Thursday, May 18, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When it comes to return on investment, very few programs can match the success of Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust.

Forever Wild was established in 1992 as a vehicle to preserve and protect important ecological and recreational tracts of land in the state. Voters approved the constitutional amendment that established Forever Wild with an overwhelming 84 percent approval.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The old axiom that the more things change, the more they stay the same is certainly true when it comes to the fiasco that has become the red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Except for the stormy weather on the final day, the 2017 wild turkey season in Alabama went out with a whimper.

However, that wasn’t a surprise to many because of a mild winter and early spring. Many expected the turkey breeding activity to be slightly ahead of a normal schedule as well.

Some, like Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Director Chuck Sykes, didn’t expect the last half of the season to be quite so tough, especially with more favorable weather conditions than in 2016.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Alabama’s coastal environment along the Fort Morgan peninsula and Dauphin Island provides critical habitat for a wide variety of birds en route to their summer breeding grounds.

Some of the birds make journeys that may be more than 1,000 miles to reach their preferred nesting grounds, and the coastal areas untouched by development give the birds a place to rest and replenish their drained energy and fat reserves.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The frenetic activity on the tip of the Gulf State Park Pier last weekend is more proof the northern Gulf of Mexico’s premium fishing and education pier is reeling with action.

Fishing on the Octagon at the end of the 1,542-foot pier that reaches into some prime Gulf fishing waters is not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

It appears the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will make at least one more attempt at regional management of the red snapper fishery.

At the Gulf Council meeting last week in Birmingham, three states petitioned the council to manage the fishery off their respective coasts out to 200 nautical miles, based on historical landings.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Anyone who has crossed the north end of Mobile Bay on either the Bayway or Battleship Parkway at low tide in the last few years likely would have noticed the numerous crab traps that littered the shallow water on the south side of the thoroughfares.

If you drive across that area now, very few crab traps remain on those shallow flats thanks to the Alabama Marine Resources Division’s Volunteer Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program that was conducted by volunteers and sponsors recently.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

A select few of the people involved in the outdoors reach what is called “larger than life” status. Some achieve that level because of their hunting and/or fishing skills, philanthropy or contributions to education with a goal to ensure cherished outdoors traditions are available to future generations.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to dust off the canoes and kayaks and take advantage of ano

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 31, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Dog deer hunters whose dogs trespass on private property will fall under a three-strike rule that was adopted at the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board meeting at Lake Guntersville State Park last weekend.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Chris Blankenship, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division, is on a mission, and the next month may be crucial to the outcome of his ultimate goal.

Blankenship was in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., this week to continue spreading Alabama’s common-sense approach to the management of the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The drizzle of rain didn’t bother Antoine Cheatham at all after the beagles that were released from the dog box hit the ground running.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The initial 2017 meeting of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board focused on how well Alabama’s hunters and saltwater anglers complied with reporting regulations, and the assessment definitely showed mixed results.

At the meeting last weekend in Montgomery, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division Director Chuck Sykes and Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) Director Chris Blankenship provided an overview of the two reporting systems they oversee.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

At one time trapping was almost as common in the Alabama outdoors as hunting deer, turkeys and quail. Through the years, as fur prices declined and the animal rights movement grew, trapping became stigmatized. The result was the number of trappers dwindled to almost nothing.

Lately, there has been an uptick in trapping participation but not for the same reasons our fathers and grandfathers did it. The trapping market is now driven more by wildlife management rather than fur production.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Oyster consumption has been occurring along the Alabama Gulf Coast for millennia with the Indian Shell Mound on Dauphin Island as historical evidence.

Fast forward to the 21st century and dining on oysters has increased exponentially. Instead of creating shell mounds, the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program is designed to use the discarded shells in more creative and productive ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It’s been said that delayed gratification is almost always sweeter than the instant variety. Anyone who saw Dudley Luckie’s face last week during the annual Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation would most definitely agree with that adage.

Luckie was scheduled to be at last year’s Life Hunt, which brings disabled and seriously ill individuals to one of the premier properties in Alabama to hunt white-tailed deer. But surgery to deal with Luckie’s daily battle with spina bifida kept him from attending.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When Adam Bearden and Nicki Greene are planning a date, there’s never any of the usual, “Well, what do you want to do?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Chuck Sykes is a happy guy, at least to a point. Sykes, the Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, has been regularly checking the number of deer reported through the Game Check system, which became mandatory for the 2016-2017 season.

“I figured that only about a third of the deer killed were being reported,” Sykes said.

During a routine road block in which State Troopers conducted checks for public safety and insurance verification, game wardens provided assistance and checked for conservation violations.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The 2016 fall season has been especially fruitful for the Alabama State Parks System. Starting with the overwhelming approval of Amendment 2 on the ballot in November to encouraging visitor numbers, enthusiasm abounds at State Parks.

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