Ministries) and Vance Wood.

being one of the few “handicap” hunting locations within the state of Alabama. The rules and regulations for this hunting privilege are controlled and monitored by the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Fishing, hiking, and swimming are all offered at LRSF. These activities are available for a moderate entry fee. Boats are available for rent by the day. Paddle boats are also available by the hour. There are six pavilions that are rented out for the day, in varying dimensions to accommodate different group sizes. Horseback riding can be enjoyed on the primitive roads that cover all of Little River. While on these trails there are plenty of chances to view the ample wildlife, from deer and turkey, to rabbits and quail, or even a bobcat or fox. Many bird watchers find this a very unique area to find birds of all types. Cabin reservations can be made at the park office, as well as reservations for the pavilions. If you have your own trailer, the park provides electricity and water hookups, and if necessary there are sewage hookups. There is unlimited space for the person who likes to “rough it” in the wild.

there are sewage hookups. There is unlimited space for the person who likes to “rough it”
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo
WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo

WILD ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo by Kate Pugh

T he discovery of a fawn or baby wild animal by itself may leave people compelled to take action. At the time, picking up the wild animal in an

attempt to “rescue” it might seem the right thing to do. Almost without fail, that is the worst course of action. Wild animals in captivity do not fare well. A recent incident in Cleburne County illustrates this point exactly. A buck that had been picked up as a fawn was in a backyard enclosure. The family’s 12-year-old son, who considered the buck his personal pet, went into the enclosure and ended up in the hospital with serious puncture wounds from the deer’s antlers. Holding live protected wildlife in captivity has been prohibited by regulation for many years, but prior to 2002, there was a provision for issuing permits on a case-by-case basis. As the number of animals in captivity grew, so did the problems. Kevin Dodd, Assistant Chief in the Enforcement Section of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF), said this kind of attack is what led to a regulation change in 2002, when the division stopped issuing captive wildlife permits to individuals. “We quit issuing permits to people who were picking up fawns or baby raccoons or squirrels or whatever,” Dodd said. “It is a bad idea to have captive wildlife. They’re not designed to be kept in pens. With the exceptions of zoos or wildlife exhibits with the means to provide for the wildlife, we do not issue permits for wildlife.” The reason for the policy shift was that captive wildlife tend to lose their natural survival characteristics, which makes it virtually impossible for the animals to be successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild. “They tend to associate people with food,” Dodd said. “That’s a real problem with alligators. They feed them for a while and release them into the wild. The next thing they do is show up on the bank, looking for a handout. Their small brain tends to blur the line between the hand that feeds them and the food itself. “In the case of deer, when they associate with people they think they’re one of them. But at certain times of the year, it’s natural for the bucks to fight among

of the year, it’s natural for the bucks to fight among When a fawn is discovered

When a fawn is discovered in the wild, it does not mean it is orphaned or abandoned. In the vast majority of instances, the mother is nearby and will return to its young. Trying to “rescue” a wild animal is not recommended and the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division no longer issues permits for captive wildlife to individuals.

themselves. It’s just a natural tendency. When you put them in captivity, they do the same thing with humans. The only thing is humans don’t have big antlers and they’re not set up to fight with a buck. That’s where the conflict comes in. And it’s not just bucks. Does cause problems, too.” Chris Cook, WFF Wildlife Biologist who specializes in white-tailed deer, said increased contact with humans and natural hormone production make a dangerous combination. “Deer in captivity tend to lose their innate fear of humans,” Cook said. “Then you couple that with the increase in testosterone and the natural aggressiveness that bucks have during the rut and you’re going to have trouble. We’ve been trying – and departments all across the country – to tell people that deer don’t make good pets. They may be cute when they’re fawns, but it’s a lot better to leave them alone and let the doe come back to find them. If you pick up a fawn, you’ve just about signed its death warrant. Very seldom are rehabilitated deer successfully released back into the wild.

continued on 21

CAPTIVITY – continued

CAPTIVITY – continued
CAPTIVITY – continued “During most of the year in the wild, they’re tolerant of other bucks.
CAPTIVITY – continued “During most of the year in the wild, they’re tolerant of other bucks.
CAPTIVITY – continued “During most of the year in the wild, they’re tolerant of other bucks.

“During most of the year in the wild, they’re tolerant of other bucks. They do establish a hierarchy in the bachelor groups. But that doesn’t involve a lot of aggression. But as the rut approaches there is an increase in the amount of testosterone, and they become more aggressive and less tolerant of other animals. Like I said, they’re not afraid of humans and they treat them like any other animal they want to show dominance over.” Dodd said another reason it’s a bad idea for individuals to keep wildlife is the special dietary needs of the animal, as well as providing a proper enclosure to house the animal to ensure neighbors or visitors aren’t put at risk. “Lastly, it’s just unfair to the animal,” Dodd said. “It’s a wild animal not meant to be kept in a cage.” One fatality has been documented because of a captive deer. In February 2003 in Choctaw County, a family had a deer in captivity. The grandfather was in the pen feeding the deer when the buck attacked. The elderly man was knocked down and gored. He died from the injuries. Another incident happened in Butler County in 2003. The person holding the buck waited until the antlers dropped before releasing the deer. An elderly lady down the street went to the road to retrieve her garbage cans when the buck walked up. “She reached out to pet the deer on the head,” Dodd said. “The buck interprets that as the natural behavior of another buck and he wants to fight. So he starts pushing on the lady and ended up rolling her up her own driveway. She was taken to the hospital. She was bruised and scratched from head to toe, but she survived.

bruised and scratched from head to toe, but she survived. “People think the danger is in
bruised and scratched from head to toe, but she survived. “People think the danger is in
bruised and scratched from head to toe, but she survived. “People think the danger is in

“People think the danger is in the antlers, but that’s not always the case. We’ve had problems with does, too. If cornered or in a fighting mood, they’ll do the same thing with hooves. I can tell you from personal experience that a 40-pound fawn cornered in a garage can beat the living daylights out of you with its front legs.” Another incident occurred in 2004 near Chunchula, where a pet buck was released to walk around the yard. The deer turned on a family member and sent her to the hospital with puncture wounds. Dodd said when he was a Conservation Enforcement Officer in Baldwin County, a man had a spike buck in an enclosure. While he was showing a friend the deer, the spike attacked the homeowner, pinned him to the ground and punctured his femoral artery. The friend grabbed a 2-by-4 and hit the buck in the head to get the buck off his friend. “They rushed the guy to the hospital, which was luckily only a mile away,” he said. “In the meantime, the buck came to and wandered up the street and terrorized one of the neighbors. The man had to seek refuge in a shed and the deer held him hostage until the man’s wife was able to hand him a gun through the window of the shed. “We’ve had numerous incidents like this. They all end badly. Originally, they may think they’re doing the right thing by rescuing an orphaned fawn. But 99.9 percent of the time, they aren’t orphaned. It’s natural behavior for them to be left alone at times. They think they’re doing something warm and fuzzy when actually they’re sealing the fate of that animal, which is life in captivity that usually ends in termination for the deer.”

the fate of that animal, which is life in captivity that usually ends in termination for
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is
OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS by Whitney Wood B rooke Nettles is

OUTDOOR WOMEN UNLIMITED HOLDS HUNT FOR YOUTH GIRLS

by Whitney Wood

B rooke Nettles is a member of Venture Crew 380 which was chartered by Outdoor Women

Unlimited, Inc. in 2010. Outdoor Women Unlimited chartered Venture Crew 380 in order to continue its mission of educating women, girls and families in premier outdoor activities. Outdoor Women Unlimi- ted partnered with outdoor factories and representative groups to create an outdoor youth hunt for the Crew 380 members. This hunt took place in Athens, Alabama on December 9- 11, 2010. The Crew members trained for the youth deer hunt by

2010. The Crew members trained for the youth deer hunt by taking the traditional Hunter Education

taking the traditional Hunter Education course offered by Jerry Brown and other volunteer instruc- tors of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resour- ces. In addition, the girls partici- pated in a shotgun clinic held at

Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Spots Club and concluded their skills course with an Advance Hunter Education course back in Hackney- ville with Jerry Brown. The clinics and other training were not only to prepare the all girl Crew for the hunt but also give the education the girls need to continue the hunting tradition. The girls of Venture Crew 380 are also members of Outdoor Women Unlimited and are working to complete their Outdoor Bronze Award. This hunt was part of the requirements needed to receive the award.

Youth Hunt Experience

by Brooke Nettles The OMG Youth Hunt was very exciting and fun trip. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience. I met so many kind hearted and down to earth people, especially my guide, G.T. The best part of the hunt, in my opinion, was going hunting. My knowledge in hunting increased majorly after the hunt and all my training activities leading up to the hunt. I want to thank all the people including the Alabama Department of Conservation Hunter Education Program and Mr. Jerry Brown and all his friends as well as all the guides in Athens. I also want to thank Outdoor Women Unlimited for their help in getting us on this hunt. I learned how to load a gun, how to shoot a gun, and how to kill a deer. The most important thing I learned would have to be gun safety. Always carry your gun in

a safe position. Always have your gun on safety

anytime you are not about to shoot. Also be sure of your surroundings and make sure no one or nothing is

behind your target. Wear hunter orange! I learned about bullet placement and where to shoot a deer…right behind the shoulders. If they run after you shoot them, follow their blood trail and you have a high percentage

of finding them.

Also, when hunting in cold weather conditions, wear warm clothes. Layer up! Never wear too many socks because it will cramp your feet and toes and they will freeze because the blood cannot circulate as well. Your hands, feet, and head are places where heat escapes your body the fastest, so make sure they are properly covered. Always bring extra clothing just in case you get cold. The sponsors and guides at the hunt were flat out AWESOME! You could tell that they actually cared about it. Longleaf Camo showed their generosity by outfitting each girl in their own hunting gear. The sponsors of the hunt were great by supplying a backpack filled with the rest of the supplies we would need for the weekend. The sponsors were very nice to help set up the hunt and let us have the experience of a lifetime. The guides were all sweethearts and they helped us every step of the way. Not to mention, Tony Chachere cooked for us every day. His food was delicious! Even though all of the things I have said are great, I still haven’t mentioned the greatest part yet, the hunting! Hunting is truly a fun thing to do. Even if you don’t see anything, you can still enjoy the beauty that nature offers. You can see all the colors of the leaves on the

continued on 25

YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued

YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued

YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
YOUTH HUNT EXPERIENCE – continued trees or watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also listen
trees or watch the
trees or
watch the

sunrise or sunset. You can also listen to the sounds of nature, such as birds, squirrels or water moving in a nearby creek. When you do see a deer, it is like an adrenaline rush. When you shoot it, it’s like the best feeling in the world. You don’t pay attention to the sound of the gun when it fires or notice anything else. For a few moments, all you are focused on is the deer and you are hoping you were

successful. If it is your first deer and you are a success, you get to put their blood on your face. This hunt, I think, changed every girl, both mentally and physically. We learned to appreciate what we have and to enjoy what nature provides us. We learned how to harvest a deer and we also learned how to dress for cold weather. We appreciate all of the things they did for us and all of the love and support they provided. Everything we received was really cool and the hunt was an experience of a lifetime.

they provided. Everything we received was really cool and the hunt was an experience of a
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White
BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS by Ken White

BARBOUR COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA YOUTH HUNT – ANOTHER GREAT DAY OUTDOORS

by Ken White

T he forecast for the first Saturday morning in

February was not sounding good the night before.

