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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 27, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

After the second day of the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, Springville’s Randy Howell and I were in the back of the media center in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, pondering the possibilities of the third and final day of the Classic.

One of the top bass-fishing lakes in the nation, Lake Guntersville had proven ornery during the three-day event after a deluge in the Tennessee River valley dumped tons of fresh, muddy water into the reservoir that traverses some 75 miles in northeast Alabama.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Acknowledging that the correct action is not always the popular choice when wild animals are involved, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) officials say the division will always give public safety immediate precedence.

The case in point is the recent incident that involved “pet” deer located on Dauphin Island. WFF officers removed the deer, both does, from the island. Many on the island who considered the illegally transported deer as “pets” were outraged.

Fact is, the officers had no other choice because the behavior of wild animals is unpredictable and poses a safety risk to humans.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

When the first real cold front of the fall sweeps through Alabama, my attention starts to focus on the many hunting opportunities that our great state offers. However, that doesn’t mean I disregard a fishing invitation when it comes my way this time of year.

In fact, fall and winter fishing in L.A. (Lower Alabama), can be some of the best of the year along the Gulf Coast.

When my buddy, Jay Gunn, sent a text and asked if I wanted to go fishing in Magnolia River recently, I sent a one-word text back – “certainly.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Quincey Banks thinks the Mentoring Sportsmen of Alabama program is at a tipping point. Although the program has tried to connect youngsters with the outdoors for several years with some success, the 2013 special youth deer hunting season has raised Banks’ hope for the future.

Banks, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Sergeant Aurora Thomas and several mentor volunteers from southeast Alabama were welcomed to Sawtooth Plantation in Russell County, where owner John Cassimus gave the youths an opportunity to harvest a white-tailed deer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7, 2013

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Hope springs eternal for any bass fisherman, who is sure the next cast will result in an acrobatic bucketmouth leaping on the end of the line.

That applies especially to professional bass anglers like Russ Lane of Prattville, who has one more shot at turning a disappointing 2013 season into a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, which will be held Feb. 21-23 on Lake Guntersville with weigh-ins at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23, 2012

By DAVID RAINER

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 Did you know that Alabama has more than 80 species of crayfish? I thought all those crawfish we scooped out of the ditches and sloughs to use for bait on a trotline were about the extent of the crawfish diversity.

However, there is a group of dedicated wildlife and fisheries scientists and specialists who take great pride in identifying and conserving the great biodiversity of animals and aquatic species in Alabama and around the nation.

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