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Official Publication of the ACEOA WWW.ACEOA.


Gayle Morrow

Brent-Wyatt West 8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207 Montgomery, Alabama 36117

in this issue...
2012 2013 State Officers and Directors  From the Trenches  2012 Officer of The Year Kevin Hill  Annual Scholarship Winners  Beyond The Basics  Life Hunt Classic 2013  Disabled Police Officer Enjoys Buckmasters Life Hunt  Alabamian Named NWTF Law Enforcement Officer of the Year  EnviroScape Watershed Model  Youngsters Swarm to Barbour WMA Youth Hunt  Sykes Becomes WFF Director on Birthday  Kids Korner  Coosa County Forestry Tour 2012  Limestone County Youth Dove Hunt  Alabama Hunter Education Banquet  Bluebills Long Journey Leads to Alabama  February Deer Season Proposed for SW Alabama  Youth Hunt at The Oaks  Camden Youth Hunt  On Gulf Coast Restoration 

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Chris Banks / Jim Downing 8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207 Montgomery, Alabama 36117 (334) 213-6229

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Mobile County CEO Kevin Hill earns ACEOAs Officer of the year recognition for going beyond his regular duties to uphold the law and to seek justice and for being a team player in sharing credit for his successes.

ACEMagazine is the official publication of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association. Purchase of advertising space does not entitle the advertisers to any privileges or favors from members. ACEMagazine does not assume responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by any contributor. This magazine is created and produced by BrentWyatt West. Copyright 2013.  All rights reserved.

Preservation or Conservation?  Alabamas Largest and Most Affordable Hunting Club  Henry County 2012 Youth Dove Hunt  ACEOA Membership Application  Advertisers Index  Business Directory 

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2012 2013 State Officers and Directors

Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement Retired) Chris Jaworowski President Heath Walls Vice President Chris Lewis Secretary/Treasurer Ernie Stephens Director Wendell Fulks Associate Director Blount, Colbert, Cullman, Fayette, Franklin, L amar, L auderdale, L awrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Walker, Winston Scott Kellenberger Director Jerry Fincher Associate Director Joel Glover Associate Director Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, DeK alb, Etowah, Jackson, Marshall, R andolph, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa Grady Myers Director Cliff Robinson Associate Director Autauga, Bibb, Chilton, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lowndes, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, Tuscaloosa John Bozeman Director Vance Woods Associate Director Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Montgomery, Pike, Russell Don Reaves Director Joe Little Associate Director Bo Willis Associate Director Baldwin, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Washington, Wilcox

Executive Director

2012 2013 ACEOA State Officers DISTRICT I




ACE Magazine
Gayle Morrow Editor For questions about your District Director, ACEOA, or membership contact: Rusty Morrow, P.O. Box 74, Lowndesboro, AL 36752, (334) 391-9113, rusty_morrow@yahoo.com

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From the Trenches

By Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

he delay of the winter issue of ACE Magazine has several reasons. First of all, our Newsletter to all officers comes out in January of each year. A good portion of our time is spent preparing our budget; so the officers in each district can make sure the events are funded. The newsletter informs them of where your contributions go. This year our events and funding have increased thanks to the support of our corporate sponsorship. We appreciate your continued support. Only you make this possible. Secondly, but not any more important, is the Legislatures plan to consolidate state law enforcement under Public Safety. This is being discussed at the time of writing and by the time this issue is distributed it could be

law. How does this affect our Conservation Officers? The answer would be so broad Im not sure the space allowed in this column is enough. I do not plan to bore you with a lot of politics. But, because you support ACEOA, you in turn support Conservation Enforcement Officers. SB 108 is the Governors bill that consolidates state law enforcement. In this bill the Marine Police Division will go across to Public Safety. Wildlife and freshwater fisheries law enforcement and marine resources law enforcement will remain under the Conservation Department. There

are several reasons why we are left behind. Some are credible, some Im not sure have merit. With this being said, we believe we are hung out to dry. It is a fact that the consolidation of 14 state law enforcement agencies under the Public Safety umbrella will be a very powerful lobby. Headlines in todays paper (2-21-13) only prove this theory. The money saved in this consolidation plan could go to raises for the public safety employees. There is no mention of raises for the law enforcement agencies not under the consolidation. I have been very much involved and have been in every session since it started this year. Our association even approved an amendment to SB108 and introduced it in the public hearing in the House committee. This amendment was nothing more than protective language that made sure that the law enforcement agencies of the Conservation Department left behind would maintain their current law enforcement status and receive any benefits and raises that the agencies under public safety received. Senator Marsh had issues with the amendment and it was voted down 5 to 4 by the committee. It has never been an issue whether we would be in consolidation but what would happen to us if we were not included. Our concerns have become reality. We are not protected. I can tell you this Association is watching this very closely. We have a dog in this fight and plan to make ourselves heard. The Spring issue of ACE Magazine will inform our readers of its progress. On a lot more friendly note, this issue of Ace Magazine is our favorite. We get to feature the LIFE HUNT CLASSIC at Sedgefields Plantation in Dallas county and our 2012 Officer of the year. Please enjoy it as much as we have being involved in it. When finished pass it on to a friend. Ill leave you with this Quote: So often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. The Eagles, Already Gone  l
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CEO Don Reaves, ACEOA Officer of the Year Kevin Hill, and ACEOA Executive Director Rusty Morrow at the Awards Banquet.

Kevin Hills friends and family gathered at the ACEOA Officer of the Year Awards Banquet.
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2012 OFFICER OF THE YEAR continued

July 26, 2012 Dear Selection Committee Members: I would like to nominate CEO Kevin Hill for the ACEOA Officer of The Year Award. CEO Hill has worked in Mobile County since being hired in August of 2006. In that time Kevin has become a force to be reckoned with by making numerous and high-profile conservation arrests as well as making and/or assisting other agencies with drug, theft, and arson-related cases. On January 30, 2012, CEO Hill was checking a poaching-complaint property and noticed someone hiding along a pipeline; Hill kept driving so as not to alert the poacher. Stopping a short distance away, he walked back to the area and made visual contact with the man. Hill knew the poacher, Darren Lavender, from previous arrests. When Lavender realized Hill was near he ran in an attempt to evade arrest. During the chase Lavender set several fires in the woods in an effort to slow Hills dogged pursuit. CEO Hill attempted to put out the fires but was forced to call for help from a local volunteer fire department. He also called for Blaze, the Alabama Forestry Commissions tracking dog. Working with the dogs handler, Hill tracked Lavender to his fathers home in a nearby neighborhood. Hill assisted in gathering evidence and building a felony case on Lavender for arson as well as numerous hunting violations. Knowing of pending warrants, Lavender went underground and left Mobile County. A tip from an apartment manager in south Baldwin County put Lavender back on Hills radar. After arranging for a warrant-service team consisting of officers from several local and state agencies, Hill arrested Lavender and two others in the apartment on May 10, 2012. In addition to Lavenders various charges, the trio also had drugs and paraphernalia in the living room when Hill and the team made their entry. After Miranda Warnings, Lavender made a full confession to all the hunting and arsonrelated charges. These cases have generated much publicity as they were featured in a popular outdoor magazine. They also prompted a letter from the property owners to be sent to the District Five Office. This type of tenacious pursuit combined with patience is truly evidence of a seasoned professional. The fact that he readily seeks help and shares the credit for his arrests and caseload indicates that Kevin is a true team player. His actions in these arrests and the pursuit of Lavender certainly put a favorable light on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with other agencies and the general public. I believe, and hope you will agree, that CEO Kevin Hill is also worthy of special attention as the 2012 ACEOA Officer of the Year. Thank you for your consideration, Lt. James M. McNeil