Predictions of cold, with possible early sleet, was

not the best of news if you were planning to attend the fourteenth annual Barbour County Wildlife Management Area Youth Hunt. Despite all these gloomy forecasts, 215 youth registered for the event as the weather cooperated and another great day in the great Alabama outdoors took place. While the number of youth may have been down, the fun was definitely not. The day actually gets started as the youth go through the registration process. Each youth is listed and placed in their respective age groupings and provided a commemorative tee shirt. The youth and accompanying adults can then visit a course consisting of eight venues this year. Travel is handled via pick-up drawn open-air hunting trailers, which visit the venues for pick-up and delivery on fifteen-minute intervals from the registration/ headquarters area. The youth and adults can select the venues they would like to attend based on their personal preferences, as this is a very relaxed atmosphere. The emphasis today is on learning about the outdoor world of hunting sports in a fun and friendly manner. Once again, the youth in attendance had a great time

manner. Once again, the youth in attendance had a great time Mack Morris provides assistance to

Mack Morris provides assistance to 7-yr. old Heather Lynn at the BB Gun Shooting Venue as Dad, Michael Lynn, observes. Michael also volunteers as a squirrel dog hunt master for the afternoon hunt sessions.

at the various venues which are set-up to allow them to get a little preview of what the outdoors can provide in the way of fun, entertainment and adventure. It all begins with the BB-Gun venue. What better way to open a youth day, featuring the world of hunting sports available in southeastern Alabama, than a traditional BB-gun shooting competition? Open to all age groups, it is absolutely top-of-the-line fun when you see fifteen-year- old teenagers shooting along side a two-year old that has a shooting advisor helping hold the gun. For many of the younger ones, it is their first opportunity to fire a BB gun. For the older, it is a step back to the beginning of their interest in the great outdoors and the pure joy of just having fun. More importantly, it is also the first time many of the youth begin to hear the "Safety First" messages and receive their first firearm safety instructions. Jumping on the next available trailer the youth move to the Slingshot Venue. This is not the slingshot that grandpa and grandma grew up making and using. Back in the day, if a good branch of just the right size for wrapping the fingers around and with a fork wide enough to support two straps of inner-tube joined to a shoe

continued on 29

two straps of inner-tube joined to a shoe continued on 29 Participants arrive at the Sporting

Participants arrive at the Sporting Clay Venue.

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Charles Thompson provides a most important firearm safety talk prior
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Charles Thompson provides a most important firearm safety talk prior
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Charles Thompson provides a most important firearm safety talk prior
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Charles Thompson provides a most important firearm safety talk prior

Charles Thompson provides a most important firearm safety talk prior to the Sporting Clay Venue shooting session.

talk prior to the Sporting Clay Venue shooting session. Scott Moore demonstrates the use of a

Scott Moore demonstrates the use of a firebow to start a fire the old- fashioned way.

tongue could be found, you had the makings of a first- rate slingshot. Today's version of the slingshot is a high- tech, light metal framed work of wonder. The surgical tubing made of space-age materials will send a ball- bearing sized projectile at velocities great enough to harvest light game. Special designed pouches can be substituted so the bird hunter can get in on the action as well. At the Slingshot venue they are taught proper shooting techniques with a special emphasis on the safety aspects required for use of these sophisticated "toys" by the venue instructors. From BB-guns and slingshots it is on to the world of archery. Archery is becoming a very big sport with our youth of today. We are seeing many schools adding this sport to their physical education programs and many cities in Alabama are embracing the sport as a feature of

cities in Alabama are embracing the sport as a feature of 13-yr old Daniel Beatty receives
cities in Alabama are embracing the sport as a feature of 13-yr old Daniel Beatty receives
cities in Alabama are embracing the sport as a feature of 13-yr old Daniel Beatty receives
cities in Alabama are embracing the sport as a feature of 13-yr old Daniel Beatty receives

13-yr old Daniel Beatty receives shooting instructions and advice from Charles Thompson at the Sporting Clay Venue.

and advice from Charles Thompson at the Sporting Clay Venue. John Pritchett combines valuable navigation tips

John Pritchett combines valuable navigation tips with compass reading education at the Navigation and Compass Reading Venue.

their Parks and Recreation departments. This is of tremendous importance in many ways as it enhances the outdoor appeal to our high-tech, computer-oriented youth. It also opens the door for youth to continue to embrace the hunting traditions of our forefathers and this is critical to the successful management of our outdoor environment in the future. The instructors at this venue once again provide proper shooting techniques and safety instruction. Next up are the two most favorite of the venues. The Sporting Clays venue proved to be so successful that two stations had to be opened many years ago. Here the youth get the opportunity to do some shotgunning while receiving instructions from highly qualified shooters. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural

continued on 31

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued 6-yr. old Evan Cole tries his hand at turkey calling
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued 6-yr. old Evan Cole tries his hand at turkey calling
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued 6-yr. old Evan Cole tries his hand at turkey calling
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued 6-yr. old Evan Cole tries his hand at turkey calling

6-yr. old Evan Cole tries his hand at turkey calling with the helpful advice of Tim Nolin (L) and Lee DeFee (R).

with the helpful advice of Tim Nolin (L) and Lee DeFee (R). Office Mike Heath assists

Office Mike Heath assists 13-yr. old Cody Rosen at the Slingshot Venue.

Heath assists 13-yr. old Cody Rosen at the Slingshot Venue. The Archery Venue proved to be

The Archery Venue proved to be a consistent popular and busy venue.

Venue proved to be a consistent popular and busy venue. Resources enforcement officers team with civilian
Venue proved to be a consistent popular and busy venue. Resources enforcement officers team with civilian
Venue proved to be a consistent popular and busy venue. Resources enforcement officers team with civilian

Resources enforcement officers team with civilian volunteers to staff these two stations and provide excellent shooting technique instruction and tips. Of course, no one steps to the firing line prior to the group receiving a full safety instruction talk by one of the instructors present. Proper hearing and eye protection is provided and emphasis is put on the use of these important safety items when doing target practice or enjoying some competitive shooting at future times. Each youth is provided the opportunity to get a minimum of two shots at the clays. For many of the younger participants it is the first time they have had the opportunity to actually fire or even hold a shotgun. What is even more amazing is watching the success rate, as evidenced by disintegrating clays, they enjoy after receiving the hands-on instructions. Added venues to the youth hunt experience are the Wilderness Survival venue and the Navigation and Compass Reading venue. The Wilderness Survival venue is a demonstration of various survival techniques, many dating back to the days of the original native Indians. The youth were intrigued as they watched a firebow being made and then used to start a fire. Instructions were given on compass reading and map orientation for navigational purposes. The youth were challenged to follow a provided map to locate the spot, which matched the proverbial "x" shown on the map, and all met the challenge successfully. The final stop of the regular venues is the Turkey Hunting venue. This venue featured calling demonstrations and hands-on calling advice from the experienced turkey hunters manning the station. The difference in turkey hunting safety requirements is stressed as part of the program. Many of the youth are surprised to learn of the "do not wear" colors which helps to create this distinct difference from the "hunter orange" requirements of deer hunting. Each youth also has the opportunity to fire a shotgun at a turkey target and not many pass this chance by. Rabbit and squirrel hunts follow a lunch of hot dogs, chips and soda. The youth have to decide which event they want to participate in and the adults are highly encouraged to join the hunt with their youth. The squirrel hunts are live-fire events and each youth is assigned a shooting rotation number. When a squirrel is treed, the first shooter takes his/her shot and then rotates by shooting order until the squirrel is either harvested or makes a hasty retreat to the nearest hollow. All firearms and ammunition are under the control of an experienced outdoorsman and the dog handler acts as the hunt master. From all reports everyone attending these events had a great time. Some of the groups managed to

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BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!! harvest a few squirrels but everyone
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!! harvest a few squirrels but everyone
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!! harvest a few squirrels but everyone
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!! harvest a few squirrels but everyone

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!

harvest a few squirrels but everyone had a great time traversing the woods and fields in search of the wily squirrels and rabbits. Following the hunts, it was back to the headquarters area and a quick supper of hot dogs, chips and soda. The big difference at supper was the hot chocolate and coffee prepared by the Eufaula Lions Club volunteers that helped warm many up as the evening temperatures began to fall. Last year a new opportunity was offered the 12-years and older youth which proved to be extremely popular. A deer-hunting venue was added and as part of the activities a 22-cal. Rifle Shooting Competition was held. As many of the older youth were repeat Youth Hunt participants this new venue offered them an alternative to the rabbit and squirrel hunts. Leading off the competition was a general firearm safety talk, which emphasized the use of proper, shooting safety equipment. The specific aspects of the 22-cal. rifles being used for the competitive shooting were also demonstrated, as several of the participants had never shot a rifle. Each participant was assisted by an experienced outdoorsman to assure all safety aspects were maintained on the shooting line. The competition was keen as the group was divided into boy and girl divisions for the competition. Once the rabbit and squirrel hunts, as well as the rifle- shooting competition, ended it was back to the headquarters area for the traditional hot dog supper and door prize giveaways. Following the National Anthem, beautifully sung by noted Eufaula singing artist, Marcia Hudson, it was time for the evening program to begin. Rodger Kott recognized the event sponsors and then made awards to the winners of the BB-gun competition. Winning the 0-5 Yrs. group was five years old Alex Bush. The 6-8 year old winner was eight year old Stan Wilson.

The 6-8 year old winner was eight year old Stan Wilson. 13-yr. old Cassandra Gifford repeats
The 6-8 year old winner was eight year old Stan Wilson. 13-yr. old Cassandra Gifford repeats
The 6-8 year old winner was eight year old Stan Wilson. 13-yr. old Cassandra Gifford repeats
The 6-8 year old winner was eight year old Stan Wilson. 13-yr. old Cassandra Gifford repeats

13-yr. old Cassandra Gifford repeats as the girls division Rifle Shooting Competition champion despite some tough competition. Cassandra edged Calleigh Rinicker by one point in a double shoot-off to win.

Cody Lynn (11 yrs.) won the 9-12 years competition and 13-yr. old Dawson Dobbs won the 13-15 years category. Each received a nice trophy to commemorate their winning scores. The winners of the 22-cal. Rifle Shooting Competition were announced. Winning the boy's prize of a really nice 22-cal. rifle with 4x32 scope was Devin Dockery of Leesburg, GA. The girls' competition was nerve jangling. Calleigh Rinicker was shooting in her first live competition and to make things a bit more interesting was the fact she had never shot a rifle before competing. Last year's winner, Cassandra Gifford, found Calleigh a tough competitor as they were tied after the first round. A shoot-off was then held to determine the winner and, once again, the score remained tied. With tension mounting and the spectators looking on with great anticipation, Cassandra edged Calleigh by one point to retain her title and claim the prize. Once the awards were announced it was time for the door prize give-away. This met with great enthusiasm as slingshots, rod and reels and numerous other outdoor prizes were distributed. As if this was not enough action for one day, it was then time for the famed Barbour County Wildlife Management Area Youth Hunt's traditional nighttime coon hunt. The sound of the hounds baying wafted across the cold nighttime woods as the youth and the accompanying adults headed into the night to seek out the treed coon. The Barbour County woods came to life with the twinkling of flashlights lighting the way as over 100 youth and accompanying adults sought out the treed coon and the hounds. Once treed and the coon harvested the fourteenth edition of the youth hunt came to an exhilarating close. The Eufaula Lions Club, Barbour County Coon

continued on 35

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued

BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Hunters Association as well as the Alabama Department of Conservation
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Hunters Association as well as the Alabama Department of Conservation
BARBOR COUNTY YOUTH HUNT – continued Hunters Association as well as the Alabama Department of Conservation

Hunters Association as well as the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division are the hosts of this event and would like to thank the many sponsors, donors and volunteers that made this another great year of memories. Many of the wildlife conservation enforcement officers surrounding Eufaula and its district bring their valuable knowledge and expertise to this event. It is worthy to note that the Barbour County Wildlife Management Area Youth Hunt is the third largest youth hunt held annually across this great nation. In the economic environment of today, many hunt sponsors and donors have been forced to cut back in many areas, but they continue to support our youth. Without the assistance of great sponsors such as the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association the youth hunts would not be possible. Alabama is also fortunate to have a department of conservation and natural resources that recognizes the role youth play in our everyday outdoor life, as well as our future, and make available resources such as the Barbour County Wildlife Management Area for such an event locale. It takes outdoorsmen to mentor and train future out-

locale. It takes outdoorsmen to mentor and train future out- 12-yr . old Calleigh Rinicker provided
locale. It takes outdoorsmen to mentor and train future out- 12-yr . old Calleigh Rinicker provided
locale. It takes outdoorsmen to mentor and train future out- 12-yr . old Calleigh Rinicker provided
locale. It takes outdoorsmen to mentor and train future out- 12-yr . old Calleigh Rinicker provided

12-yr. old Calleigh Rinicker provided tough competition to defending champion Cassandra Gifford in the girls division of the Rifle Shooting Competition despite this being the first time she ever shot a 22-cal. rifle.

doorsmen. The Barbour County Wildlife Management Area Youth Hunt is just one great and fun way to make this happen.

DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by

DECISIONS ABOUT FISHING

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by David Rainer

W hen the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management

Council meets in Orange Beach April 11-14, the

agenda will be filled with items that will have

significant impacts on saltwater anglers. At last week’s council meeting in Mississippi, anticipated action on an amberjack season was pushed back until the April meeting because the stock assessment won’t be ready until March, according to Bob Shipp, council chair. He also said early projections appear to indicate there may be a need for additional restrictions on the amberjack catch in 2011. “If we do have a closure, it will probably be during snapper season so people will have something to fish for when snapper season is closed,” said Shipp, head of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama. As far as red snapper are concerned, there will be several options on the table at the meeting at Perdido Beach Resort, although any major changes to the season would have to go through the council process. “We will determine whether we go to a two-month season of June and July or whether we can take part of the quota and spread it over weekends in the fall like we did last year,” Shipp said. “We’re going to deal with both of those options in April.” Shipp also said a pilot program is being considered that would determine fishing effort by “days at sea” instead of pounds of fish caught. “The way it would work is this – let’s say snapper season is 60 days long – if charter captains wish to go the ‘days at seas’ route, they would get fewer days, say 45,

but they could use them any time during the year,” he said. “In effect, that would mean snapper season is open year-round. A lot of the charter captains are enthusiastic about trying it.” Meanwhile, more news about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf fishery is expected to trickle in during the year, but Steve Bortone, the Gulf Council’s Executive Director, cautions not to expect any great revelations this soon after the spill. “Part of the problem is we all know there were some effects,” Bortone said. “But measuring those effects and then trying to decipher what those mean in our management strategies is going to take time. You’d like

management strategies is going to take time. You’d like The red snapper season will be on

The red snapper season will be on the agenda for the April meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in Orange Beach.

to think you could stick a thermometer in the Gulf and say now we know this is what happened, but it’s not that easy. There were no fish kills anybody reported, offshore anyway. It wasn’t a healthy environment, but there were no obvious fish kills or impacts right away. “But we don’t know the long-term effects. Right where the spill occurred is a major bluefin tuna spawning area, and it occurred right at the time when they would have been spawning in that region. But we don’t have the samples to tell whether they were impacted. First of all, were there fewer larvae this year, did spawning actually take place? We have none of those data. Those are the kinds of questions we’re still posing.” Bortone does think it’s very positive that the Gulf seafood tested so far has come back well below contamination levels considered safe to eat. “I have to say it’s a good sign that we don’t see any buildup of oil or oil derivatives in the (fish) tissues,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but so far the tests have come back clean. Things are looking up. “But I suspect the assessing of this, just like the Exxon-Valdez, will go on for five, 10 more years. And I

continued on 39

RED SNAPPER – continued

RED SNAPPER – continued
RED SNAPPER – continued think we need to consider this as a pilot study on oil
RED SNAPPER – continued think we need to consider this as a pilot study on oil
RED SNAPPER – continued think we need to consider this as a pilot study on oil

think we need to consider this as a pilot study on oil spills in the Gulf and determine what we need to learn from it. It’s just like a hurricane. Everybody goes out after the hurricane and starts sampling. We need to know now what we should have been sampling to make a fair evaluation.” Bortone adheres to the theory that no news is good news because word of negative impacts travels much more quickly than positive. “The fact we’re not getting hit with a lot of bad news gives me hope that maybe it’s better than we thought,” he said. “But we’ll know better in the long term when the pollutants magnify up through the food chain and whether we see fewer spawning fish, fewer eggs and larvae. We don’t know whether the food those species consume has been affected. Those are some of the questions we need answered. We should be getting a lot of good information, but it’s not going to be fast coming. “It may take three to five years before that year class gets into the fishing community and some of those are being caught. Five years sounds like a long time, but that’s about how long those fish will be fishable. So we should have a pretty good handle around that time.” Because of the oil spill, the red snapper season in the Gulf mainly consisted of a weekends-only fall season, which got excellent reviews from the anglers who

season, which got excellent reviews from the anglers who participated. “That was a surprise, and I
season, which got excellent reviews from the anglers who participated. “That was a surprise, and I
season, which got excellent reviews from the anglers who participated. “That was a surprise, and I

participated. “That was a surprise, and I was glad to hear that,” Bortone said of the success of the fall season. “It may turn out that the side benefit is a little more of inventive management – fishing on weekends and extending the season. People are on both sides of that issue, but I think there were some fairly positive comments and it may be worth looking at in the future. “We’ve had good success in rebuilding red snapper stocks. I think we’re getting close to a point to where we have eliminated overfishing and they won’t be overfished. The problem that fishermen have to realize is it’s not like the gates are open and everybody will be able to go after them. They’re going to have to understand that our goal is sustainability, which means caught in perpetuity.” Bortone used the analogy of a snapper population that had been overfished to the point where there were only 10 fish remaining. “You could catch one fish a year and that’s sustainable, but that’s not what we’re looking for,” he said. “We also want to optimize the population so people are getting out of it as much as possible. That’s the goal. To get to that point could be quite a while. “We want to keep improving it so the fish will be larger, the bag limit will be larger and the season will be longer.”

improving it so the fish will be larger, the bag limit will be larger and the
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
COYOTES HERE TO STAY By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater

COYOTES HERE TO STAY

By Stewart Abrams, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, November 24, 2010

W hen someone mentions coyotes, do you think of their lonely sounding howl

at night? Your blood may boil because you suspect they are responsible for a decline in game populations. Could they be responsible for missing pets or dead livestock? Some choose to hunt coyotes because they are a formidable challenge. Coyotes' adaptability, efficient hunting style and elusiveness are recognized characteristics. Coyotes were reportedly first introduced in Alabama around 1920 by fox hunters. The steady migration from western populations is likely the source of current populations. All natural predators of the coyote have been extirpated from Alabama. Lack of predation on the population and their ability to adapt to their environment has allowed the coyote to flourish in a wide range of habitats. They can be found throughout the state in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Adult coyotes range in size from 20 to 50 pounds depending on the quality of habitat and gender (males are generally larger than females). They vary from a gray/salt-and- pepper color to an almost solid black. Adults form pair bonds and stake out territories that range from 3 to 30 square miles. An average litter size is from four to eight pups. Both parents raise the pups, which may remain with the family group or venture out on their own when they reach maturity in late fall. Coyotes may live solitarily, in pairs or in large family groups. They are most active

from dusk until dawn but are seen occasionally during the daytime. The coyote is considered to be an

opportunistic forager, meaning it will feed on anything of nutritional value.

It will eat everything from fruits and

vegetation to small rodents, insects and larger animals. Its diet varies throughout the year depending on availability and abundance. Coyotes aren't likely to pass up a free meal and can often be seen scavenging at garbage dumps and along roadsides. Their willingness and ability to forage on a wide range of food sources enable coyotes to thrive in a variety of habitats. Coyotes are often blamed for declines in big game populations, specifically deer and turkey. While this may be true in some areas, habitat quality and game popu- lations generally determine coyote populations. Healthy ecosystems that support exceptional game populations will also contain numer- ous coyotes. When ecosystems become overpopulated with certain wildlife species, coyotes can be beneficial by keeping their numbers in check. The coyote is viewed by some as

a nuisance species that is a potential

threat to people and domestic animals. Coyotes typically avoid people, but there are some isolated instances where coyotes have attacked people and domestic animals. Most attacks by coyotes take place in suburban or urban areas where they live in close proximity to humans. These attacks are normally committed by coyotes that are starving, injured, diseased or

committed by coyotes that are starving, injured, diseased or threatened. Coyote removal may be the only

threatened. Coyote removal may be the only solution at this point. Large scale coyote control is too expensive and time consuming to be feasible. Removal techniques such as trapping and shooting have little effect on their populations because other coyotes will reoccupy their territory. Mother Nature has provided coyotes with the ability to increase populations by reproducing more often and increasing total number of pups per litter. We must learn to live with coyotes, because their adaptability, elusiveness, and efficiency combine to make them impossible to eradicate. For more information contact Stewart Abrams, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, P.O. Box 27, Hollins, AL 35082. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, man- agement and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdoor alabama.com.

MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and
MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and

MANAGING ROADSIDES FOR WILDLIFE

By Chris Cook, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, October 14, 2010

C ountless amounts of money and time are spent managing Alabama's forests and fields to improve wildlife habitat every year. Prescribed fire,

herbicides, timber harvest, and numerous other management practices are employed to makes these areas more attractive and beneficial to various wildlife species. Areas often ignored by habitat managers are the strips of land between their property's private roads and the adjoining forests and fields - the roadsides. Roadsides make up a small fraction of the total acreage on most properties, but can produce high- quality wildlife habitat with just a little management. Managing these areas for native forbs and grasses, such as broomsedge, goldenrod, ragweed, and blackberry, creates exceptional nesting and brood rearing habitat for many species of birds, as well as travel corridors, feeding areas, and escape cover for countless other wildlife species. Roadsides, much like field borders, provide an opportunity for managers to create early successional habitat that is essential for numerous wildlife species, but is frequently lacking on forested landscapes. If manageable roadsides are not available, they must be created. Daylighting roadsides (reducing the tree canopy to allow sunlight to reach the ground) in conjunction with logging operations often is the most cost effective approach. Unfortunately, this can delay creation of these manageable areas by many years depending on timber age or size. Utilizing a bulldozer, mulching head-equipped tractor, or tractor with a heavy rotary mower to remove trees and other woody vegetation can be quick and effective at converting woody areas to early successional areas. Unfortunately, the cost also can be prohibitive for many landowners and land managers. Trees and woody brush also can be removed using chainsaws, axes, herbicides, fire, or any other of a long list of methods. This approach is slow, but is no less effective and much cheaper. Managers should keep in mind that managed roadsides do not have to be exceptionally wide or long to be productive. Unmanageable factors such as steep topography may dictate the use of smaller strips. Strips

45 feet wide or wider and several hundred feet long are ideal, but strips as narrow as 15 feet wide and as short as 100 feet long can be managed to provide quality habitat. It may be necessary to control non-native pasture grasses, such as bahia, Bermuda, or fescue, with approved herbicides prior to implementing other management practices. Without proper control, these grasses can prevent the desired native grasses and weeds from becoming established. If the desired plant communities are not present or are not present in sufficient quantities in the managed roadsides, planting native grasses and forbs is an option. Seeds of native forbs, such as common ragweed, partridge pea, and Florida beggarweed, and numerous native grasses, such as big and little bluestem, Eastern gamagrass, and switchgrass, are available from several commercial vendors. Seed costs often are expensive, but this should be a one-time expense if the plants become established and the roadsides are properly managed. Numerous methods are available to maintain the roadside vegetation in an early successional stage of development. Disking, burning, mowing, and selective herbicides can be used alone or in combination to achieve the desired results. The method, timing, and frequency of treatment will dictate the types of native plants that come back after treatment. For example, fall disking tends to promote hard-seeded forbs and legumes, whereas spring disking promotes annual grasses. Annually treated areas will be dominated by annual grasses, while areas treated on a longer rotation (e.g., three to five years) will have a more diverse mixture of annual and perennial plants. Treatments should be alternated on a 1- to 5-year rotation to achieve a mixture of the desired grass/herbaceous plant communities. Treat one-fourth to one-third of an established roadside system each year in convenient segments. A segment, for example, may be one side of a road, with another segment located on the opposite side of the road. Treat an adjacent segment the following year. This regime will perpetually maintain

continued on 45

MANAGING ROADSIDES – continued

MANAGING ROADSIDES – continued

MANAGING ROADSIDES – continued different stages of plant succession and types of plants that are beneficial
MANAGING ROADSIDES – continued different stages of plant succession and types of plants that are beneficial
MANAGING ROADSIDES – continued different stages of plant succession and types of plants that are beneficial

different stages of plant succession and types of plants that are beneficial to many wildlife species. Without this rotational management, managed roadsides can quickly lose much of their value for wildlife. Early successional habitat is a key component often missing from properties managed for wildlife. Opportunities to establish and maintain the forbs and grasses associated with this type of habitat are not easily found or available. Utilizing roadsides for this purpose

found or available. Utilizing roadsides for this purpose creates a tremendous amount of habitat diversity, which
found or available. Utilizing roadsides for this purpose creates a tremendous amount of habitat diversity, which
found or available. Utilizing roadsides for this purpose creates a tremendous amount of habitat diversity, which

creates a tremendous amount of habitat diversity, which can transform an ordinary property into a wildlife haven. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group
BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group

BUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATION LIFE HUNT

Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow

LIFE HUNT Photos by Chris Jaworowski and Rusty Morrow Entire group of Life Hunters, Guides and

Entire group of Life Hunters, Guides and Volunteers.

