June 13, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

High winds and waves during the two opening weekends of red snapper season is the perfect example of why Capt. Randy Boggs has promoted a novel concept for the head boats that fish the Gulf of Mexico.

Boggs, who owns two head boats docked at SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, has pushed has pushed for a pilot program that would allow up to 20 head boats to choose their days at sea. Head boats are walk-on charters that charge a daily fee per head and typically carry more anglers than charter boats, which are most often booked by groups.

June 12, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Sometimes surprises come in big packages, some 10 feet and longer.

While visiting old friends last weekend at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic (MGCBC) in Biloxi, a steady stream of boats was backing down to the weigh dock with huge fish.

With 53 boats from all over the Gulf Coast participating, the top boats would usually be spread out among the five Gulf states, but this MGCBC was an exception. Basically, boats from Alabama ruled.

The top two blue marlin were landed by Alabama boats, which also had the winning yellowfin tuna, the third-place wahoo and swept the top three spots in the dolphin category.

October 10, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When he was a kid, Michael Niemeyer found adventure in the outdoors, discovering and interacting with as many animals as he could find in south Alabama. As an adult, he’s turned that passion into a vocation.

Niemeyer and J.J. McCool formed a business, Wildlife Solutions, that deals with the outdoors as a whole. McCool specializes in habitat restoration and enhancement. Niemeyer is the “critter getter,” handling the nuisance animal aspect of the operation.

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Marine Says "Fishing Makes Day Better"

June 6, 2013

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

A little more than a week ago, the nation celebrated Memorial Day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Occasionally, we get the opportunity to celebrate those who are still serving our great country.

Such was the case when Marine Lance Corporal Taylor Klarman headed home to Baldwin County for some R&R after a tour in Afghanistan. Although a big sow bass in Magnolia River refused to fall for any of the lures Taylor tossed her way, he knew he was home.

December 13, 2012

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
 
A week or so ago, a friend sent me a picture of the feeder he has on his property in Baldwin County. He’s sent me photos before, but they had always contained a nice buck or two. This photo was different. The feeder was totally surrounded by feral hogs.

Other landowners, hunters and farmers are experiencing the same anxiety as the feral hog problem continues to spread throughout Alabama and the nation. Feral hogs are now found in 45 states with no abatement in sight.

May 1, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Playing catch-up is a difficult task in almost every endeavor. That’s especially true when the issue at hand is the explosion in the feral hog population.

I heard a story last week from a hog hunter who had trapped and relocated a group of hogs to the Tombigbee River swamp in the 1980s before everyone realized what a destructive force an unchecked wild hog could become.

The complicit owner of the swamp told the hog hunter, “If I knew then what I know now, I’d have killed you and the hogs.”

While that statement might be a bit over the top, landowners with feral hog infestations know the damage these eating machines can wreak.

By DAVID RAINER

For the first time in memory, Alabama qualified more anglers than any state for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic that was recently held in New Orleans. Alabama sent 10 fishermen to the Classic, which was won by arguably the most dominant angler in professional bass fishing history – Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.

January 19, 2013
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
Chuck Sykes celebrated his 42nd birthday in a most unusual way: The Choctaw County native spent the day plunging into his new role as the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director.

Sykes’ career change will bring a new perspective for him on the outdoors he loves and has spent his life advancing.

“That was the first day I had ever sat behind a desk,” said Sykes. “I’ve been a private, on-the-ground, hands-dirty, Carhartt, snake-boots kind of guy. So right now, I’m learning.”

February 20, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 Seconds after Robert Collins opened the doors of the dog boxes on the back of his truck, the beagles had their collective noses to the ground.

Within a minute or so, the first beagle barked and sniffed for more evidence that a rabbit was nearby. Although the trail never got hot, Collins said, “He may not be here right now, but he’s been here this morning. See, here’s his tracks. And they’re fresh.”

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

April 26, 2012
 
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
 
If there had been a class similar to the one taught recently in Greene County, I’m almost certain I would have been near the head of the class. Of course, this class is on a subject that continues to intrigue me so many years after I finished my secondary education – fishing.
 
That’s right, fishing. Why didn’t our educators come up with a curriculum like that when I was 14 years old?

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