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2012 OFFICER OF THE YEAR Kevin Hill Earns Honors From Trade Group continued

Mobile County Game Warden Kevin Hill Earns Officer Of The Year Honors From Trade Group
By Jeff Dute, Press-Register Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012
MOBILE, AlabamaKevin the Alabama Wildlife and Hills eyes light up like a kid Freshwater Fisheries Division on a first dove hunt or fishEnforcement Section and gave ing trip when he talks about credit to Lt. Mike McNeil for his job. helping mentor his developThats not uncommon for ment as an officer during folks such as Hill, 41, who that time. truly love their job. With his academic and Its one of many reapractical experience in hand, Hill had no trouble getting sons that the Mobilian was hired by the conservation named the 2012 Alabama department in 2006. For the Conservation Enforcement past six years, hes been Officers Association officer of the year. Mobile County conservation enforcement officer Kevin Hill protecting Alabamas natural The association is a non- has been named the Alabama Conservation Enforcement resources in Mobile County. profit organization founded Officer Associations officer of the year. Above, Hill releases Its a perfect fit. and supported by Alabama a juvenile alligator that was rescued last week from a When they called me and swimming pool in west Mobile County. told me I got Mobile County, conservation enforcement I thought, Man, Im gonna be officers and concerned citizens. Its membership also includes officers from marine a concrete game warden, Hill said. It was a pleasant awakening when I got down here. With everything we resources, marine police, state lands and state parks. have on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, other waterways, the Hill, a native of Thomasville, didnt immediately start down the path to conservation law enforcement. Straight hunting and fishing, theres nowhere else Id rather be out of Auburn with a forestry degree in 1994, Hill worked in Alabama. 11 years with a private forestry consultant firm, then with While Hill gets to enjoy those resources, he gets his the state forestry commission. greatest enjoyment from protecting them. He admitted It was during the latter experience that Hill saw his the favorite part of his job is hunting the people who future come into focus. threaten those resources. It just hit me while riding around the woods when Im no adrenaline junky, but you cant help but be I was with the forestry commission that this is what I want excited by the anticipation of working a case, he said. to do, he said. You never know whats going to happen. That sets us He headed back to Auburn in 2005 and in three apart to a degree from other law enforcement because semesters added a criminal-justice degree to his rsum. we have the mentality that we know they have a gun. While back at school, Hill worked two internships with continued on 13
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2012 OFFICER OF THE YEAR Kevin Hill Earns Honors From Trade Group continued
Though Hill has caught as many as 32 poachers at night in one year, he said the largest number of calls he gets deal with nuisance animals such as raccoons and alligators. Like many conservation enforcement officers, Hill said his upbringing as a hunter and fisherman instilled a deep respect for animals and fish. Through his work, hes protecting a heritage to be passed on to future generations. Kids today get into so many other things whether it be video games or drugs. Hunting and fishing are way better ways to occupy their time, he said. Thats why Im always lenient on juveniles. Working with the kids and their parents, I try to tell them the right way to do it and help them understand how important our natural resources are and how quickly it can all go away. Hill said public relations efforts like that are among the most important, yet most difficult, parts of his job. Were the face of the department in our counties. It helps me do my job when people know that I try to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, Hill said. Sometimes its hard to do. Cpt. Kenneth Blalock, the chief of the District V Enforcement Section, said Hill has earned a reputation for being willing to go anywhere and anytime to make a case. Kevin is very enthusiastic. He doesnt care if its wet, cold, whatever, he doesnt mind going and jumping into it, Blalock said. Whatever it takes to get the job done, thats what he wants to do. n




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Annual Scholarship
Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association
Scholarship rules can be found on the ACEOA website at www.aceoa.org

Tabitha Fulks
ACEOA awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Tabitha, wife of CEO Wendell Fulks of Limestone County. Tabitha must take three classes in order to get her elementary education teaching certificate reinstated, so she is currently enrolled at University of North Alabama taking the first of the three entitled Computer Based Instructional Technology. She also substitute teaches at West Limestone High School on a daily basis. Tabitha plans to be eligible for an elementary teaching position by the fall of 2013. Congratulations, Tabitha, and best wishes to you!

Stacia Champion
ACEOA awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Stacia Champion, daughter of CEO and Mrs. Chris Champion of Morgan County. Stacia is enrolled at Athens State University. She is majoring in Accounting and Business. Congratulations, Stacia, and best wishes to you!

Ann McNeil
ACEOA awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Anna Christian McNeil, daughter of Lt. Mike and wife Kay McNeil of Butler County. Anna is enrolled at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Greenville, Alabama. She later plans to enroll at the MacArthur Campus in Opp, Alabama where she will pursue a degree in Sonography. Congratulations, Anna, and best wishes to you!

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Beyond The Basics

By Gayle Morrow, Editor

he Alabama Conservation Officer is a government employee assigned to management of freshwater fish, wildlife, marine resources, waterway safety, state lands, and state parks. Conservation officers are certified at the state level as peace officers. To ensure that wildlife is being protected, conservation officers have a number of basic duties that they must fulfill. These include, but are not limited to, Law Enforcement, licensing, patrolling, investigating and education. Most people do not realize that our officers often go beyond the basics in their everyday duties. Because of their training in law enforcement, their broad knowledge of Alabama land and waterways and their experience in search and rescue, they are called upon when disaster

strikes. They were there in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. They were there during and after Hurricane Katrina. When the Gulf Oil Spill devastated the Gulf Coast, your Alabama Conservation Officers were there. They are your unsung heroes. They have stories to tell that you wont read in the newspaper or see on the nightly news. They just quietly do their jobs and walk away. We usually focus on our Alabama officers for this section but we want to share a special article written by Dr. James Swan. We appreciate the permission from Dr. Swan and Matt Korovesis, Managing Editor Outdoor Hub to re-print the article. The story just emphasizes the value of the conservation enforcement officer. l