Morrow Entire group of Life Hunters, Guides and Volunteers. Ken Jackson and Rusty Morrow congratulate Stan

Ken Jackson and Rusty Morrow congratulate Stan Arrington.

Guides and Volunteers. Ken Jackson and Rusty Morrow congratulate Stan Arrington. A Very Successful Hunt! ACE

A Very Successful Hunt!

BADF LIFE HUNT – continued

BADF LIFE HUNT – continued
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie

Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington

LIFE HUNT – continued Jackie Bushman and Stan Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie Bushman

Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie Bushman

Arrington Stan Arrington, Rusty Morrow, and Jackie Bushman Wounded Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John

Wounded Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr.

Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr. Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose
Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr. Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose
Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr. Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose
Warriors SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr. Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose

Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose with a life hunter

Jr. Jackie Bushman and Jimmy Hinton pose with a life hunter ACEOA President Chris Jaworowski and

ACEOA President Chris Jaworowski and Stan Arrington celebrate a great hunt!

Chris Jaworowski and Stan Arrington celebrate a great hunt! SFC Gary Everett, Rusty Morrow, and CW4

SFC Gary Everett, Rusty Morrow, and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr.

BADF LIFE HUNT – continued

BADF LIFE HUNT – continued
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree
BADF LIFE HUNT – continued Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree

Life Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree

Hunters 2011 in their new hunting camo donated by Realtree Todd Heckert from Addieville, Illinois and

Todd Heckert from Addieville, Illinois and his guide.

donated by Realtree Todd Heckert from Addieville, Illinois and his guide. Jackie Bushman and Todd Heckert.

Jackie Bushman and Todd Heckert.

THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011 by Rusty Morrow T he Buckmasters American Deer Foundation

THE BADF LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2011

by Rusty Morrow

T he Buckmasters American

Deer Foundation Life Hunt

Classic is the highlight of my

year as Executive Director of ACEOA. I truly look forward to being at Sedgefield Plantation in Dallas County for the three day hunt every year. This year was no different. This is the first year ACEOA has not sponsored a youth for the hunt. The board chose to sponsor Stan Arrington of Odenville, Alabama. Stan suffered a major spinal injury in 1998 caused by a fall from a tree stand. Stan, age 54, is confined to a wheelchair but this does not stop him from doing what he loves the most – hunt! The 2011 hunt was no different than the past hunts that ACEOA has been privileged to be involved with. Everybody was excited about the possibility of harvesting a trophy buck. The weather was cold but, unlike other classics, rain was not in the forecast. The “rut” was on and the deer were running crazy. The timing was perfect. Jimmy Hinton, the Hinton family, and their battalion of volunteer guides worked days before the hunt to prepare the hunting areas for their challenged hunters. Everything was set. The “club house” (thanks to ACEOA, see Fall/Winter issue of ACE) had a fresh coat of paint and, no doubt, it was dressed for all of the photos that would be taken. We were blessed again this year with the attendance of two wounded warriors. Just to be in the presence of those heroes was a tremendous honor. They sacrificed so much for our country and we are truly grateful. SFC Gary Everett and CW4 John G. Lightsey, Jr. were more excited than any of the hunters to be there. They harvested their very best bucks. To

see the excitement of these two guys was truly priceless. Buckmasters American Deer Foundation deserves

a big pat on the back for including

these guys in the Life Hunt. This hunt is so humbling. Tears and hugs are commonplace. To witness the joy that this special

group of hunters share in this three day hunt brings you back to earth and adjusts your priorities. These hunters put aside all of their illnesses and pain and give us a glimpse of what true heroes look like. Their strengths are far greater than anything I could imagine. I witnessed the joy of a very special young hunter named Todd Heckert from Addieville, Illinois. Todd is 24 years old. He hunted from

a special chair that allows him to

breathe with a special breathing machine. He uses a special camera apparatus to shoot from his chair. His dad operates a joystick and when the deer is lined up, Todd blows through a straw to pull the trigger. This year he harvested a buck of a lifetime. I was so happy to witness such a special event in Todd’s life. He is a perfect example of one who focuses on possibilities rather than disabilities. The stories involved in this hunt are never ending and, like I said, so very humbling. Sometimes you think you have problems. Be involved in a life hunt and discover how insignificant your own problems can become. Stan Arrington is able to hunt from his chair. His spinal injury allows him to shoulder his rifle without any apparatus; and, believe me, he is very accurate. He harvested two very nice bucks and contributed to the Sedgefield Plantation Deer Management Program by harvesting

Sedgefield Plantation Deer Management Program by harvesting two does. Stan doesn’t let his disability slow him

two does. Stan doesn’t let his disability slow him down. He, like the other hunters, inspired all of us throughout the life hunt. A very special thanks goes to Jimmy Hinton and the Hinton family for allowing us to utilize the very beautiful Sedgefield Plantation for this special event. We appreciate all of the guides and volunteers for all that they do to make this event so outstanding. We want to give a big thanks to Jackie Bushman, David Sullivan, and the Buckmaster crew for allowing ACEOA to play a small part in the BADF Life Hunt. We hope we can be a part of this hunt for many years to come. Last, but not least, thank you to our corporate sponsorship that makes our participation in such events possible. Without your support, funding would not be possible. Give yourself a big pat on the back and know you are making good things happen.

ACE Magazine 55

LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998
LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME by Stan Arrington O n October 18, 1998

LIFE HUNT… A HUNT OF A LIFETIME

by Stan Arrington

O n October 18, 1998 – 9 am, my life changed in an instant. After unhooking my safety belt from the tree I lost my balance while climbing down. Falling

some twenty feet I was paralyzed from the chest down.

After many surgeries and a lot of therapy I am able to still hunt and fish. In 2011 I was sponsored by the ACEOA for the Life Hunt at Jimmy Hinton’s Sedgefield Plantation. Thanks to Jackie Bushman’s Buckmasters, Jimmy Hinton and Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association who all work together to make it possible for disabled hunters to have a great experience.

I would like to thank all those involved in putting on

the hunt from the cooks to the staff members as well as the guides. The hunt was a great experience with a guide and cameraman. My guide, Clayton Lynn took care of all my

needs. I was able to harvest 2 bucks. One was a 7 point and the second was a 9 point.

I have been on several dove shoots, a couple of quail

hunts and several deer hunts; but nothing compared to this, with guides, cameramen and 14,000 acres. I would like to thank all the sponsors, personal and corporate. While being interviewed for Buckmaster I felt like I botched the interview, while having a national audience my 15 seconds of fame got by me.

I would like to say to all hunters how important safety

is. Check all your equipment; make sure your tree stands

are secured properly to the tree. A serious accident not only affects you, but your entire family. Without a good family and support group it is a hard row to hoe.

would like to thank my wife Karen for being there 24- 7 in the past twelve years and also all my family and friends. Once again thanks to Jackie, Jimmy and ACEOA for the great opportunity for a Hunt of a Lifetime at Sedgefield Plantation.

and ACEOA for the great opportunity for a Hunt of a Lifetime at Sedgefield Plantation. Stan

Stan Arrington.

I

and ACEOA for the great opportunity for a Hunt of a Lifetime at Sedgefield Plantation. Stan

ACE Magazine 57

CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of
CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR. by David Rainer, Alabama Department of

CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSIONER N. GUNTER GUY, JR.

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by David Rainer

F or N. Gunter Guy Jr., his appointment as Com- missioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources completes his reconnection

with Alabama’s great outdoors. Having grown up on the family farm between Pintlala and Letohatchee, Guy cherished the rural life that allowed him to enjoy nature’s bounty. “I grew up helping with cattle, fixing fences and driving tractors,” Guy said. “My dad had me driving a tractor when I was 7 years old, which, looking back on it was a great life experience. I’ve got two girls and they’ve been driving the tractor since they were about 12 years old. “And when we weren’t working on the farm, my dad and I were fishing or hunting, whatever the case may be.” Guy said he enjoyed the social aspect that accompanied small-game hunting and recommends it highly for anyone who wants to introduce someone to the outdoors. “When I started to learn how to use a gun, my dad always stressed safety,” he said. “Back then we did a lot of dove hunting, squirrel hunting and a lot of quail hunting. I’d say squirrel hunting may have been the most fun. Of course, I did more shaking vines than anything else. Deer weren’t hardly even in our area of the woods back then. Turkeys started coming along about the time I went to high school.” There were bream, bass and catfish in the Guy

property’s four ponds, which continue to provide fishing opportunities for family and friends to this day. Somewhere between the time he graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery, received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and then his law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, Guy said life and a law practice kept him away from the outdoors more than he would have preferred. It was his commitment to his father, who had been disabled by a back injury and subsequent surgery that brought him back to the country where he was reared. “We were living in Montgomery and my dad was in a wheelchair,” Guy said. “I was down there every weekend, and I needed to help him. I talked to my wife (Patsy) and

and I needed to help him. I talked to my wife (Patsy) and Conservation Commissioner N.

Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. holds one of the reasons his wife, Patsy, purportedly agreed to marry him – ponds on the family farm filled with big bass.

asked if dad gave us five acres would you move down there? Of course, she’s a great person and she said, ‘Sure.’ As things worked, when I moved back down there, I fell back in love with the things I loved as a kid. You know, when you go off to college and you’re young, sometimes you don’t necessarily lose your roots, but you move to different things. I was more about law school and then got married and started having children. “When we moved back to the farm, my wife fell in love with it, too. She loves to fish. She tells people the reason she married me was because we had four fish ponds.” When his father died and left him the farm with his

continued on 60

ACE Magazine 59

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued Another Guy passion is turkey hunting, and guest Dennis Terry shows off
COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued Another Guy passion is turkey hunting, and guest Dennis Terry shows off
COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued Another Guy passion is turkey hunting, and guest Dennis Terry shows off
COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued Another Guy passion is turkey hunting, and guest Dennis Terry shows off

Another Guy passion is turkey hunting, and guest Dennis Terry shows off a big gobbler the hunting partners managed to outwit during the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt.

older sisters’ blessing, Guy knew the cattle business was hard work and he couldn’t devote the time that business required. Instead, he decided to transform the farm into

a haven for wildlife. “I like turkey hunting, but deer hunting is my passion,” he said. “I’m fortunate enough to be able to hunt the family farm. It’s got two creeks on it and some high property, but there was a lot of open pasture land.” He enrolled some land into Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and planted different plots with hardwoods, longleaf pines and loblolly pines. “That’s my project,” Guy said. “It may create an income source for my kids, and I’m doing what I like doing. That’s my relief from work. I go down there and get on my tractor and plant corn and soybeans for the deer and turkey. I fix roads and bush-hog. It’s kind of a passion. And it’s been neat what has developed. “My wife calls it ‘tractor time.’ There’s nothing better that getting on my tractor and doing something with the land. I love it.” Guy also loves his time in the hunting woods, as well

- not necessarily for the game harvest, but the entire experience that includes all God’s creatures. “When I’m sitting in the stand, I’m sitting there

