Thursday, November 20, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Ninety white-tailed deer are grazing and running around in various parts of Alabama with distinctive collars around their necks. Those collars come in two colors, orange and brown, and the difference in colors is extremely important.

DO NOT shoot the orange-collared deer, please. The deer with brown collars have no such restriction, according to Dr. Stephen Ditchkoff at Auburn University, which is conducting studies on the collared deer through its white-tailed deer research program.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Despite its opposition to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Amendment 40, better known as Sector Separation, the Alabama Marine Resources Division decided that discretion is the better part of valor at last week’s Council meeting in Mobile.

Historically, the red snapper fishery in the Gulf has been divided into two segments, commercial and recreational. Amendment 40 will split the recreational sector into charter-for-hire vessels and private recreational anglers

Thursday, October 23, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As is often the case, Charles Jones of Asheville was behind the wheel of his 18-wheeler when he was passed by a vehicle with a special tag that really got his attention.

It was a Purple Heart tag, and Jones, a former Army Green Beret, said an idea popped into his head and it wouldn’t leave.

When Jones is not on the road, he’s usually at Scott Deuel’s Stick Lake Hunting Preserve on top of Straight Mountain north of Springville, Ala.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

One of the most endearing aspects of living in semi-rural Alabama in the mid-to-late 1990s was a sound emanating from a 20-acre pecan grove adjacent to our home.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Thursday, October 2, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As I’ve said before, I was fortunate to grow up with an outdoors-oriented father who planted the seed that would eventually direct my adult life. One aspect of that exposure to the outdoors was archery, in the forms of both target shooting and bowhunting.

In fact, my late father and some of his friends built a quasi-3-D archery range outside of the small town where we lived. It was quasi because there weren’t any 3-D targets at the time, but the range was set up in the woods with varying terrain and unknown distances, that is until you shot a few rounds. I spent many Saturdays shooting and maintaining the range.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Thursday, September 11, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

One gator has dominated the outdoors coverage this summer and rightfully so. Mandy Stokes’ world record American alligator at 15-feet, 9-inches is famous worldwide.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Since the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board voted to make crossbows legal for hunting in Alabama in 2004, the crossbow phenomenon took a while to get rolling. However, in recent years, that segment of the archery business has been on fire.

Evidence of that came recently at the Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery, where everything even remotely connected with outdoors recreation was on display, including crossbows.

One of the manufacturers known for its compound bows, Mathews Inc., recently entered the crossbow market, which has been dominated by companies like Barnett, Horton, TenPoint, Excalibur and Darton.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The rainbow trout are biting in north Alabama. What’d you say? There are no rainbow trout in Alabama because there’s no water cold enough for rainbow trout, right?

Wrong. There is one spot in Alabama that can support rainbow trout – the Lewis Smith Dam tailrace, where water from the bottom of the clear-water lake remains in the 60s during the summer heat.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

By DAVID RAINER, ADCNR

As a lifelong bass fisherman who caught his first black bass on a Johnson spincast reel with a purple Creme worm a long, long time ago, I can honestly say the thrill of setting the hook has not faded after all these years.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

As happens on occasion, my youngest daughter asked if I had read the story about a man from Ocean Springs, Miss., who died after a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

She started reading the symptoms from the story.

“Vibrio,” I said. “What does the story say?”

She said it didn’t indicate a cause but mentioned the man’s underlying health problems.

The next day, she said, “You were right. They updated the story and it was vibrio vulnificus.”

I point this out not to cause panic or dread, but to inform people who enjoy our coastal waters about precautions to ensure it will be a safe and enjoyable excursion.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

By David Rainer

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

There’s almost nothing that will get your attention more than wildfire, especially when it happens on such an eco-sensitive location as Dauphin Island.

Unfortunately, that rude awakening occurred three years ago when a spark that originated somewhere on the edge of the campground roared through 80 acres of pristine, barrier island habitat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

This is a story about a big fish. But this one didn’t get away. It’s a woulda, coulda, shoulda tale of a largemouth bass, one of those that people deem a whopper, a jaw-dropper when they see the mount.

Since 1987, Thomas Burgin’s 16-pound, 8-ounce bass that was caught at Mountain View Lake in Shelby County has reigned atop the Alabama Freshwater Records Book.There may have been a fish as big or bigger caught in Clarke County earlier this year, but inquiring minds will never know.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 

Not at all surprising, bass fishing in Alabama in 2013 was outstanding. But don’t take my word for it; that assessment came from those who are on the state’s abundant lakes and rivers almost every weekend through the Bass Anglers Information Team (B.A.I.T.) Report, published annually by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF).

Damon Abernethy, WFF’s Fisheries Development Coordinator, said one particular Tennessee River lake maintained the momentum it established in 2012.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

While manning the Outdoor Alabama booth at the Rick and Bubba Outdoor Expo in Birmingham over Father’s Day weekend, I observed what I pretty much already knew: Alabama is a deer-hunting state.

The observation came from the free magazines we offered at the booth with various cover photos. Without a doubt, the magazine that disappeared the quickest was the one with a big whitetail buck on the cover.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

While it may be making headlines around the state, the lifting of the prohibition on firearms suppressors will likely have little impact on the hunting seasons in Alabama.

Although the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board voted at its May meeting to lift the ban on suppressors, that doesn’t mean hunters will have easy access to the devices.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

With 6 feet of water covering the parking lot at the Tuscahoma Landing boat ramp, Phillip Roberts and James Hall didn’t hesitate to adjust. The road leading down the hill toward the Tombigbee River became the makeshift ramp for the Roberts’ custom-built aluminum boat made specifically for the task ahead – running hoop nets.

Roberts said their hoop netting is a tribute to the past when the folks along the river scraped by on whatever they could do to put food on the table. In the 20th century in rural Choctaw County, if you didn’t cruise, cut or haul timber, the choices were somewhat limited.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When a morning in turkey woods in Alabama can impress one of the most experienced hunters in the world, it speaks a great deal about what the state has to offer in natural resources.

Dr. James Earl Kennamer of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) joined about 70 other hunters for the revival of the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt after a six-year hiatus.

Headquartered at the Marriott Legends in Prattville, the Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt paired industry and business executives, celebrities and outdoors media with gracious landowners and some of the top guides in the state for the two-day event.

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