Game Wardens: The Key to Finding Christopher Dorner

By James Swan, Photos by James Swan

he ex-LAPD officer who shot his way into the national headlines af ter killing four people and wounding several others on a dramatic crime spree, Christopher Dorner, was James Swan tracked into the Big Bear Lake area of southern California last week. Upwards of 200 law enforcement officers were engaged in the manhunt, which began on February 6th and spread throughout California and Mexico. By Sunday, the search began to focus elsewhere. The California Fish and Wildlife wardens volunteered to join in the hunt and ultimately it was game wardens who appear to have found the elusive murder suspect. According to California Fish and Wildlife Public Information Officers Pat Foy and Mark Michilizzini, at

about 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, February 12, two game wardens came to a stopped school bus on Highway 38 near the resort community of Big Bear Lake 80 miles east of Los Angeles. When the school bus started up and passed the wardens, they noticed a purple Nissan sedan was following the school bus very closely. Then they saw that the Nissan was being driven by a person who fit the description of Christopher Dorner. Dorner allegedly got the car days before when he broke into a home, tied up a couple and held them hostage. The wardens turned around and began pursuit. The driver quickly turned down Glass Road. After a short pursuit at high speed, the man authorities believe to be Dorner failed to negotiate a curve and crashed the Nissan into the woods. Almost immediately, the suspect stopped a truck
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BEYOND THE BASICS The Key to Finding Christopher Dorner continued

driven by Rick Heltebrake, a ranger at a nearby Boy Scout camp, and ordered him out of the pickup with his dog. Heltebrake and dog were unharmed. The man then took off in the white pickup. He then passed another game warden truck with one warden. That warden radioed of the position of the truck and its direction. A third game warden truck then came on the scene with two wardens. On seeing that truck approaching him, the suspect rolled down the window of his vehicle and opened fire on the approaching truck with a pistol. Five bullets hit the truck, two entering the cab. Luckily no one was hit. The man then took off on another road, as one of the game wardens, a former Marine, got out of his shot-up truck and began firing with his rifle, hitting the targeted truck several times. The driver then crashed that truck, got out, and ran for a cabin, as the wardens were joined by San Bernardino County Sheriffs deputies who swarmed after him on foot. Two deputies were wounded in the chase, and one subsequently died. Their target then fled to a cabin, where he holed up. At one point he tried to flee, but was driven back inside. A fierce gun battle then ensued. Finally, deputies were able to approach the cabin in an armored vehicle and began battering it down. Ultimately the cabin was set on fire, a single shot was heard, and a body was later found inside which is presumably Christopher Dorner (editors note 2/15/2013: the body has now been positively identified as Dorners), ending a tragic story that we will no doubt hear about for some time. Six California Fish and Wildlife wardens were involved in the manhunt for Christopher Dorner, and five of the six were directly involved in locating the alleged fugitive and engaging him, which led to him holing up in the cabin. The crucial role of the wardens in this dangerous chase may surprise you, as you may have considered game wardens as the men and women who spend their time checking limits of fish and making sure you have tagged your deer. Yeah, they do that, but they do a lot more. Game wardens see their fair share of action. In this image of one of a California game wardens signature green truck, you can see a bullet hole behind the cab. This is not an image from the Dorner shootout. In California, as in most other states, state game war-

California Fish and Wildlife wardens Lt. John Nores and Kyle Kroll.

dens are full law enforcement officers. Each type of law enforcement officer has their own beat. City police focus on matters inside that citys boundaries. Sheriffs deputies focus primarily on areas outside of major cities within a certain county. State police tend to focus on major highways and state and federal office buildings. Game wardens, like U.S. Marshals, can and do go anywhere from wilderness to inner cities, and they are the most woods-wise of all state law enforcement, often patrolling remote areas where no other state officers normally are found. California game wardens are also deputy U.S. Marshals. In a typical California Fish and Wildlife warden green truck, you will find the standard 12 gauge pump shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle in a heavier caliber like a .308, which is what the warden used to cause Dorner to crash the truck. The wardens use a .308 as they typically have to deal with shooting through heavy brush and sometimes long distances. Wardens also carry two pistols, as well
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BEYOND THE BASICS The Key to Finding Christopher Dorner continued

as pepper spray, handcuffs, and such on a belt that may weigh 25 pounds. They are better armed than almost all police. Normally, game wardens work alone and without immediate back-up in remote areas. Fortunately, in the Dorner case, they were able to double up and apply their woods skills to advantage. Warden PIO Pat Foy reported on-site that the wardens were a little rattled but they were trained for this kind of work and were fine. Tuesdays incident marked the second time in seven weeks that game wardens have been fired on in the line of duty. During summer duty, when wardens encounter drug cartel marijuana gardens on wildlands, there are exchanges of gunfire every summer. State game wardens are known by various names such as Conservation Officers, Conservation Police, Wildlife Enforcement Agents, Fish Wardens, and Fish and Game Wardens, just to name a few. Many are also deputy federal marshals. There are also U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents, BLM Special Agents, and National Marine Fisheries Special Agentsfederal game wardenswhich are about as common as whooping cranes. No matter what you call them, the jobs of game wardens are basically the same: to protect our fish, wildlife, and natural resources by enforcing wildlife lawsand a lot more. Game wardens are community-based peace officers who cover the largest jurisdiction of any state or local law enforcement officer. In California, a game warden must have at least two years of post-secondary education. Then they take an entrance exam. If they pass, it takes a warden 16 months to be trained. Training is extensive and includes (but certainly is not limited to) wildlife law, firearms law, arrest and defense tactics, search and rescue, drug and narcotics enforcement, first aid/CPR, weaponless defense, and much more. Working from a home office, they are on duty 24/7, patrol remote areas often alone and without backup, in pick-ups, snowmobiles, planes, boats, ATV, underwater with SCUBA gear, horseback, trail bikes, and on foot. They also do all their own CSI. Canine companions are becoming increasingly popular. Almost all people contacted by wardens are armed with guns or knives, or both. Planes and trucks have been and are hit by gunfire. Wardens routinely contact and arrest armed convicted felons. Over 90% of public contacts on the job are nonviolent, but federal statistics show that game wardens and DEA agents have the highest risk of death on the job. There have been at least 229 wildlife officers that have been killed or have died while on duty. All wardens are also Hunter Education Instructors. They teach people to use firearms, which is a dramatic departure from other law enforcement officers who discourage firearms use and often try to reduce firearms numbers. The only other place a law enforcement person would meet so many armed people is a battlefield. Game wardens, the thin green line, are not abundant
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The Real Secret Service

There are over 830,000 sworn local law enforcement officers in the U.S., 72,000 police in Manhattan alone. Nationwide, there are around 7,000 game wardens; about as many as the NYPD Blue assigns to cover the New Years Eve celebration.

A California Department of Fish and Game (now Department of Fish and Wildlife) wardens badge.



BEYOND THE BASICS The Key to Finding Christopher Dorner continued

anyplace, and as a result they become obscure when people, including policymakers, think about law enforcement strength, and homeland security. Modern game wardens in reality are like the town sheriff of the old west, and the beat they patrol is covered by few others wearing a badgeforest and park rangers, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, and so on. The more scarce that game wardens are, the less safe are the woods, water, and natural resources, as well as the people who use them. Note: With 38 million people, California has the distinction of having the fewest game wardens per capita in North America (Nunavut Territory has a betterDrive wardens capita ratio) also the 2178 Jolley per Horton, AL and 35980 most famous ones, thanks to the Wild Justice TV series on the National Geographic Channel. If you are a fan of Wild Justice you will know that California wardens deal with organized crime and drug cartels as well as enforcing wildlife law. For more information about Californias game wardens visit the website of the California Fish and Wildlife



Wardens Association or watch the 2009 66-minute documentary, Endangered Species: California Fish and Game Wardens, that first put them in the spotlight http://www.jamesswan.com/snowgoose/wardendoc.html . This article by James Swan originally appeared on OutdoorHub.com the outdoors. Online. l