60 ACE Magazine

sitting in the stand, I’m sitting there 60 ACE Magazine w atching the hawks, the bobcats,”
sitting in the stand, I’m sitting there 60 ACE Magazine w atching the hawks, the bobcats,”
sitting in the stand, I’m sitting there 60 ACE Magazine w atching the hawks, the bobcats,”

watching the hawks, the bobcats,” he said. “What I tell my wife, it’s a good day just getting to see all those things that you cannot see unless you’re sitting in a deer stand. In the morning, you get to see everything come to life. You get to see turkeys fight or deer standing up on their hind legs. People just don’t get to see that. And birds, you don’t really pay attention to the redbirds or hawks in your everyday life unless you’re in a deer stand or turkey hunting. If you love the outdoors you love all those things.” Before his appointment, Guy admits his familiarity with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was somewhat limited to Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Like many people, Guy really didn’t realize DCNR also included State Lands, State Parks or even Marine Police. That didn’t mean he wasn’t familiar with State Parks, he just didn’t realize it fell under the DCNR umbrella. “We have beautiful parks,” Guy said. “When I was with the Young Lawyers, we used to meet in Montgomery. I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we start meeting at state parks so people don’t have to travel so far.’ We went to Cheaha, Joe Wheeler, Desoto and Gulf State Park before Ivan. “We need to get people to think about our parks more. We need those revenues to help State Parks, help the state. If we create revenue, we create jobs. You know, Gov. (Robert) Bentley said he would not take a salary until Alabama was back at full employment, and I want to get him back on the payroll.” Guy said at various times he has been involved with the Alabama Wildlife Federation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited. He was also very heavily involved with the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt, serving as a landowner who hosted one of the guests. “The people I hosted on my property still call me and tell me what a great experience it was,” Guy said. “I know the reason we had to quit that was because the economy was bad. One of my goals here will be to get that up and running again, because everybody enjoyed it. I think it had a benefit to the State of Alabama, bringing in folks for business development. We just need to make sure the timing is right. I do think it will happen again.” Guy said he’s traveled to several other states to hunt and enjoys seeing how other states manage their wildlife. He thinks Alabama’s great advantage in comparison is the length of the hunting seasons. “I think Alabama has a lot to offer,” he said. “With deer hunting, people want big bucks with big racks. Alabama isn’t necessarily known for that, although we do have good quality. And the management that Alabama deer hunters are buying into is helping to create bigger bucks. The thing is our deer season ends after everybody else’s,

continued on 61

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued

COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued a nd we should take advantage of that to bring in money
COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued a nd we should take advantage of that to bring in money
COMMISSIONER GUNTER – continued a nd we should take advantage of that to bring in money

and we should take advantage of that to bring in money from out of state. I think we do some of that already, but we really need to let these deer hunters know that when their season ends, ours is open the whole month of January. And we have nice, liberal limits because we have a lot of deer.” Rebuilding the Gulf State Park Hotel and Convention Center is also very high on Guy’s to-do list, as well as the remediation involved with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. “The hotel and convention center is my priority and Gov. Bentley’s priority,” he said. “Barnett Lawley and Gov. (Bob) Riley need to be commended for everything they’ve done. We just need to keep going forward. Gov. Bentley is looking for a first-class facility that will bring folks there from Alabama and other states.

that will bring folks there from Alabama and other states. “ We also know that the
that will bring folks there from Alabama and other states. “ We also know that the
that will bring folks there from Alabama and other states. “ We also know that the

We also know that the oil spill is an item that Gov. Bentley wants to resolve favorably for the state. We want to get the Gulf Coast back up and running.” Guy said when he was appointed Commissioner it was with the full blessing of his wife. “She’s excited about my job,” he said. “She said, ‘The Good Lord has blessed us because you love that, and I know you’re going to do a good job.’ She encouraged me to accept it if it was offered. That’s a pretty big step to close your law practice to take a job that is a political appointment, even though it looked like a job that I would love. “I didn’t come here with a personal agenda. Just like Gov. Bentley said, I want to be of service to the people of Alabama. I want to help this department be good stewards of our natural resources.”

ACE Magazine 61

KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when
KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when

KIDS KORNER

KIDS KORNER Hannah and Dad. MY BEST HUNT by Hannah Rogers I started hunting when I

Hannah and Dad.

MY BEST HUNT

by Hannah Rogers

I started hunting when I was nine and now I’m eleven. I have killed eight deer (four does and four bucks). My ten-point was my fourth buck. I hunted the ten-

point in Eclectic. We got in the stand at 1:45 and he came out at 5:19. We had already seen a spike and six- point when he came out. My dad said he was an eight point because he didn’t want me to get so nervous. He

point because he didn’t want me to get so nervous. He Hannah Rogers. was one hundred

Hannah Rogers.

was one hundred thirty six yards away. He ran fifty yards then he dropped in the field. I was very excited. Now, I can’t wait until turkey season. Last year I killed three turkeys. This year I want to try to get five. With a dad like mine, I know I can reach my goal.

KIDS KORNER – continued on 65

ACE Magazine 63

KIDS KORNER – continued

KIDS KORNER – continued
KIDS KORNER – continued PEARSON’S BUCK by Dan Shaw P earson Shaw is 10 years old
KIDS KORNER – continued PEARSON’S BUCK by Dan Shaw P earson Shaw is 10 years old
KIDS KORNER – continued PEARSON’S BUCK by Dan Shaw P earson Shaw is 10 years old

PEARSON’S BUCK

by Dan Shaw

P earson Shaw is 10 years old and is a fourth grade student at Wetumpka Elementary School. He has loved the outdoors since a very early age. He

loves hunting, fishing, and wakeboarding as well as playing baseball for our local league. Pearson harvested his first deer at the age of six and has not missed many chances to go hunting since then. We saw very few deer this season compared to years past and our patience was beginning to grow thin. The last weekend of the season was not perfect for hunting. The rain was moving in for the afternoon hunt and it was around 70 degrees. Pearson decided to give it one last try, so we went to our property on the river in Elmore County. Pearson chose the stand location since it was his turn. He chose the middle stand which we had only seen about 4 to 5 does out of that stand all year, so therefore this was not a first choice pick. We arrived at the stand around 3:30 pm and settled in for a short hunt. Not long after things began to quiet down, a few does began to make their way through the sage to the green field in front of us. We watched the doe and 2 yearlings about fifteen minutes and we noticed how the doe kept looking back into the woods. We figured that meant more deer would come out soon and sure enough within minutes we had five more doe enter the field. They fed for a short while and out of nowhere Pearson said "Dad there's a huge buck". Across the field, there was the buck we had been hunting for all year coming to the field. He had his head down and was walking at a good pace. He entered the field and Pearson could not get a shot while he was walking, so I told him to shot as soon as the buck stopped. I whistled and he stopped just long enough for Pearson to send a

and he stopped just long enough for Pearson to send a Pearson and his “LUCKY” ACEOA
and he stopped just long enough for Pearson to send a Pearson and his “LUCKY” ACEOA
and he stopped just long enough for Pearson to send a Pearson and his “LUCKY” ACEOA
and he stopped just long enough for Pearson to send a Pearson and his “LUCKY” ACEOA

Pearson and his “LUCKY” ACEOA hat!

round from his 7mm08, dropping the buck in its tracks. We high-fived and went crazy for a few seconds before running to claim his trophy. As a father who has spent many years hunting and has taken many trophies, this hunt is by far the most rewarding hunt ever. I will cherish this hunt forever.

ACE Magazine 65

ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping
ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping

ALABAMA TRAPPER YOUTH EDUCATION WORKSHOPS

by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary

EDUCATION WORKSHOPS by Vicki Sievering, Membership Secretary T he art of trapping and the use of

T he art of trapping and the use of trapping as a wildlife management tool has become foreign to many young people today. In an effort to correct

this situation the Wildlife and Freshwaters Fisheries Division (WFF) has developed a series of youth trapper education workshops in selected locations throughout the state. The youth trapper workshop is an outreach program that gives both the students and their parents the opportunity to experience and to be educated in an outdoor skill that helped to settle this country. The pilot program began in 2007 and was initiated by the WFF Division with assistance from the Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association (ATPCA) and USDA-

Wildlife Services. This outreach program passes on the historical aspects of trapping, biological information concerning furbearers and furbearer management and

allows students to learn the proper techniques that include the use of trapping as a sound wildlife management tool. This past trapping season four events were held. Events were conducted in Decatur, Greensboro, Rockford and Greenville, Alabama. Each event is limited to 25 students and their parent and begins on Friday evening in the classroom. It's important for the youth to learn the history of trapping, responsibilities of trapping, ethics and biological information on fur-bearing animals. Saturday morning the youth and adults are paired with a volunteer mentor and the real work begins. The mentors

begin to teach them the fine details of setting a trap line.

It begins with identifying the different types of traps, what

species to set them for and how to properly set them in

a classroom situation. The mentors then take the groups

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ACE Magazine 67

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them

68 ACE Magazine

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued 68 ACE Magazine to the woods, fields and water and allow them

to the woods, fields and water and allow them to set their own trap line. Sunday begins with the running of the trap- line followed by learning how to handle and prepare the fur for sale. Most students choose to their catch professionally tanned as a memento of their experiences on the trap-line. Smiles are abundant and the kids are so proud of their accomplishments! The weekend of learning is not just a class in "how-to." Mike Sievering, District III Supervising Wildlife Biologist for the Alabama Department of Conservation Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries says, "This event is about teaching the youth a dying art, getting them acquainted with the great outdoors and encouraging them to get out away from the televisions and computers and spend some quality time with their family." Trapping used to be a way of life for men and their sons and was passed down from generation to generation. Sievering himself supple- mented his income during college by running a trap-line

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EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued

EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in
EDUCATION WORKSHOP – continued and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in

and selling furs to support his family. The pilot program began in 2007 with one workshop and 18 students. It's grown in popularity as the word has spread throughout the state and this year 4 workshops had over 50 adults and 71 boys and girls to go through the program. "The average age is 12 but we've had students as young as 6 and as old as 22 participate," said Sievering. In 2010-2011 the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association partnered with the Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association (ATPCA,) the Alabama Forestry Commission and Furbearers Unlimited to assist in conducting these workshops. The ATPCA and USDA-Wildlife Services provides volunteer

The ATPCA and USDA-Wildlife Services provides volunteer mentors that give freely of their time and expertise

mentors that give freely of their time and expertise to teach these classes that remain free to the public. The youth go home with knowledge, pride and a sense of accomplishment. Most of all they go home fired up and ready to get into the great outdoors and set their own trap-line. If you are interested in attending or in volunteering to mentor at the Alabama Youth Trapper Education Workshops contact Mike Sievering in the District III Wildlife Office. Phone 205-339-5716 or email him at mike.sievering@dcnr.alabama.gov. You can also visit the http://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/ trapping/workshops.cfm and www.atpca.org for more information.

