By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Buying Christmas gifts for those who love the outdoors can be a daunting task simply because we tend to already be outfitted for every excursion into the woods or on the water.
If you’re struggling to find that perfect gift, here are a few suggestions that might not have come to mind.
Alabama State Parks Gift Card
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama State Parks system has provided a welcome respite, with ample ways to enjoy our state’s great outdoors. In fact, 11 State Parks have been awarded the TripAdvisor’s “2020 Travelers’ Choice Awards” because of the great reviews.
One of the best ways to share our great parks is to purchase a gift card that can be used at most parks in a variety of ways. The cards can be used at Alabama State Parks campgrounds and gift shops. You can reserve campsites or reserve boats, canoes or kayaks for your outdoors adventures.
You can purchase the gift cards at most Alabama State Parks, or you can go online to https://www.reservealapark.com/AlabamaWebHome/Giftcards/Giftcard.aspx and make the purchase with a credit card. When you click on the gift card link, you will be required to set up an online account to make a purchase.
Black Belt Bounty
In terms of coffee table books, Black Belt Bounty is a gift that deserves prominent display all year-round. The award-winning book, commissioned by the Alabama Black Belt Adventure Association (ALBBAA), celebrates the Black Belt’s rich hunting and fishing heritage and gives in-depth looks at all that makes the region so special.
The deluxe hardcover book was awarded first place in the Industry Public Relations Category from the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s (SEOPA) annual Excellence in Craft awards. It took third place in the Outdoor Book Category by SEOPA. The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) presented Black Belt Bounty with their featured award for the Best of Industry Public Relations.
The Black Belt includes Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox counties. The region is known for its fertile soil and abundant outdoors opportunities for hunting, fishing and exploration.
Black Belt Bounty chapters include First Hunters and Gatherers; Traditions and Rites of Passage; The Land and Water; Conservation Partners and Practices; Field Trial History; Champion Trainers and Dogs; Photographic Essays: Seasons of Whitetail and Wild Turkey Rituals; Fishing for Bass, Crappie and Catfish; Faces of the Black Belt; Sustainable Living; Wild Game Recipes from Celebrity Chefs; and Signature Dishes from Hunting Lodges.
Visit https://alabamablackbeltadventures.org/blackbeltbountybook/ to purchase Black Belt Bounty.
Full disclosure: I provided three features for the book but don’t receive any compensation from book sales.
Memories of Spring
One of the best turkey hunters I’ve had the pleasure to share the turkey woods with has penned a remarkable memoir of his life chasing the majestic bird. Ron Jolly provides his perspective of spending nearly six decades hunting and videoing wild turkeys across the nation. Memories of Spring shares what drives hunters in their pursuit of this wily bird as well as the memorable turkeys that cause hunters every emotion from jubilation to sweat-inducing nightmares.
Not only is the book an essential read for anyone who pursues wild game, but the book is filled with photos from his award-winning photographer wife, Tes Randle Jolly.
Jolly’s previous boss, Will Primos of “Primos Truth About Hunting” fame, said about the book, “Memories of Spring just may be the latest and greatest insight into turkey hunting that members of the Tenth Legion will salute.”
You can order Memories of Spring from Amazon or send check or money order to Jolly’s Outdoor Visions, 204 Fast Lane, Tuskegee, AL 36083. You can message Ron D. Jolly or Tes Randle Jolly on Facebook for more details.
Ron has also teamed up with another legendary turkey hunter, Preston Pittman, to produce a commemorative Memories of Spring box call. The first run of 200 calls has sold out, but you might be able to get a second edition with a birdseye maple chassis and walnut lid when they return to production this week.