Thursday, July 4, 2013
July 4, 2013
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Heritage matters when it comes to managing large game animals like white-tailed deer, and Alabama’s deer herd can be best described as a patchwork of different genetic strains with a corresponding patchwork of rutting activity.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Weather permitting, The Wet Willie Band will be rocking when David W[INVALID] and his crew from W[INVALID] Marine open the valves on a 271-foot coastal freighter and send it to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles south of Orange Beach.

The freighter, which officially will be rechristened “The LuLu” Friday afternoon at a ceremony at LuLu’s Homeport restaurant on the Intracoastal Canal in Gulf Shores, will be a new tack in reef deployment off the Alabama Gulf Coast with the focus on the recreational diving community.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Finally, the hurdles to restoring an Alabama Gulf Coast landmark are starting to fall.

The Gulf State Park Hotel and Conference Center were obliterated by a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. For a variety of reasons, the old hotel and conference site has been devoid of any structure since the hurricane made landfall with near 130 mph winds.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
When it comes to fishing renown among the Tennessee River lakes in Alabama, Wilson is the lake most likely to be overlooked despite its smallmouth bass population. When it comes to real estate, Wilson’s 154 miles of shoreline is covered with houses, camps, weekend retreats and multi-million-dollar mansions.

Brent Crow of Decatur, Ala., is uniquely positioned to take advantage of both the less-pressured fishing and the real estate market. Crow owns a captain’s license and a real estate license. If requested, Crow’s real estate clients can get the view of the property from inside his bass boat.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
The precision casts were effortless and the hooksets flawless. The tackle was selected with extreme care, and the knots in the fishing line were cinched with ease.

No, I’m not talking about the anglers at the latest professional bass fishing tournament that is so common in Alabama. The people performing these skillful tasks are barely old enough to have their driver’s licenses.

These are members of the Alabama Student Anglers Bass Fishing Association (ASABFA), which is raising the level of competition to unexpected heights.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Confession time: I’m a seafood snob with no plans to repent. Living more than 20 years on the Alabama Gulf Coast will lead to this inevitable conclusion – there’s nothing like the appetizing oysters, succulent shrimp and crabs and flavorful fish fresh from Alabama’s estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico.

Shining a light on this somewhat overlooked fact is the reason Gov. Robert Bentley formed the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC), which is tasked with spreading the word about the great value and quality of Alabama’s seafood.

Thursday, February 7, 2013
February 7, 2013
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The eye contact with the frantic gray squirrel seemed frozen in time. The squirrel had been knocked from his perch in a scaly bark hickory by one of the youths participating in the 16th annual Barbour County WMA Youth Hunt last weekend. The bushy-tailed critter was looking for cover when he latched onto the side of a lay-down, a tree that had succumbed to some wind storm in the not-too-distant past.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Clinton Walston was sitting in one of his favorite waterfowl hunting areas on Lake Guntersville this past season when a duck came whistling past.

What was thought to be just one of the 20 or so species that visit the Tennessee River chain in Alabama each year turned out to be a very special duck, at least in Walston’s hunting history.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Even though David Brown wasn’t among the 11 hunters who bagged a deer during the annual Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation near Safford, Ala., the reward was just being there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 

The 2012 Master National was a bittersweet event for Rob Leatherbury of Fairhope, Ala. One of the biggest stages in the nation for hunting retrievers was missing one entry, a Labrador that had become basically a member of the Leatherbury family.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Elvis was spotted hanging around Opp, Ala., recently. So were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella, not to mention a pioneer family toiling away at daily chores.

A refreshing walk in the park, Frank Jackson State Park to be exact, will reveal all of the above characters, which are featured characters in the Scarecrows in the Park display constructed by the Frank Jackson State Park Trailmasters.

The Scarecrows in the Park display will be available at the park for the daily park entrance fee.

Ironically, it was that park entrance fee that prompted the birth of the Trailmasters organization.

Thursday, August 16, 2012
August 16, 2012
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Previous failure can sometimes manifest in doubt. For Jamie Gray, it served as motivation recently on the world’s biggest sports stage, the Olympics.

Gray, who lives in Phenix City, Ala., with her U.S. Army marksman husband, vividly remembers the shot in Beijing, China, that cost her a medal in the XXIX Olympiad in 2008. It was foremost on her mind last week during the 50-meter 3-position rifle competition in London.

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Cool, clear water splashed in every direction as the youngsters involved in the Fresh Air Family’s Gross Out Camp cavorted in the shallow waters of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.

The camp is part of the Fresh Air Family’s initiative to connect today’s generation of children and families to the outdoors in the manner that previous generations enjoyed. Verna Gates, who founded Fresh Air Family in Birmingham in 2006, realized that if kids were allowed to sit in front of TVs or computer screens that society’s connection to the outdoors would soon become tenuous at best.

Thursday, June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Lake Guntersville has been a hallowed place for Mike Carter as long as he can remember. He even took his first paycheck as a 16-year-old grocery bagger to buy a set of waders to fish this fertile section of the Tennessee River in north Alabama.
 
“My parents weren’t too crazy about me buying the waders,” Carter said. “But I had to have a way to fish the lake. When I was 20, I got my first bass boat.
Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

With the bulk of the hunting seasons almost over, it’s time to think about storing your equipment. When it comes to putting away your firearms for an extended period, specific care is needed. Just ask Russ Sockwell, head gunsmith at Mark’s Outdoors in Birmingham, about some of the firearms that have come to his workbench over the years.

While there are occasional parts failures, the majority of the problems Sockwell sees are due to one thing, a lack of maintenance.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Only a few times in my 40 years of hunting have I assumed the role of guide during one of my excursions afield. Yet, that is exactly what happened recently at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) deer hunt at the Barnett Lawley Field Trial Area at the former State Cattle Ranch.

A dozen ladies who had previously participated in a BOW event were randomly drawn for the hunt in the heart of the Alabama Black Belt, known for its fine deer and turkey hunting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011
November 3, 2011
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Alabama’s bowhunting community recently added another convert to its fold. Neal Foster of Mobile, a lifelong deer hunter who heretofore had bagged his game solely with a rifle, received an adrenalin-flushed awakening about hunting with bow and arrows.

However, it was his prowess with the rifle that eventually led to his introduction to the archery world. Foster, an avid king mackerel fisherman who has had a great deal of success on the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) tournament circuit, was entered in a big buck contest with a bunch of his SKA buddies.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 22, 2011

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The generosity of Alabama’s outdoors community continues to amaze me. When it comes to sharing our great outdoors with our military – veterans, active duty and wounded warriors – Alabama shines.

A perfect example of the community working together to treat our veterans and active military to Alabama’s abundant outdoors treasures occurred in Macon County when the A HERO Foundation put together a bass fishing weekend for the military, including Marines of all ages and from all parts of the country.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

President Ronald Reagan probably said it best when he uttered these words in 1985: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

That quote is emblazoned on a display with the Marines’ insignia of Eagle, Globe and Anchor in the museum on Parris Island, S.C., the Marine Corps Recruit Depot synonymous with turning raw recruits into Marines.

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