ACE Magazine 69

COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by

COMMISSIONER BARNETT LAWLEY

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by David Rainer

P residing over arguably the most tumultuous period in the history of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Commis-

sioner Barnett Lawley will soon head home to Pell City to “watch his trees grow.” During his eight-year tenure under Gov. Bob Riley, Lawley has guided the department through two major hurricanes, an extended drought and the worst oil spill the nation has ever experienced. As he returns to the private sector, Lawley said although it’s really difficult to recap all that transpired during those years, one accomplishment is fresh in his mind. The recent opening of the Aquatic Biodiversity Center near Marion gives Lawley great pleasure. “One of the things I’m really, really proud of is the Aquatic Biodiversity Center that will work with mussels and snails,” Lawley said. “It’s something I can leave behind that will work into perpetuity to ensure clean water in the state. This has received an unbelievable amount of publicity. I’ve done interviews with publications from Germany, Vermont. I’ve talked to National Geographic. People are really excited because this is probably the biggest initiative in the world to clean water in the way designed through nature. “But time flies when you look back. When we came here, we had the Gulf State Park Hotel and Convention Center that was falling apart. We had bad money problems that obviously had to be addressed. We were able to do that without anybody suffering a severe loss. We did that through attrition and more efficient operations. One way we were able to do that was Marine Police and our Conservation Enforcement Officers working together because their seasons were basically opposite. Therefore, Marine Police were helping game wardens in the winter and vice versa in the summer. It eliminated a need for a lot more people.” A year-and-a-half into Lawley’s tenure, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the Alabama Gulf Coast and devastated the coastal communities and habitat. “Ivan did away with our deteriorating Gulf State Park Hotel and Convention Center,” he said. “It wasn’t what I had planned. We haven’t been able to do anything because of all of the lawsuits, but hopefully we now have a clear path that the hotel and convention center can be rebuilt. “But we have been able to do some other work at Gulf State Park with the new cottages that are almost like beach homes. And the Gulf State Park Pier has just been

like beach homes. And the Gulf State Park Pier has just been Lawley and former Conservation

Lawley and former Conservation Commissioner Riley Boykin Smith enjoy the fellowship during the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt.

an overwhelming success that injected much-needed money into the State Parks system. The new swimming pool and store is really going to help the campground at Gulf State Park.” While Lawley was Commissioner, Guntersville Lodge and Hotel was total revamped to great accolades from visitors all over the country. Lakepoint Lodge and Resort also completed a major renovation, while other parks received significant upgrades. “We’ve been able to get these renovations done in a first-rate manner and not the patchwork that had been done for so long,” he said. “It’s really bringing rewards and helping the parks financially. As you know, we don’t get any General Fund appropriations. We have to make our own money, which makes it more like a business than any part of state government.” During Lawley’s watch, the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses was upgraded from the traditional paper

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ACE Magazine 71

COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued

COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued

COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued l icenses only available to a licensed vendor. A system w as
COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued l icenses only available to a licensed vendor. A system w as
COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued l icenses only available to a licensed vendor. A system w as

licenses only available to a licensed vendor. A system was developed with Wal-Mart and Alabama Interactive to sell licenses online and electronically, which has saved the department thousands of dollars and man-hours for the vendors. “Going electronic with our license sales has also been

a great benefit, not only with cash flow but record-

keeping, as well,” he said. “We’ve won two awards because of our program and there are a lot of states that want to copy it. Our Information and Education Section has also won awards and our web site, OutdoorAlabama.com, was voted the best in the nation for state conservation agencies.” Lawley also pushed regulations, including the three- buck limit and rules that give landowners and leaseholders more leeway in dealing with animals that threaten wildlife and the habitat. “I think the buck limit is paying huge rewards,” he said. “What we were trying to create was a situation where hunters self-regulate themselves. That’s working quite well. I think loosening the coyote and feral hog hunting regulations have helped. I think the coyotes have taken a toll more than we can count on the deer population. And the feral hogs can do tremendous damage to property. “We added crossbows and turkey decoys, which was controversial at the time. It hasn’t devastated the populations and has helped people get into the woods. If you don’t damage the resource, give the hunter a choice on how he wants to hunt.” When Lawley became commissioner, he soon realized changes were needed in the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board and the way it conducted business. New rules were implemented that required that any change to the current rules and regulations that fell under the board’s authority must be discussed at a previous meeting before any vote could be taken. This was specifically designed to give the public more input into the process and it had been a considerable success. “Having had the pleasure to serve as Chairman of the Advisory Board during the majority of Barnett’s time as Commissioner, I have always been impressed with the way he maintains the balance between what is best for the resource and allowing the public access to that resource,” said Dan Moultrie. “He has a way of bringing the different groups together to reach a compromise that benefits the user groups but also ensures that the habitat

and wildlife are not adversely affected. He truly has a talent for the job.” The Archery in Schools program has been a big success that gives individuals a pathway to more outdoors activities. “It has taken off and I don’t think anybody in their

wildest dreams would be as big as it is,” Lawley said. “It

is not a hunting activity, but it could provide the spark

72 ACE Magazine

activity, but it could provide the spark 72 ACE Magazine Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley surveys the
activity, but it could provide the spark 72 ACE Magazine Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley surveys the
activity, but it could provide the spark 72 ACE Magazine Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley surveys the
activity, but it could provide the spark 72 ACE Magazine Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley surveys the

Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley surveys the boom deployment along the Alabama Gulf Coast as Outdoor Alabama photographer Billy Pope chronicles the preparation for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

someone needs to become a hunter. “We need sportsmen. We’re a state where hunting is a heritage, not just for the camaraderie and values you teach your children, it’s the way we manage wildlife populations. It’s good table fare, too.” When it comes to State Lands, Lawley considers the Forever Wild Program the most successful ever in Alabama. Forever Wild has purchased or acquired long- term leases on 221,000 acres across Alabama for public use, which includes hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and many other outdoors activities. “Forever Wild is the best program in government, without question,” Lawley said. “We’ve been able to almost double our money through matching funds. We would save money until we could buy larger tracts of land where it would be meaningful. Most of the land has been in Wildlife Management Areas, but we have been able to preserve some really pristine areas, like the Walls of Jericho, Turkey Creek in Birmingham, Perdido in Baldwin County. This preserves the habitat.” “We’ve also done a great deal to promote non-game species through our birding trails and joining with Mobile Audubon Society to hold the Alabama Coastal Birdfest. Alabama is blessed with bird migrations and is a big attraction across the country.” The State Lands Division built its crown jewel – the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center – at the gateway of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta while Lawley was commissioner. The center provides educational opportunities with ample space for meetings and social gatherings. “5 Rivers has been way more popular that we anticipated,” Lawley said. “It introduces and educates

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COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued

COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued

COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued e verybody to our estuaries and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, what the Delta
COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued e verybody to our estuaries and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, what the Delta
COMMISSIONER LAWLEY – continued e verybody to our estuaries and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, what the Delta

everybody to our estuaries and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, what the Delta means to our coastal habitat. The center

is also a great meeting facility and it’s located in a perfect place on the Mobile-Baldwin line.” Of course, the Marine Resources Division was thrust into the national spotlight when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected the Alabama Coast. “Marine Resources has done a fantastic job in handling all that’s been involved with the oil spill,” Lawley said. “Fortunately, we were able to keep the oil out of Mobile Bay, thanks to the Governor and his efforts. “And offshore, we’ve got the most extensive artificial reef program in the nation, which has allowed the red snapper to rebound with a vengeance. During the fall snapper season, people were catching limits in less than an hour.” Lawley admits he had no idea the enormity of the commissioner’s job when Gov. Riley asked him to take the job. “When I started I thought we only had 11 or 12 parks

Because I’ve been involved

(there are 22),” he

with conservation efforts and hunting and fishing all my life, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries is what I mainly knew about. I knew about State Lands. “It’s been a real learning experience. I have enjoyed it because of the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned and all that Alabama has to offer. Alabama is a special place, very special.” Riley Boykin Smith, who preceded Lawley as Commissioner, knows full well what the job entails and thinks Lawley has handled it with aplomb. “I know from first-hand experience how extensive the job of Commissioner is,” Smith said. “Barnett has been through disaster after disaster and has made sure Conservation and Natural Resources has emerged in a stronger position each time. He has handled every situation admirably and has ensured the people of Alabama will enjoy our great natural resources for

people of Alabama will enjoy our great natural resources for g enerations to come.” Lawley said
people of Alabama will enjoy our great natural resources for g enerations to come.” Lawley said
people of Alabama will enjoy our great natural resources for g enerations to come.” Lawley said

generations to come.” Lawley said his main regret is that the Hotel and Convention Center at Gulf State Park has not been rebuilt, although several obstacles have been cleared recently. “Next week I’ll go back to Pell City and back into retirement,” said Lawley, who will be joined in retirement by Assistant Commissioner Hobbie Sealy. “I’ll finally have time do a little hunting and fishing, which I haven’t been able to do. I thought when I took this position that hunting and fishing would be part of the job, but I was mistaken.” Tim Gothard of the Alabama Wildlife Federation said Lawley’s service as Commissioner has been exceptional. “His passion for the outdoors combined with his passion for public service made all the difference,” Gothard said. “Barnett did an outstanding job bringing groups together to achieve significant goals. Three years ago he secured the support of all the hunting and fishing groups to pass legislation to increase license fees. Without that increase, our wildlife and fisheries management programs would be in serious trouble. “Barnett was excellent at managing conflict as well. Hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts are opinionated and it is easy to have 10 different thought processes on a single issue. Barnett had a knack for patiently working through those issues with stakeholders and finding the common ground. He did an outstanding job with our Forever Wild program and the Aquatic Biodiversity Center is a truly unique and valuable accomplishment that Barnett brought to life. He should take great pride in knowing that his personal efforts and leadership made this a reality. “Most of all, Barnett is just a great person that cares deeply about Alabama’s natural resources, our hunting and angling traditions, and ensuring that his grandchildren and ours have even better outdoor opportunities available to them in the years ahead.”

ACE Magazine 73

OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife

OWLS EVOKE MIXED SENTIMENTS

By John S. Powers, Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, January 5, 2011

O wls have been a part of man's world and mythos

for a long time. They are clearly depicted in

ancient cave drawings in both Europe and Asia.

European cultures generally regarded owls with fear and avoidance and as bringers of bad fortune and even death. However, sentiments regarding owls were mixed. In some circumstances the calling or presence of an owl was believed to bring good fortune, while brews made from owl parts were believed to cure a variety of illnesses. Superstition aside, many a practical farmer recognized the value of a pair of owls as near neighbors. The ancient Greeks believed the owl to be a bird of wisdom, an idea which continues today. Owls were viewed with similar mixed emotions among Native Americans. Some tribes believed owls were capable of providing important information, espec- ially to tribal shamans. Cherokee shamans consid- ered owls a particularly valuable consultant for all important decisions. Some tribes believed that owls were responsible for guiding the souls of the dead safely to the afterlife, while other tribes fletched arrows with owl feathers to ensure their silent flight. When Europeans arrived in North America, they brought negative feelings regarding owls with them. Few of their positive beliefs seem to have made the crossing. Many still viewed the owls as wise, but this wisdom was usually regarded as being of a somewhat dark and suspect nature. In general, European Americans considered owls to be birds of ill omen. Owls' nocturnal habits have caused them to be allied, in the minds of many, with all that is evil and feared. Some still believe the untimely appearance of an owl to be a warning of bad luck, approaching death, or witchcraft at work.

Many early naturalists believed owls to be highly destructive birds. They attributed considerable losses of poultry, especially half-grown poults, to owl depredation. Further, many believed owls to be responsible for destroying large numbers of desirable game species such as ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasants, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares, gray squirrels and fox squirrels. These reports have not been supported by food habit studies conducted since the late 1800s. Research has found

that poultry makes up only a very small percentage of most owls' diets. Further, game species, especially game birds, make up a relatively small proportion of owls' diets. Findings indicate that nocturnal rodents and, for some species, insects, make up the largest pro- portion of owls' diets. Owls will, however, take whatever prey is available, including less preferred game species and poultry, if populations of their preferred food species are very low. Which species make up the largest proportion of owls' diet in a given area varies with regard to the population levels of available prey species. In general, the higher a species population grows, the more susceptible individuals are to predation. Typically, owls will tend to focus their feeding efforts on whichever of their prey species are most readily available and susceptible. Over time, this concentrated predation will result in reduced population and reduced susceptibility in a given prey species. Fortunately for the owls, while they were focusing on one prey species, one or more other species will have been experiencing a population growth. Eventually, another prey species will become the most readily available, and owls will switch their feeding focus

continued on 77

species will become the most readily available, and owls will switch their feeding focus continued on

ACE Magazine 75

OWLS – continued

OWLS – continued
OWLS – continued to that species. This "switching behavior" benefits man by helping to keep prey
OWLS – continued to that species. This "switching behavior" benefits man by helping to keep prey
OWLS – continued to that species. This "switching behavior" benefits man by helping to keep prey

to that species. This "switching behavior" benefits man by helping to keep prey species from becoming so numerous they become a problem. Conversely, the owls' feeding strategy benefits the prey species by helping reduce competition among the various species for limited resources. The broad range of size exhibited by different owl species and the associated differences in the size of prey they consume helps to reduce competition among owl species for food. Overall, owls' consumption of large numbers of small rodents makes them more of an asset to man than a liability. Owls and other predators can be viewed as indicators of the overall health, quality, and energy flow of the ecosystems of which they are a part. As predators, populations of owls are limited by the quantity and diversity of appropriate prey species available to them. Because of the inefficiency of energy transfer from sunlight to plants, to herbivores, to predators, owls are especially sensitive to disruptions in natural systems.