CALL: (256) 287-1694



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Life Hunt Classic 2013

By Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

his hunt is the highlight of the ACEOA year. This struck by a vehicle pulling out of the procession. While year is even more special because of the support traveling to the hospital by ambulance he was involved of our corporate sponsors, we have been able to in another accident when the ambulance turned over at enter into a corporate sponsorship with BADF. You have the interstate junction of I-65 and Hwy 80. made it possible to contribute more funds into this very His injuries where certainly aggregated by this event. He lost an arm and a leg and endured days of pain. special event. How do we thank you for your continued support? The best way is to feature the smiles, joy and Everyone that knew David followed his progress while even the frequent tears at the Life Hunt Classic 2013. hospitalized. He had a very difficult road to say the least. ACEOA knew that when he was healthy enough, he There is no place that I know of that has the heaviest would be our choice for the Life hunt. Finally, the day concentration of strength than at the Life Hunt. I would put it up against any strong man contest. The boys, girls, arrived. David was excited about going. His hunting had men and women come with one thing in mind, to put been very limited because of his injuries. At the hunt it aside their sickness, afflictions and pain for three days was truly an inspiration to be around David. One would to do what they loveHunt whitetail deer. continued on 26 Buckmasters American Deer Foundation, the Hinton family and many more sponsors make this dream a reality. They provide the beautiful Sedgefields Plantation in Dallas County to the hunters. It has some of the finest whitetail deer habitat in Alabama. There are a multitude of volunteers, from Buckmasters staff, Cooks and Dedicated Guides that show up weeks before the hunt to prepare for the event. They work without pay and expect no recognition. They do it because of the joy and happiness they witness in those three days. They will be the first to tell you it is worth all the work they put into it. This year ACEOA sponsored a real hero in our eyes. Corporal David Brown was injured in a motorcycle accident while working with Montgomery Police Department. He was working Pictured above is Rusty Morrow, (left) and Chris Jaworowski (right) with Corporal David Brown (center). a funeral procession and was
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LIFE HUNT CLASSIC 2013 continued

ask how he has such a great attitude with all he has been through. He is just that kind person. David did not harvest a deer at the hunt, but was invited back by the Hinton family. The next weekend he did harvest a nice 8-point. We were excited for him. During the three days of the hunt, we get to spent time with the families that accompany the hunters. There are friendships made that will last forever. We get to share the special time with them. Believe me there are high fives and tears for all. The time around the camp fire waiting for the word by phone that there is a deer on the ground is just as exciting as the hunt itself. They are heroes in a true sense. Their joy is for their son or daughter. I truly love this part of the hunt. They are so dedicated.

Kelby Oakley is 13 from Rockboro, N. Carolina.

Craig Kimbrel, relief pitcher of the Atlanta Braves were on hand to sign autographs and provide the hunters with all kinds of goodies from their teams. These guys take time out of their busy schedules to be a part of this hunt and we thank you. I could go on and on about this event. It is so humbling
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Wounded Warriors (l-r) Lance Gieselmann, Abe Panjic, Alan Goetzinger, Mark McDuffy with ACEOAs Rusty Morrow and Chris Jaworowski.

Several years ago, Jackie Bushman began inviting wounded warriors to this hunt. This year we were blessed to be in the presence on two real live heroes, Lance Gieselmann and Abe Panjic. Both men harvested very nice deer. We thank you for your service and your dedication to your country. This hunt had a celebrity cast like no other. Two years in a row the SWAMP PEOPLE made an appearance. Now these guys are fun. They keep everybody laughing. CHOOT-UM is heard over and over. They are so good with the kids. Big Bill Buspice, from Wildgame Innovations, has gotten on board as a major sponsor and he, too, is lots of fun. Thank you Big Bill for your support. David Robertson relief pitcher from the New York Yankees and
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Walter Williams.

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just to be a small part of it. ACEOA thanks all that are responsible for making it happen and there are many. Thanks to all our corporate sponsorship again. Without your support, our part of the Life Hunt would not be possible. Just know you are doing great things. Now, enjoy the pictures and articles and, hopefully, you can feel the joy I feel by being a part of it. l

Kerry Simmons, Jackie Bushman and Craig Kimbrel, Pitcher Atlanta Braves.

Kerry Simmons, Texas.

Halee Boyd of Pensacola, FL.

Kyle Rogers, 17, has a big 9-point from Elton, La. The guide is Mac, Grandpa Gribbs, Mom, dad, and Jimmy Little.

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aking dreams come true and putting smiles on faces is true of the Sedgefield Plantation in Safford, Alabama. My son, Kelby, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) when he was 2-years-old. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a fatal disease that affects one in every 3,500 boys. It affects and weakens the muscles of the arms and legs and eventually the heart and lungs are affected as well. It robs children of their independence and makes them totally reliant on others for daily living. Kelby has been in a wheelchair for five years and over the last year has lost function of his arms. He has always wanted to do what other boys his age do and that is to be able to hunt and be able to shoot a gun and bag his own buck. For him, it all seemed impossible. This dream became a reality when a family friend, Chad Vaughn, filled out an application to Buckmasters. Within just a few days he was con-

Kelbys Story
tacted by David Sullivan, the director of disabled hunter services for the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation. They provided adaptive equipment that mounted to Kelbys Powerchair. He was able to hunt and fire the gun by blowing through a straw.

We were sponsored by Buckmasters to travel to Alabama and hunt for three days at The Sedgefield Plantation owned by Jimmy Hinton and his family. We met a lot of wonderful families on those three days and made lots of new friends. We met Jackie Bushman, CEO of Buckmasters. We also met Bill Buspice of Wild Game Innovations. We were also able to meet Troy, Jacob and Chase Landry from The Swamp People and also Craig Kimbrel, pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and David Robertson, pitcher for the New York Yankees. Kelby was so excited and went home with all of their autographs. This hunt has meant so much to Kelby and to our family. Dealing with a disability is hard for everyone involved. I am thankful for everyone that made this possible for Kelby. He was able to live a dream and he has a smile on his face that wont quit. l
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Disabled Police Officer Enjoys Buckmasters Life Hunt

