Thursday, November 12, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Deer hunters can rejoice that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been found in Alabama or any of the surrounding states. That, however, does not mean we deer hunters can take that fact for granted.

Currently, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division is revising the strategy that will help WFF officials respond quickly should CWD be detected in Alabama in the future.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

More than five years ago, April 20, 2010, to be exact, life on the Gulf Coast changed, and not for the better.

That is the date of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform explosion that killed 11 people and injured 17. It also resulted in 134 million gallons of crude oil being released into Gulf waters.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

With the successful Alabama Avid Turkey Hunter Survey as its model, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division is recruiting another diehard group of hunters.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

To report red snapper harvest, click here or on the logo above.

 

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As many Alabama offshore anglers will attest, the results from the red snapper catch data is the same old song, second verse.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division announced recently that one of the Nongame Section’s programs had discovered a hellbender, I admit I was a bit puzzled about why there was so much buzz about a vintage fishing lure.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As the Halloween season approaches, one of the most maligned species in the animal kingdom is under scrutiny in Alabama, for good reason.

Nick Sharp, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Nongame Biologist, puts the creature closely associated with Count Dracula in perspective.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Two years ago, the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board approved a change in the definition of “area” where it is legal to hunt deer and feral hogs when supplemental feed is on the property.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound are bugged, but the listening devices aren’t snooping to hear the inshore anglers’ big-fish tales or locate their favorite fishing holes.

The microphones, known as hydrophones, are strategically positioned around the Bay and Sound to listen for the fish themselves – a select group of fish.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When a change in the weather and the opening of a hunting season coincide, it can be a beautiful day for those of us who love the outdoors.

Such was the case last weekend for the opening of the dove season in the north zone, which encompasses most of the state.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Alabama’s goose hunters and youth waterfowl hunters will get increased opportunities for the 2015-2016 seasons, but Mother Nature will again determine if those opportunities are realized.

Although Alabama is not particularly known for its goose hunting, waterfowl hunters occasionally have the opportunity to add honkers to the bag. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The state budget impasse in the Legislature in Montgomery could soon have far-reaching impacts on those who love and enjoy the abundant natural resources Alabama has to offer.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. and the directors of the four divisions – State Parks, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Marine Resources and State Lands – have taken that message across the state in the past week to highlight those impacts if proposed cuts to the DCNR budget become reality.

At the third stop on that tour at Spanish Fort’s 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on Tuesday, Commissioner Guy implored the public to become involved in the process.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Alabama Marine Resources Director Chris Blankenship has a point to make, but the audience he needs to reach is not on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Alabama’s saltwater anglers are well aware of the red snapper story, so Blankenship reached out to what is known as the Washington (D.C.) bubble, where outside information has a hard time gaining attention.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Fire is your friend if you’re managing land for a variety of reasons, especially for wildlife habitat, according to Andy Baril of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES). Controlled fire, that is.

Baril, a regional extension agent in ACES’ Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources Division, was at the Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery over the weekend, and I asked him what hunters and wildlife managers can do right away to enhance their land with hunting seasons on the horizon.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Judging by the number of record fish caught in the past year and a half, it appears Alabama’s saltwater fishing is doing just fine.

Ten records were established in 2014, and five more have been established in 2015 with several months left to fish.

One of the most impressive fish that made the record book was a snowy grouper caught by Tyler Kennedy of Mobile in 2014. That fish weighed 68 pounds, 9 ounces. The world record is 70 pounds, 7 ounces.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Like humans this time of year, just about all God’s critters are looking for some shade, even those that give a good many people the shivers.

Despite being cold-blooded animals, snakes don’t like to get too hot in the summertime, and you may find a variety of reptiles seeking shelter from the hot summer sun.

A buddy of mine was concerned about finding a snake, which may or may not have been a cottonmouth, near his house recently.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Tucked inconspicuously among the rolling hills and back roads of rural Talladega County sits a modern marvel.

No, I’m not talking about the legendary Talladega Superspeedway, which dominates the conversation when the county name is mentioned.

I’m talking about a new facility just south of the Superspeedway that will leave any visitor stunned by its grandeur and size.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Identifying different shark species can be difficult even for an avid offshore angler. Even fisheries biologists sometimes have to take a closer look to determine a certain species. In the case of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR), the largest fishing event in the world, shark identification usually had to happen after the fish hit the weigh dock. In previous rodeos, several sharks, including species that didn’t qualify, died in the process.

No more. Thanks to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the 82nd annual rodeo will be the first to have a Shark Catch-And-Release category that will keep the sharks from being landed and give anglers a shot at a guaranteed $10,000 payout.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Rays of sunshine filter down through the opening in the canopy to the quarter-acre plot in DeSoto State Park, just what the plants on the ground need to maintain one of the most rare flora species around – the mountain green pitcher plant.

Pitcher plant bogs are quite a spectacular sight in south Alabama, where growing conditions are much more favorable. What makes the pitcher plant bog in DeSoto so

Thursday, June 11, 2015

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Whether the 2015 alligator season in Alabama can create the excitement of the record-setting 2014 season is anybody’s guess.

What is certain is that Alabama hunters will have plenty of opportunities for to search for a big alligator in multiple areas in Alabama.

The main change for the 2015 season is that Lake Eufaula has been separated from the Southeast Zone and will have its own regulations.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

 

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Chris Sherrill of Orange Beach, Ala., has a new mantra for anglers on the Alabama Gulf Coast – “Wait, don’t throw that back.”

Sherrill, the head chef and co-owner of Flora-Bama Yacht Club, which is across the road from the famous watering hole, is on a quest to get anglers who catch a wide variety of saltwater fish to keep several species that were once considered inedible.

Some of the species that Sherrill and his sous chef, Haikel Harris, have developed new methods of preparing include stingray, gafftopsail catfish and ladyfish.

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