are especially sensitive to disruptions in natural systems. Therefore, healthy populations of owls, especially of
are especially sensitive to disruptions in natural systems. Therefore, healthy populations of owls, especially of
are especially sensitive to disruptions in natural systems. Therefore, healthy populations of owls, especially of

Therefore, healthy populations of owls, especially of multiple species, can be assumed to indicate healthy populations of their prey species, and can, by extension, be viewed as evidence of a healthy, stable ecosystem. As superstitions fade, owls are being held in high esteem by more and more people. For scientists, their importance as indicator species for the health of naturals systems is of obvious value. For many others, the intrinsic and aesthetic values seeing and hearing owls far outweigh whatever minor negative impacts they may have. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

ACE Magazine 77

PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife
PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife

PRE-BAITING HOG TRAPS INCREASES SUCCESS RATES

By Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, February 7, 2011 Photo by Chris Jaworowski

F eral hog populations in Alabama and across the United States are growing at

alarming rates, with agricultural damage estimates nationwide reach- ing $1.5 billion annually. Control of this nuisance species is difficult and often entails countless man-hours and expense to Alabama landowners and wildlife managers. Live-trapping of feral hogs is the most cost effective method available to landowners for removing large numbers of feral hogs and decreas- ing the damage on a given property. Enticing hogs to enter a trap is relatively easy; however, one common mistake that first-time hog

trappers make is buying or building a trap, throwing bait in it, and setting the trigger. This technique can catch a few hogs; however, trappers that pre-bait their trap and practice a little patience will be far more successful. Pre-baiting of hog traps is a simple task. Once the trap is erected, tie the doors open so the door will not close or fall. Bait the trap heavily; whole kernel or soured corn works well. After baiting the trap, leave the area and inspect the trap every two or three days. Add additional bait as needed when checking the traps and inspect the trap for hog tracks, droppings, and rooting. Leave the door on the trap tied open until evidence of multiple hogs entering the trap is observed. After determining that multiple hogs are entering the trap, untie the door

of the trap and set the trigger. By pre-baiting the trap, the trap shyness of the hogs is decreased and the likelihood of catching multiple hogs the first night the trap is set is increased. Adult sows and boars are intelligent and cautious. They usually are the last hogs to enter a new trap for the first time. Hog trappers who fail to pre-bait their traps usually catch juvenile hogs and fail to catch the adults. Since the adult sows drop piglets twice a year, it is very important to catch these adults for trapping to have any chance of reducing the population. The use of motion-activated trail cameras to monitor the inside of the trap while pre-baiting can also increase success rates. Check the camera every time the trap is checked during the pre-baiting period and inspect the pictures carefully. Identify specific feral hogs by color, color patterns, and size. Document the number of feral hogs in each sounder (a sounder is a family group of hogs) visiting the trap. The goal should be to remove the entire sounder. Monitoring the pictures at each trap site gives a trapper the ability to identify when all the hogs in a sounder that are entering a trap and helps determine when trapping efforts will be the most successful. Live-trapping feral hogs is the most cost effective control method for eliminating large numbers of feral hogs from a given property. By

large numbers of feral hogs from a given property. By properly pre-baiting traps and utilizing a

properly pre-baiting traps and utilizing a little patience, landowners and wildlife managers can increase their trapping success rates and effectively decrease the amount of damage and competition with native game animals from hogs on their properties. Pre-baiting traps and utilizing motion activated trail cameras to identify when to set the trigger on a trap are two techniques to help anyone become a more efficient and successful trapper. For more information on trapping feral hogs contact Wildlife Biologist Chris Jaworowski at 154 Battlefield, Lowndesboro, AL 36752, or contact your local Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District Office. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdoor alabama.com.

ACE Magazine 79

TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
TheThe SingingSinging RiverRiver
M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, January 12, 2011

M ost every student of Alabama history and geography learns about the state's beautiful Tennessee River, which flows generally east-to-

west across north Alabama. The waters that ultimately become the Tennessee River have their headwaters in the springs and streams of the Appalachian Mountains. Near Knoxville, Tenn., the Holston and French Broad Rivers flow together and begin the river we now know properly as the Tennessee. The river continues to flow southwestward across the state of Tennessee into Alabama, where it makes a huge sweeping curve northward, and flows back across Tennessee before emptying into the Ohio River at Paducah, Ky. During historical times, the river in Alabama along the southern portion of this arc was a series of extensive shoals and rapids - the Muscle Shoals, called "Mussel Shoals" on some early maps. The area along the river in Alabama was home to several of the historical Native American tribes, each of which had their own name for the river or particular sections of it. These included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, Creek and Yuchi (also called Euchee or Uchee) tribes. The meaning and origin of the word Tennessee itself is uncertain. Some suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. The word has been said to mean "meeting place," "winding

river" or "river of the great bend." According to ethnographer James Mooney, the name cannot be analyzed, and its meaning is lost. According to Alabama historian William L. McDonald, the Cherokee Indians called the river Kallumchee, and the area we now know as the Muscle Shoals they called - Chaka tsh locko, which means "big shoal." The Chickasaw referred to the great bend of the river in Alabama as Thegalego and called the Muscle Shoals Dagunahi, meaning "a place of mussels." One of the more interesting descriptions of the shoals, however, is a legend associated with the Yuchie tribe, who in their language called the Tennessee Nunnuhsae, or "The Singing River." In historical times and before the Mussel Shoals were dammed by the TVA, the waters flowing around rocks, over low waterfalls and rushing through natural sluices could be heard many miles distant, even before the shoals were seen. Imagine the entire volume of today's river flowing through a 20- mile-long shallow canyon, down a series of extensive shoals - the Elk River Shoals, Big Muscle Shoals, Little Muscle Shoals, the Bee Tree and Colbert Shoals. Over these shoals the river dropped some 140 feet. Waterfalls cascaded from the bluffs along the river into the rapids. Wading birds, waterfowl and wildlife were

continued on 83

ACE Magazine 81

THE SINGING RIVER – continued

THE SINGING RIVER – continued
THE SINGING RIVER – continued everywhere. What a sight it must have been! What a sound
THE SINGING RIVER – continued everywhere. What a sight it must have been! What a sound
THE SINGING RIVER – continued everywhere. What a sight it must have been! What a sound

everywhere. What a sight it must have been! What a sound it must have made! And, what an opportunity it afforded early peoples as a place to cross the river, fish in the shallows and exploit the freshwater mussels found among the shoals. According to the Yuchi, these flowing waters sounded to them like a woman singing. In times of low water, she sang sweetly. But when the river was raging, she sounded loud and angry. Again, according to historian

to the Indian was the spirit of a

princess calling for her lover. Sometimes her song was loud and boisterous. On other occasions she sang softly. Now and then could be heard a most inaudible humming from her throat and lips. Yet, this mythical princess is always here, hidden under the mysterious waters of an ancient river as she reveals her secrets through a thousand summers " This legend of The Singing River is well known to many people in northwest Alabama. Indeed, the Alabama Legislature voted to rename the new bridge just downriver from Wilson Dam the Singing River Bridge.

McDonald, "

this,

Wilson Dam the Singing River Bridge. McDonald, " this, This is to pay homage to the
Wilson Dam the Singing River Bridge. McDonald, " this, This is to pay homage to the
Wilson Dam the Singing River Bridge. McDonald, " this, This is to pay homage to the

This is to pay homage to the area's rich Native American heritage and Muscle Shoals' modern musical history. Whether it is fact or fabrication, the Legend of the Singing River is a beautiful story and description of the early Muscle Shoals. Today, the sounds of these shoals are gone, buried by the reservoirs of TVA's Wilson and Wheeler Dams. However, occasionally, when river waters are high and TVA is releasing waters through the shallow tailwaters below these dams, one can again hear the loud, boisterous singing princess. But in times of low water, the area behind and below the dams are mostly still or moving slowly - and silent. And sadly, we can no longer hear the princess' soft song, calling her lover. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

ACE Magazine 83

THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

THE LOSS OF VERNON MINTON

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photo by Marine Resources

T he week before the New Year, Alabama lost one of its leaders in the world of conservation. Vernon Minton, Director of the Alabama Department of

Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division, passed away after a lengthy illness at the age of 61. I remember him as a gentle giant who maintained a calm head while others about him were losing theirs. His knack for the art of compromise served him greatly during the battles between the commercial and recreational anglers. His promotion of the artificial reef program, both inshore and offshore, has resulted in excellent saltwater angling opportunities and an unparalleled red snapper fishery. Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley witnessed first-hand Minton’s efforts for the past eight years. “Vern did an admirable job in managing the fishery as our director and as a member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council,” Lawley said. “I think Vern was always very fair. As long as both sides were complaining, you knew he was making the right decision. I never saw a situation where you could say he was leaning this way or that way. “Vern loved his job, loved his people. He was as dedicated as anybody to the State of Alabama in what he did. A lot of people are in this for their ego, but Vern was not one of those. He was a very knowledgeable, articulate man – someone that you were proud to have stand up and represent your state and your department.” Longtime colleague and fellow marine scientist Bob

Shipp shared many Gulf Council meetings, as well as many trips into the Gulf on red snapper research outings. Shipp agreed that Minton’s imposing 6-foot, 6-inch frame belied his demeanor. “The thing that stood out most for me with Vernon was his concern for the people involved in the fisheries,” said Shipp, head of the Marine Sciences Department at the University of South Alabama and chairman of the Gulf Council. “Even in areas where we disagreed, like the gill nets, a lot of what he did was because he felt so strongly for the people. He really had a huge heart. I’ll never forget one day I was on I-10 heading east and a car was broken down on the side of the road. About 50 feet

a car was broken down on the side of the road. About 50 feet Vernon Minton

Vernon Minton often served as mentor and deck hand on youth fishing trips into the Gulf of Mexico off Alabama’s coast, where Minton’s advocacy for the artificial reef program produced an unparalleled red snapper fishery.

beyond them, Vernon had pulled over. They were total strangers, but he was walking back to help them. That’s just the kind of person he was.” As members of the Gulf Council, Shipp said years of reductions in snapper seasons and bag limits were especially disconcerting to Minton, who knew from first-

continued on 87

ACE Magazine 85

VERNON MINTON – continued

VERNON MINTON – continued
VERNON MINTON – continued h and experience that the status of the red snapper stocks did
VERNON MINTON – continued h and experience that the status of the red snapper stocks did
VERNON MINTON – continued h and experience that the status of the red snapper stocks did

hand experience that the status of the red snapper stocks did not match the dire predictions of what he considered were flawed computer models. “As far as conservation was concerned, Vernon was totally committed to the artificial reef program and the snapper stocks,” Shipp said. “It was really frustrating for him to see the failing of the science – how far behind the science was – and having to operate in that system. He had great respect for science, but the databases were so inadequate, which translated into shortened seasons and people being cut out of work. He had a difficult time accepting that. “The work Vernon did on rearing red snapper was especially noteworthy. He worked with Auburn faculty and students and they made the breakthrough on the larval food for red snapper. Once they made that breakthrough, the mariculture of red snapper was certainly possible.” At the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores, Minton was involved with many fisheries projects that included red drum, shrimp and spotted seatrout. He also found a way to get funding to build a saltwater intake and pipeline that pumped water from the Gulf to the Peteet Center for the effort to successfully spawn red snapper. Chris Blankenship, Acting Director of Marine Resources, said Minton’s ability to bring people together for a common cause served as a valuable lesson. “Vernon had a big impact on Marine Resources over the last 20-plus years,” Blankenship said. “He forged a lot of relationships with federal partners and with non- governmental organizations that have an interest in the fisheries. “I think what people will remember is that he listened to all sides of a situation. He looked at the science and tried to do what was the overall best for the fishery. I learned a lot from Vern – a lot about fisheries management and a lot about dealing with the public.” Steve Heath, who retired in 2009 as Chief Marine Biologist, worked with Minton for 31 years at Marine Resources and witnessed a significant shift in the way fisheries management was conducted. “The flavor of marine resources and management changed over those 30 years,” Heath said. “When we first started, the division and department mandated what was