By David Rainer, photos by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

ven though David Brown wasnt among the 11 chair around the ever-present campfire, a tribute to the legacy of Jimmy Hinton, the late patriarch of the family hunters who bagged a deer during the annual Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation who donates the use of Sedgefields for the Buckmasters near Safford, AL, the reward was just being there. event. Getting a chance to come to Buckmasters has Brown doesnt remember what happened on September been a real pleasure. 11, 2010, but it was horrific. A corporal in the Montgomery Police Department, Brown was on duty as a motorcycle policeman for a funeral procession. It was Browns duty to close side streets in advance of the procession, which required him to pass the procession en route to the next intersection. As Brown was moving to the next intersection, a member of the procession unexpectedly pulled out and didnt see Brown coming. The collision left Brown with life-threatening injuries. To exacerbate Browns tenuous position, the ambulance that was transporting him to the hospital could not negotiate an on-ramp and tipped over on its side. The Swamp People, Jacob, Troy and Chase Landry join Buckmasters founder Jackie Brown ended up with head Bushman in celebrating the 9-point buck, Troy took during the Life Hunt. trauma and lost his left arm and right leg because of the injuries. Before his accident, They feed you good and they assist you to do the thing Brown was a hunter and angler, but the thing he missed you were able to do before you got hurt. They transport you around to the different hunting stands. They help most was that fresh air of the outdoors. Being outside is the main thing, and being able to you in any way you need help. hang out with the people who enjoy the same things that you do, Brown said as he guided his motorized wheelcontinued on 35
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Tommy Brown, Davids father, admits the rehabilitation has been a long, difficult process, but both are optimistic. Were progressing fairly well on the learning how to walk part, said the elder Brown. Were having a little problem getting the prosthesis properly fitted for him so it doesnt bother him when he walks. Hes progressdo anything. He wants to be independent. Being outside like this gives him comfort. The Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association (ACEOA) sponsors a hunter for the Buckmasters event, and Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director, said the organization has been waiting for Browns recovery to reach a point to where he was able to participate. When Cpl. Brown got hurt, we felt like he was one of our own, Morrow said. Its the same with the police departments around the state, the State Troopers, Marine Police and Enforcement Officers with Marine Resources; were all a big family. We followed Cpl. Brown closely after the accident, like thousands of other people around Montgomery. We felt like once he was able, we wanted to be the ones to get him back in the outdoors first. Weve been blessed with the number of people who support our Conservation Enforcement David Brown, former Montgomery motorcycle policeman, enjoys being outdoors during Officers. Were able to do this the Buckmasters Life Hunt with Rusty Morrow (left) of the ACEOA, and friend and hunting because of them. partner, Bryan Hamrick (right). Brown said he was humbled by being picked by the ACEOA. ing pretty well, in my opinion. We do rehab three times I thought it was really generous, and I really appreciate getting to go, Brown said. The stuff you get to do, a week for two hours at a time. My main part is taking being outside and hanging out with people like this has him back and forth to rehab. been really nice. I saw a 6-point that wasnt quite big David spent almost three months in intensive care at Baptist South in Montgomery and then was transferred enough. I enjoyed watching him, but we decided to let to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. him live another day. The Shepherd Center is a wonderful place for a spinal Alabama State Trooper Bryan Hamrick, an experienced cord injury, brain injury or real serious physical injuhunter who was formerly with Montgomery PD, helped ry, said the elder Brown. Its a wonderful rehabilitaBrown during the Buckmasters hunt. tion place. I dont have to do much, Hamrick said. He does most of it himself. Im just here in case he needs a little extra Being able to participate in the Buckmasters Life Hunt is a rehabilitation that cant be found in hospitals, said hand. I set the gun up for him, and thats all I have to do. Browns father. Hell tell me what he wants to shoot and what he doesnt. For Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman, My son loves hunting, he said. This is an outlet for continued on 37 him to get him out of the doldrums of not being able to
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the Life Hunt is a celebration of overcoming disabilities please get in touch with us at buckmasters.com and well to continue a beloved outdoors lifestyle. let you know how you can help. Other than Troy, Jacob and Chase Landry of the Swamp Its hard to believe its been 20 years that weve been COLOR 10ad1 doing the Buckmasters Life Hunt, Bushman said. To People, stars from the world of Major League Baseball also see the smiles on all these hunters faces is something joined in making the hunt special. Tuscaloosa native David I always look forward to. We always hope to get them Robertson, a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, a deer, and weve been blessed to get everybody an presented the participants with an official Yankees jersey, opportunity. The teamwork with the Hinton family and all while Huntsville native Craig Kimbrel, also a relief pitcher, the guides, Big Bill (Busbice) with Wildgame Innovations passed out official Atlanta Braves game caps. helping sponsor the event, and the Swamp People being Its an honor to be invited here, said Kimbrel, who enjoys bowhunting with fellow Braves reliever Jonny here, its three days that are special to everybody. Venters. Its a great cause. Its awesome to see these Through the stories and TV shows, the people with disabilities who didnt think they could get back out there, people get to hunt and all the smiles on their faces. weve shown them a way that they can get back in the It really makes you think about the things you comoutdoors. I think thats the most successful aspect of this plain about on a day-to-day basis. We really have no event. To date, weve taken more than 7,000 disabled and reason to complain. Its great to get to see everyone get terminally ill people into the field. If this touches you, a chance to hunt and have fun and be happy. l

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CONTACT: WFF Law Enforcement 334-242-3467

Alabamian named NWTF Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Conservation Enforcement Officer Darin Clifton has been named 2013 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). Clifton received the award during the organizations national convention in Nashville on February 16. This is the second year in a row that a Conservation Enforcement Officer from Alabama has won the award. Bryan Fisher received the award in 2012. Clifton began his career with WFF in 1995. During the 2012 spring turkey season, Clifton made several arrests for turkey hunting violations including two suspects arrested for numerous violations on Alabamas Special Youth Turkey Hunt, and several other suspects for hunting violations on the Sam Murphy Wildlife Management Area in Lamar County where he is assigned. WFF District I Law Enforcement Captain Johnny Johnson nominated Clifton for the award citing his character, professionalism and work ethic. Darin has one of the best attitudes towards the profession of any officer Ive had the pleasure of working with, Johnson said. He consistently goes above and beyond what is required of him. For example, Darin volunteered countless hours in the recovery efforts following the tornados that devastated Alabama in 2011. Kevin Dodd, WFF Law Enforcement Chief, echoes Johnsons praise of Clifton. Officer Clifton is well established in the community as is evident in the effectiveness of his work, Dodd said. We are exceptionally proud of him receiving this award especially considering the multitude of excellent candidates from other states. Clifton is a certified hunter education instructor with an FBI Firearms Instructor Certification, and promotes hunting and fishing to youth at local schools and at speaking engagements to various groups including local Boy Scout troops. In addition to his WFF duties, Clifton frequently serves in outreach programs such as the NWTFs Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship (JAKES) and Women in the Outdoors as well as the National Archery in the Schools Program. He also participates in various youth hunts and fishing events, and assists in events for people with disabilities. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabamas natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com . ###

