February 20, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 Seconds after Robert Collins opened the doors of the dog boxes on the back of his truck, the beagles had their collective noses to the ground.

Within a minute or so, the first beagle barked and sniffed for more evidence that a rabbit was nearby. Although the trail never got hot, Collins said, “He may not be here right now, but he’s been here this morning. See, here’s his tracks. And they’re fresh.”

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

April 26, 2012
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
If there had been a class similar to the one taught recently in Greene County, I’m almost certain I would have been near the head of the class. Of course, this class is on a subject that continues to intrigue me so many years after I finished my secondary education – fishing.
 
That’s right, fishing. Why didn’t our educators come up with a curriculum like that when I was 14 years old?

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama’s hunting community welcomed a new member recently in Macon County, and the new hunter pulled off a feat that often takes hunters years to accomplish – bag an eight-point buck.

Gary Baller of Fayetteville, N.C., joined fellow Marine Corps veterans in the “Wounded Veterans Hunt” and scored quickly.

December 19, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As we gather around the campfire and fireplace during this holiday season, J.R. Dunsmore has a cautionary tale to share about white-tailed deer as pets.

“Just don’t do it,” said the 69-year-old Dunsmore, who lives just outside Guntersville. “They are dangerous. I didn’t know how dangerous. Now, when I wake up I see half the world, because this (right) half is gone. It can’t be fixed.”

Wearing a patch over his right eye, Dunsmore relived the moment when the buck (named Zeke) that he considered a pet reverted to the normal behavior of a wild animal and almost killed the Marshall County resident.

March 7, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Saving your money until you have enough for a worthwhile purchase is a wise economic policy that I wish I adhered to more often.

The first time I actually remember pulling that off was when I was 13. I mowed lawns in our small town all summer and when dove season was on the horizon, I had managed to save enough money to purchase my first shotgun, a Remington Model 1100.

May 2, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Anyone who has been a serious fisherman since the advent of marine electronics in the early 1970s will likely know the brand name Humminbird, which is still manufactured in sweet home Alabama in the historic city of Eufaula.

And anyone familiar with Techsonic Industries’ Humminbird knows the person most people associate with the line of depthfinders, sonars, GPS units and other marine electronics – Larry Colombo.

Colombo headed up Humminbird’s marketing department for more years than he wishes to admit, retiring several years ago to hunt turkeys and deer and search for arrowheads.

January 24, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Meredith Boutwell’s run of good luck ended when Mother Nature decided to provide the absolutely worst kind of day for deer hunting during the recent Becoming an Outdoors-Woman hunt at the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area near Greensboro.

Boutwell’s good luck started when she was picked as a replacement hunter for one of the dozen ladies who were chosen through a draw to be able to hunt the former State Cattle Ranch land.

Last year, I served as guide for Jane Ellis in what turned out to be a memorable hunt on a perfect day for hunting deer.

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The sonar bottom machine read 120 feet as the inert bottom about 29 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly came alive. The graph lit up with multi-colored blips hovering with 20 feet of the artificial reef on the sea floor.

Capt. Bobby Kelly put the Fairwater II in idle and said, “Come on up.” As he bumped the transmission into reverse, those blips quickly ascended from the reef that was once a World War II Hellcat fighter plane. Within seconds, the graph marked fish from the bottom all the way to about 25 feet under the boat.

February 20, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Now that the 2013-2014 white-tailed deer season is a wrap, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Director Chuck Sykes has some impressions of the season, which featured a few changes and plenty of cold weather.

Regarding the three main changes, Sykes figures it was much ado about nothing.

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