first started, the division and department mandated what was g oing to happen in terms of
first started, the division and department mandated what was g oing to happen in terms of
first started, the division and department mandated what was g oing to happen in terms of

going to happen in terms of regulations – size limits, bag limits and seasons. There wasn’t a lot of involvement from the public. But over the 30 years, the fishermen, both commercial and recreational, became more involved in the process. People became much more aware of how regulations and laws were created and were able to have input and express their opinions. “By the time Vern became director and I became Chief Biologist, we were very much involved in what I call co- management. We would sit down with the fishermen and discuss what we needed to do, based on our data. We would get their input from their experience. Then we would use the combination to reach the desired result.” Heath said when Minton became director in 1990 he quickly became immersed in the controversy between recreational anglers and gill net fishermen. “We were involved during a tremendous period of growth for marine resources in Alabama,” Heath said. “When he first became director it was a baptism of incredible fire. He walked right into the situation when recreation fishermen wanted to eliminate gill net fishing. He spent many long hours and days to come up with a compromise that would allow each side to share in the harvest. And he succeeded. “He worked hard to ensure that the commercial sector got to share in the fishery. At the same time, he got redfish and speckled trout declared game fish during his tenure. He also did a tremendous amount to increase our artificial reef program, and he started the inshore reef program. He was instrumental in the establishment of the saltwater fishing license, which provided much needed funding for fisheries management. I think Vernon’s legacy was his ability to work with all the different user groups.” Shipp thinks the outstanding red snapper fishery off the Alabama Coast will represent Minton’s contribution to marine conservation. “I think the artificial reef fishery for snapper and grouper will continue to be recognized as one of the outstanding fisheries in the United States,” Shipp said. “The tiny coast of Alabama produces a third of the Gulf of Mexico’s red snapper. That resulted from Vernon’s effort to continue to put out artificial structures and do it in a way that was environmentally sound. I think that fishery will be his greatest legacy.”

and do it in a way that was environmentally sound. I think that fishery will be

ACE Magazine 87

I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.
I t has been another year of overwhelming and amazing support for The Journey School.

I t has been another year of overwhelming and

amazing support for The Journey School. And the

Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer

Association has been a wonderful donor to support our cause. Their donation has allowed us the opportunity to continue working with some amazing children and their families. The Journey School is a unique inclusive preschool in Selma, Alabama designed to include children with special needs and typically developing children in the regular classroom. TJS has been in operation for three years and serves children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years old. Our mission at The Journey School is to provide an educationally appropriate and nurturing environment where children with diverse abilities learn and play with a purpose. What is so special about our program is having typical and special needs children in the same classroom. There are so many benefits for all children to this type of learning environment. The key element, here, is that typical children serve as positive role models for our special needs students as well as benefiting from our highly specialized techniques and services. They learn leadership, compassion, and acceptance. We strive to create an environment where we meet each child's educational needs while also teaching them in a group setting. There are so many unique opportunities offered at

TJS. The teachers use developmental assessments and

an award-winning curriculum to develop an educational plan which is implemented into the classroom. We have received a grant that provides us with a music, art, and physical education teacher. We also have special sessions with the Literacy Program from Therapy Dogs International. During the summer months, we offer weekly themed-camps and enrichment camps for older students. Because of the many specialized services offered at The Journey School, our program is very expensive to run and maintain. We depend on grants and donations to help manage our expenses. Each year we have planned and prepared for a big fundraiser called the Blue Jean Ball. The success of this fundraiser is crucial in continuing our mission at TJS. We have had a tremendous outpouring of community support as well as support from surrounding area organizations and businesses. This year $33,000 was raised to help continuing our development at TJS. The ACEOA gave generously towards supporting our future endeavors. We are so thankful to have their support and believe in the benefits of giving. Our past, present, and future children have already been and will be affected by the act of selfless generosity and compassion. Thank you, ACEOA!

WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater
WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater

WEBSITE HELPS IDENTIFY WILDLIFE

by Marisa Lee, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Article courtesy of Wildlife and the Outdoors, February 28, 2011

H ave you ever been outdoors and noticed a bird, snake or some other critter that you have never seen before and wondered what it was? The

Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

has launched a new website where you can go for help in identifying that animal. At www.outdooralabama.

information

concerning the many amphibians, birds, crayfish, fish, freshwater jellyfish, mammals, mollusks and reptiles found in the state, along with at least one picture of the animal and its current status in Alabama. The web page heading is called "Watchable Wildlife." Just what is watchable wildlife? It is wildlife that can be enjoyed by viewing. Watching wildlife can begin at any age and is a lifelong learning experience that anyone can participate in. It can be as simple as observing a backyard feeder or as adventurous as hiking one of Alabama's state parks to see what you can find. Many of the animals you will see are as common as a redwing blackbird in your back yard, while some animals, such as wood storks, are less common and are passing through on their seasonal migrations. Others, such as the sandhill crane, are so rare that dedicated watchers spend hours just to catch a glimpse. The watchable wildlife website can help you identify the animals that you observe, or just help you learn about exactly what animals exist in Alabama and where you might be able to go to see them. In addition, the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries hopes that this website will be a useful resource for teachers, students, or anyone who just wants to know a little more about the wildlife here in Alabama. On the web pages you will enjoy reading about the 73 different species of amphibians (30 frogs and 43 salamanders), 420 species of birds, 62 species of mammals, 93 species of reptiles (12 lizards, 49 snakes,

com/watchable-wildlife,

31 turtles and 1 alligator) and over 300 species of fish. In addition, there is useful information on freshwater mussels and snails, freshwater jellyfish, and crayfish. Almost all have at the minimum a picture to use for identification. Most pages also include the scientific name, description, distribution, habitat type, feeding habits, life history and ecology. The website is still a work in progress and information and updates are being added on a continual basis, so keep checking back if you don't find what you are looking for. We are fortunate to live in a state that is blessed with such a tremendous amount of natural diversity. Wildlife viewing is a relaxing experience that provides a reconnection to nature and can be a fun and inexpensive activity for the entire family to enjoy together. Spend some time outdoors this summer; you never know what you might see! The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

you

will

find

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com . you will find ACE

ACE Magazine 91

RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by

RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA

by David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Photos by David Rainer

T hey came from all over the country, dressed in wet suits, chest waders, hip boots and knee boots and bailed off into Mobile Bay. They emerged covered

in enough mud to make a rambunctious 5-year-old boy envious. But this mud fest was not about play. It was serious business. This was the opening step in a five-year journey to restore habitat in coastal Alabama. The 100-1000 Restore Coastal Alabama program is designed to build 100 miles of oyster beds that will aid

is designed to build 100 miles of oyster beds that will aid Dan Everson of the

Dan Everson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hands off one of the 10- pound sacks of oyster shells to Judy Haner of The Nature Conservancy during the 100-1000 Restore Coastal Alabama event held recently on the western shore of Mobile Bay just north of the mouth of Dog River. About 16,000 bags of oyster shells were used to construct a reef across a mud flat, which will start a regeneration of improved coastal habitat in both bottom structure and aquatic vegetation.

the restoration of 1,000 acres of shoreline habitat. The Alabama Coastal Foundation, Mobile Baykeeper, The Nature Conservancy and The Ocean Foundation formed

a coalition in 2010 to try to mitigate the environmental

impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as reverse years of shoreline habitat damage from pollution, storms, erosion and human interaction. The recent effort at Helen Wood Park on Mobile Bay just north of Dog River utilized 10-pound sacks of oyster shells to build a quarter-mile boundary along a mud flat that was slowly expanding into the shoreline. Funding from the Alabama Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service paid for the initial effort that placed 16,000 sacks of shells across the mud flat. Other organizations involved in the effort were: Coastal Conservation Association of Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Mobile Baykeeper’s Casi Callaway, who was in the middle of the action during the two-day initial event, said she was “ecstatic” with the response of the public to the initial project. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Callaway said. “We had 545 volunteers from as far away as California. To see people so excited and so motivated to do a really nasty and hard job was just inspiring. “This is the first step. Funding is the question, of course. But we believe for $90 million we can put 100 miles of oyster reefs and shoreline protection measures and plant and promote 1,000 acres of marsh and sea grass in five years. The BP oil disaster was the biggest environmental disaster to happen in this country, and it requires an answer that big. It requires a response that big. And planning and building 100 miles of oyster reefs

that’s the kind of answer we need to do.” The 100-1000 program is an effort to put a master plan together that will bring all the environmental organizations together for a common effort, Callaway said. “We’ve been incrementally losing habitat,” she said.

continued on 95

ACE Magazine 93

RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued

RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued

RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and
RESTORE COASTAL ALABAMA – continued “ We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and

We’ve been losing reefs, shorelines and boatloads of wetlands and marsh and sea grass. We’ve got all these wonderful organizations that indepen- dently are doing a quarter-mile or half- mile or 100 acres or 10 acres of grass planting or whatever. We’ve all been doing these little projects that are amazing, but they’re small. What we need to do is unify, get everyone talking to each other and figure out how to put our money, our efforts and our energy together to do something big.” Judy Haner, Marine Program Director with The Nature Conservancy, said their organization had already started work in the area and the oyster reef building fit nicely into their plans. “It worked out really perfectly for us to get a large group of people out here

in a high visibility area and get everybody involved,” Haner said. “We’re putting oyster reef barriers and breakwaters in place to mimic old oyster reefs that were once here to protect the shoreline and allow the marsh to regrow in areas where it has eroded. In addition, we have some marsh grasses on site. We want to protect those, but they will thrive in the lee between the oyster reefs and the shoreline. So we’re excited about that. “We’re planting oysters for shoreline protection and habitat improvement. The habitat improvement will affect the finfish and shellfish that live in and around the bay. It will be great nursery habitat. The complex of the oyster reef with the sea grass and marsh is just spectacular for that purpose – for productivity.” Dan Everson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Daphne office said the funding provided by the service came through the Ecological Services Office’s aptly named Coastal Program. “We work closely with other agencies in south Alabama, as well as NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and other organizations that deal with conservation issues,” Everson said. “It was very exciting for us to be able to provide some money to get this going. “Just about any fish or shellfish species that inhabit the bay or Gulf near here will benefit from this. When you look at the historical numbers of fish that came out of Mobile Bay, it was just tremendous. That was because, at one time, there was a lot of structure. It was three- dimensional. You didn’t really see these expansive mud flats. These oyster reefs are going to provide that habitat,

flats. These oyster reefs are going to provide that habitat, A lone volunteer makes her way

A lone volunteer makes her way back across the mud flat at the end of the first day’s effort.

those nooks and crannies where oyster spat will settle. Other bivalves will move in. A whole ecosystem is going to get started because you’ve provided that hard structure. The small fish start moving in because of the structure and the big fish follow. Fishing opportunities here are going to be tremendous in a few years.” Chris Olberhoster, The Nature Conservancy’s Alabama State Director, said he was amazed at the response for such a task that left everyone speckled, if not coated, in mud. “We had fantastic turnout, a fantastic show of support from the local community and folks from all over the United States,” Olberhoster said. “People from as far away as Indiana, Massachusetts and California came by the dozens to help with this oyster reef and other living shoreline projects. It shows how much people care about the Gulf, especially in light of what has happened over the last nine months. “This segment is the start and this is as much funding as is available right now through the contributions of private donors, organizations and public agencies. After that, we hope to get some Clean Water Act or restitution money from the Deepwater Horizon event so we can reinvest it back into the Gulf of Mexico for this kind of work. That what it’s going to take to move the needle and do this at a scale where it’s going to make a difference in water quality and habitat restoration. This is something that’s never been done on this scale.”

ACE Magazine 95

Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association

P.O. Box 74 Lowndesboro, Alabama 36752

Officer Association P.O. Box 74 Lowndesboro, Alabama 36752 PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN P RESORTED BPM

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

PRESORTED BPM

U.S. Postage

PAID

PERMIT #77

MONTGOMERY, AL