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EnviroScape Watershed Model

he Fisheries Section of the Alabama Wildlife and sary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) would like The success of Creek Kids is enhanced by the to thank the Alabama Conservation Enforcement EnviroScape Watershed Model that ACEOA purchased for Officers Association (ACEOA) for purchasing another the program several years ago. Each year approximately EnviroScape Watershed Model and carrying case for the 3,000 students have the chance to learn from the model Aquatic Education Program. The EnviroScape is a handsduring the program. The watershed model is also used on educational tool that models how pollution can move for other WFF events and programs including in schools, through the environment. daycares, and large events to teach good stewardship of The interactive model shows a streams watershed Alabamas natural resources. Due to the popularity of the and the factors that could possibly pollute and affect the ecology of that system. Students sprinkle cocoa powder, which represents soil, and green Kool-Aid, which represents fertilizer, on portions of landscape. Another student sprays water onto the model, which represents falling rain. The cocoa and green Kool-Aid travel down into the low blue areas of the EnviroScape just as soil and fertilizer are washed into our streams. The WFF Aquatic Education staff then leads a discussion of how runoff affects the aquatic environment and encourages the students to find solutions. The students brainstorm and suggest ways to reduce the effects of runoff pollution from farms, tree harvesting areas, construction sites, roads and homes. For more than five years, the WFF ACEOAs Executive Director Rusty Morrow, Aquatic Education Supervisor Doug Aquatic Education Program has taught Darr, ACEOA President Chris Jaworowski and Biologist Aide Brenda Morrison at thousands of youth about Alabamas vast the presentation of the new Enviroscape Model. natural resources and the importance of conservation due in part to the support and partnerEnviroScape in various WFF aquatic education programs, ship of the ACEOA. In 2007, the WFF Aquatic Education ACEOA was asked to provide a second model and they Program implemented a program called Creek Kids at graciously granted the request. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. This program Partnerships like these allow WFF to provide qualteaches children about stream ecology and watersheds ity programs such as Creek Kids to Alabamians. With by using a hands-on approach. Creek Kids has received ACEOA as a partner, WFF will continue to promote natunational recognition and was highlighted in the U.S. Fish ral resource conservation through the education of the and Wildlife Service book celebrating the 75th anniverpeople of Alabama. l
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Youngsters Swarm to Barbour WMA Youth Hunt

By David Rainer, photos by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

he eye contact with the frantic gray squirrel seemed frozen in time. The squirrel had been knocked from his perch in a scaly bark hickory by one of the youths participating in the 16th Annual Barbour County WMA Youth Hunt last weekend. The bushy-tailed critter

camouflage for an escape route in a scene reminiscent of A Christmas Vacation. Had it leaped in my direction, Im sure I would have done my best Clark Griswold impression, the one where he knocks his mother onto the couch as he flees up the stairs. Alas, I caught a break and the squirrel took Option 2 and scurried under the log and into a hole that was at the base of the uprooted tree. Mike Smith, whose Feist dog Freeway led the hunt, figured the hunt was over, but this group of about 20 youths and accompanying parents and hosts were persistent on a day when squirrels were scarce. One person volunteered to don a glove and reach into the hole to find the squirrel, but his search came up empty-handed. A second tried to no avail. Thats when Cody Lee, a long and lanky teenager, reached his gloved hand into the hole. Seconds later, he screamed, There he is, and in the Hunter Educations Jinks Altiere gives a youngster tips on how to break a clay target same breath slung glove, squirrel and during the hunt, which attracted about 250 young people from around the state. a handful of leaves out into the middle of the group that crowded around the root ball. was looking for cover when he latched onto the side of The squirrel was hanging on the ceiling of the hole, a lay-down, a tree that had succumbed to some wind Lee said. When I touched him, he grabbed my arm, so storm in the not-too-distant past. I had to come outta there with him. Armed with only a camera and dressed in a camouThe youngsters swarmed the squirrel in a flash. By flage shirt, I stood on the opposite side of the log, well the time I got to the middle of the crowd, the squirrel within leaping distance. That moment of eye contact led had apparently given up the ghost after realizing escape to a flood of possibilities in my brain as Ray Stevens was impossible. cranked up Mississippi Squirrel Revival in the backThe youngsters celebrated success as the adults in the ground. Option 1: The squirrel is going to mistake my continued on 45
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year, and its just blossomed from there. We wanted to get the kids outdoors to teach them gun safety and teach them whats in the woods and how to conserve our woods. The word just spread. We have fliers and sponsors, but it basically spread by word of mouth. Well normally have between 250-300 kids now. The activities for the kids include BB-gun competition, slingshot shoot, archery, turkey calling and turkey shoot, compass reading, wilderness survival, skeet shooting with gun safety, .22-caliber rifle shooting for the older youngsters, squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting and coon hunting. Conservation Enforcement Officer Mike Heath helps a youngster at the slingshot The kids love it and can hardly range during the event, which is held the first Saturday in February each year. wait to get here, Pat said. Its great to see their eyes when theyre doing crowd shook their heads laughingly at such a spectacle the different things, and when theyre squirrel hunting, if they get one, theyll take the squirrel around with them in the middle of one of Alabamas most popular Wildlife the rest of the day and take it to momma that night. Management Areas (WMAs). Its just wonderful. Freeway managed to tree one more squirrel that was reduced to bag before the afternoon hunt ended and it Reed said the youth hunt team has had to adjust the was time to meet back at the WMA headquarters for activities through the years, especially after an incident another round of hot dogs and chips, which preceded the during the coon hunt the second year. final event of the day of outdoors activitiesa coon hunt. We had the coon hunt and we had kids jumping into The Eufaula Lions Club, Barbour County Coon Hunters the creek with the coon and dogs, Reed laughed. So Association, the Alabama Conservation Enforcement we had to alter that a little bit. We stage it a little bit for Officer Association and Alabama Department of safety purposes. Reed said before he retired in 2007, he could see Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division are the major sponsors of a decrease in the number of hunting licenses sold, which the youth hunt, which attracts youngsters and parents caused him great concern. from mainly east Alabama, although some participants When we saw those numbers slipping, we decided we hail from other parts of the state. needed to do something to get the kids involved again, The youth hunt idea was hatched when Mike Heath and he said. Well have 250-300 kids unless the weather is Richard Reed, game wardens at the time, starting trying really bad. And the community is really behind it. All the to find a way to get the younger generation involved in merchants donate and help every way they can. the outdoors. They recruited Roger and Pat Kott from Grady Hartzog, a Eufaula businessman and member of Eufaula and the event quickly went from a handful of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board, joined Deputy kids to a huge production that requires a concerted effort Conservation Commissioner Curtis Jones and Wildlife from the community in terms of volunteers and donations. and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Director Chuck Sykes to We started with 17 kids, Pat Kott said. We try to witness the celebration of the outdoors lifestyle. go deeper into different events and different venues each continued on 47
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here for getting involved, and I applaud the parents for getting out on a beautiful Saturday and exposing their kids to the great outdoors. Jones said he was impressed by how well the community supports the event each year with the encouragement of the Eufaula Lions Club and the Kott family. There is a ton of volunteers, and Im proud that weve got several, several Conservation Enforcement Officers who are volunteering to take these kids through the various courses with BB guns, archery, and skeet, Jones said. Im just really grateful that this many people get involved to get the youth into the outdoors. Heath said there are enough volunteers that parents arent required to stay for the event. The parents can drop their kids off and well take care of them until 9 oclock that night until were completely done, Heath said. Then they can come back and pick them up. We encourage all parents to come and go with the kids if at all possible. But if they cant, we have numbers of volunteers who will serve as mentors. We have a great time. I cant tell you how many thousands of kids this has touched. Weve had some kids come back every year, and its great to see these kids grow up in the outdoors. Visit www.outdooralabama.com for more coverage of the youth hunt. l

Participants in the youth hunt got to try a host of different outdoors experiences, including archery.

I always believe that if we dont have the kids coming to support conservation, were not doing our jobs, Hartzog said. The more we can do for the kids, the better off we are. We want this to be a good, fun outing for the family and kids so theyll want to come back out again. Sykes, who became WFF director just two months ago, is encouraged by what he saw at the Barbour County WMA. Youve got parents and kids out here having fun and picnicking, shooting BB guns, going on a rabbit hunt, a squirrel hunt and a coon hunt, Sykes said. If you dont get the kids engaged, get them out from in front of a TV or video game and into the woods, were going to lose our connection to the outdoors. Kids arent growing up like I did with a BB gun and pocket full of BBs; you A group of young squirrel hunters managed to add this gray squirrel to the bag walked all day and explored the woods. during the 16th annual youth hunt at Barbour County Wildlife Management Area, This is great. I applaud everybody managed by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Biologist Adam Pritchett.

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Sykes Becomes WFF Director on Birthday

By David Rainer, photos by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

huck 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. Ive been a private, on-the-ground, hands-

dirty, Carhartt, snake-boots kind of guy. So right now, Im learning. Sykes graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Wildlife Sciences in 1992 and used what he learned to form a natural resources consulting firm, C&S Wildlife Services, which managed thousands of acres for landowners throughout the United States. In 2001, he created and produced The Management Advantage television program, which aired for 11 years on the Outdoor Channel. Just prior to joining ADCNR, Sykes served as Senior Scientist and Biological Services Manager for Environmental 360, Inc., an environmental and resource management company based in Tennessee. Sykes is looking forward to the challenge of being the WFF Director and has great support as he adapts to a new environment. Im doing a lot of listening, he said. I know, from the short time Ive been here, that there are really good people above me and really good people on the staff who Im going to rely on and ask a ton of questions. The thing is, I want to be able to bring that common-sense approach for that everyday guy whos out there trying to see what works. I want to bring some new ideas that help him and other Alabama residents reach their goals. Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. said he is especially appreciative of Sykes hands-on background. New Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director Chuck Sykes, right, celebrates Were excited that Chuck brings 20 a huge Choctaw County buck he took with his father, Willie, and Australian years of practical experience to this posishepherd, Bes, as hunting companions.
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tion, Guy said. His extensive work in wildlife and wildlife habitat management is a perfect fit for the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Divisions mission to ensure our outdoor heritage for future generations. Sykes replaces M.N. Corky Pugh, who retired Dec. 1, 2011. Fred Harders served as acting director for the past year. Sykes started guiding at Bent Creek Lodge in Choctaw County while he was in high school and worked at several hunting lodges through the years before he took over as manager at a 5,000-acre quail plantation in east central Alabama in 1995. To learn my way around, I just started bush-hogging roads, Sykes said of Circle N Lodge. There were about 150 miles of roads on the place. I started picking up some pretty decent (antler) sheds. The owner wanted every deer off the place because they were eating up his quail food. Sykes suggested that the owner consider a commercial deer hunting operation with a lodge already in place. A limited number of turkey hunts were also made available in those first few years before the turkey population soared. The year I got there, there were four gobbling turkeys on the place, Sykes said. The year I left, we killed 14 longbeards and I knew where 17 more were. It went from nothing to unbelievable. It was because of intensive managementtimber management, prescribed burns, food plots, predator control, you name it. But I lived there. I worked that place every day. As far as deer management, we were growing 140to 150-inch deer regularly. The best deer grossed 186, and the one on the wall in my office scored 173. It was a unique place in terms of deer. We had a Georgia influence where the Georgia deer were rutting the first week or 10 days of December. Then they had another rut the first week of January. Then somewhere around the 15th of January, the Alabama deer were rutting. You could hunt three distinct ruts. Once I figured that out, I started targeting the Alabama deer for management. I put a 17-inch limit on the Alabama deer, either inside spread or main beam. That was mostly three-year-old bucks when we started. By the time I left, some of the two-year-olds had stepped up into that category. But on the doe harvest, I put a limit of 100 pounds on the does; no does shot over 100 pounds. That is totally backward from the way most people manage. But what that was, was either a yearand-a-half-old Georgia doe or a mature Alabama doe. Sykes success at Circle N drew attention through articles published in Outdoor Life and Progressive Farmer. The publicity led to the advent of a consulting business (with his wife, Sue) that helped landowners improve their wildlife and habitat management. C& S Wildlife Services eventually became The Management Advantage, which developed the TV show. I wanted to draw attention to the consulting aspect of our business, but the TV show soon took on a life of its own, Sykes said. It aired for 11 years. The television show kept me so busy I didnt get to consult like I wanted to. The show was almost all education about wildlife and habitat management, but we still had to show hunting, because thats what the people were doing. We developed a food plot, planted it and harvested an animal on it. Starting in August of 2012, at the request of the viewers, Chuck made the transition from TV to the Internet with The Management Advantage. My heart is on the ground, getting my hands dirty, helping people make the most of what they have, Sykes said. If I go out and kill a nice deer or turkey, thats OK. If somebody calls me or emails me and tells me they followed my advice and their child was able to kill their first deer, thats where I get my ego stroked. Last year, Sykes joined Environmental 360, Inc., where he worked with commercial clients, mainly in the paper products industry, to develop a natural resources component to their business that included feral hog removal projects and habitat improvement. The two main issues that Sykes confronted in recent years in his private consulting business were cogongrass and feral hogs. Cogongrass is an invasive species that has proven hard to control. It survives prescribed burns and requires multiple herbicide applications for effective control. The feral hog problem continues to grow to the point that the Alabama Feral Hog Control Council was formed this year through the combined efforts of Commissioner Guy, Agriculture & Industries Commissioner John McMillan and the Alabama Wildlife Federation. Im sure these will be two of the top issues, as wildlife managers, were going to have to face over the next
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R&S Electric Company

Huntsville, AL 35816

17 Main Street Wedowee, AL 36278 decade, Sykes said. 256-357-0400 One is trying to figure out manage-

ment activities that will keep feral hogs at a manageable level. I dont think eradication is a possibility. Weve also got to try to stop the encroachment of cogongrass. Its already all the way up to Sumter County. The majority of the cogongrass is in the southern counties, but its spreading fast. Sykes said one aspect of his new position will be a continuation of what hes done his entire careereducate. Hillcrest You can have1057 the best ideas, Drive have all the scientific Bessemer, AL 35022 data to prove it, but if you cant explain it in a way that people understand and buy into, it does no good, he

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said. The Lord has blessed me with the ability in my 256-837-8210 private career to take scientific information and present it in a common-sense approach that works. Im hoping we can do the same thing on a statewide basis. Alabama has such great natural resources, and Im finding people in the department who are passionate about wanting to make it better. Theyre constantly collecting data, constantly doing research to try to make things better. From the outside looking in, I think of the 528 Vaughn Drive Gadsden, AL some 35904 translation is lost in getting it to people on the ground. 256-312-4608 Thats where I hope I can help. l

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Kids Korner
By Lawrence Dismukes

Six year old Kasen Dismukes of Lowndesboro, Alabama got his first deer on the afternoon of January 20, 2013 while sitting with his dad. The 3-year-old, 11-point buck stepped out at 4:40 pm. After about ten minutes the buck offered an eighty-two yard broadside shot. He jumped up on his back legs and was pawing at the air like a bear. The buck fell over backwards and was down for the count. Then the celebration began. What an amazing feeling to be with your son when he takes his first deer, it made me fill like a kid again.

Joey Curtis was wearing his lucky ACEOA cap when he harvested this monster of a deer while hunting with his mentor, Roy Gillespie, in Lowndes County. The deer scored a whopping 172 points.

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Coosa County Forestry Tour 2012

By Joel Glover

ixty-one people braved the threat of rain to attend the Coosa County Fall Treasure Forest Landowner tour in Kellyton. Mr. Bill Dark graciously offered his property and served as host while the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association sponsored the event. Kellyton Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to showcase some of their new equipment and explain the formation of a rescue unit for Coosa County. Kellyton Fire Chief, Jerry Sewell, who will serve as the Commander of the new unit, told landowners the team would be available for any type of rescue mission. Those in attendance were awed by Dr. Robert Parker who presented his philosophy on the life of a landowner while at the same time making a wooden bowl before

ACEOA banner at tour.

their eyes. Dr. Parker shared from the heart concerning how projects conducted on the farm produced tangible beneficial results while time spent watching television was usually time wasted. He explained the process of picking pieces of wood from which to create a bowl and demonstrated the tools used in the process. He also displayed and discussed how to turn a bowl on a wood lathe. Next, Forester Jason Wales of Clearwater Foresters explained the when and why of thinning pine timber. Jason explained thinning is a management tool. While many plantations may be treated the same way, it is always a good idea to seek out the advice of a timber professional before undertaking any harvest activity. Wildlife Biologist Joel Glover
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Bill Dark addresses group.


added that thinning followed by a prescribed fire was an excellent technique for producing good habitat for many species of wildlife. At the next stop, Meagan Kelley displayed many of her nature photographs and explained how she had gotten into outdoor photography. Many of the shots were of scenic landscapes in Coosa County. Others were of bald eagles, does and fawns and wild flowers. There were many favorable comments on the quality and beauty of the photographs. As the day was concluding with lunch, the much needed rain began to fall. It was a good day of learning how to care for the forest and viewing some of the products that come from it. The Coosa County Forestry Planning Committee appreciates the ACEOA sponsoring this worthwhile program. l

Dr. Parker shows tools.

Meagan Kelley discusses photos.

Jason Wales talks timber thinning.

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Limestone County Youth Dove Hunt

By CEO Wendell Fulks

articipation in the 2012 Youth Dove Hunt held in Limestone County did not disappoint. There were approximately 103 hunters that eagerly came out to support this annual event. The weather was nice, the food was good, and the door prizes were in ample supply. Once again, this years land for the hunt was generously provided by Mr. Brent Shaw. Thanks again, Mr. Shaw, for your continued support of this worthwhile event. After registration was completed by Mrs. Kym Champion, we all ate our sack lunch of hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks provided by our dedicated sponsors. Wed like to especially thank the ACEOA for their generous contribution, which provided all youth hunters in attendance with a notable door prize. A big thank you goes out to all of the volunteers who helped to make this years hunt a memorable experience for lots

Mrs. Kym Champion registers youth for the hunt.

of first-time youth dove hunters. The kids will remember this hunt for many years to come. Almost every hunter had the opportunity to at least shoot at a dove this year, even though the birds werent flying as well as wed hoped they would on this particular day. I hope all of our youth had a great experience, regardless, and enjoyed the food and the door prizes, too. In conclusion, Id like to thank all of the parents who took time out of their busy schedules to bring their children hunting. Please know that your children will not soon forget this enjoyable occasion. I would also like to thank all of our Conservation Enforcement Officers and Mrs. Kym Champion who worked diligently to make this annual event possible. Your dedication and enthusiasm for introducing youth to hunting is a valuable asset to our department. l
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Capt. Johnny Johnson giving safety speech to hunters.


Youth hunter receives safety harness as door prize. Every youth in attendance received a door prize.

(L-R) Capt. Johnny Johnson, Mrs. Kym Champion, CEO Steve Pepper, Sgt. Travis Gray, landowner Mr. Brent Shaw, CEO Jay Lowery, Mr. Tim Baker, and CEO Wendell Fulks.

Palmer Fulks in the corn field waiting on a dove.

Barclay Butler harvesting his dove.

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Alabama Hunter Education Banquet

By Jerry Fincher Talladega County Conservation Enforcement Officer

n Saturday, September 22, 2012, ACEOA sponsored the Alabama Hunter Education Associations annual banquette and awards ceremony. The event was held at Haybrook Farms, a little slice of Heaven between Lay Lake and the Fayetteville community. Haybrook is the pride of Mr. William Terry of Birmingham and is managed by Mr. Brian Yates of Fayetteville. Due to a lack of birds at the previously planned location, the event was almost cancelled, but thanks to the hard work and generosity of Mr. Yates and Mr. Terry, the day was saved. Both men are true conservationists in every sense of the word and have never refused a request for assistance with our enforcement efforts or hunter education events. I would also like to thank Mr. Wesson, the manager of the Childersburg Piggly Wiggly for his continued support of all ACEOA and AHEA events in the area. In addition to the awards and meal, participants were treated to a horseshoe competition, an optics class taught by Nikon, a 3-D archery range, and an egg-shoot, an

event where the participants must break an egg with a sightless pellet rifle. While all this was going on, the kids in attendance used BB guns and slingshots to shoot balloons strung through the woods. When the events ended, everyone retired to Mr. Terrys dove field where the birds made a late but much appreciated appearance. The shooting wasnt fast and furious, but it was enough to keep most people happy. AHEA is a volunteer organization which provides a valuable service to everyone in the state. Their selfless giving allows conservation enforcement officers more time to focus on violations, and by helping to develop a safer and more ethical hunter, they circumvent countless accidents and help make Alabama a safer place for all of us to live, work, and recreate. ACEOA recognizes the contribution made by these volunteers and does what it can to show its support and appreciation, usually through financial donations and events. While recent economic uncertainties have made
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everyone tighten their purse strings, ACEOA hopes to continue its support of this deserving group of dedicated men and women. If you know a volunteer instructor, take the time to shake their hand and tell them you appreciate all they do. If you think you might have what it takes to join their ranks, call the hunter education office in Montgomery at or contact your local conservation enforcement officer for more information. The pay is terrible, but the feeling of giving back to the sport you love and helping shape its future is priceless. In summary, I would once again like to thank the board and membership of ACEOA for supporting this much deserving group of men and women. l

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Bluebills Long Journey Leads to Alabama

By David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

linton Walston was sitting in one of his favorite until he picked the right spot to stop the boat. The duck waterfowl hunting areas on Lake Guntersville this surfaced within gun range and Walston finished the job. I cut the motor off where the duck had gone under and past season when a duck came whistling past. What was thought to be just one of the 20 or so species waited, he said. He finally popped up about 35 yards that visit the Tennessee River chain in Alabama each year away and I shot him. I went over and picked him up. turned out to be a very special duck, at least in Walstons hunting history. A few of my buddies and I were hunting this island Ive hunted for a few years, but the action was a little slow, said Walston, who said he tries to hunt every week he possibly can during the season. There werent enough people hunting to keep the ducks moving. So we decided to move and went to a place called Griders Slough to look for some diver ducks, but they hadnt moved in, yet. We talked about what to do and we decided to go to Jones Cove to see what was up there. Ive got a mud motor so I went up the back way where people running outboard cant get. I came up through the back of the slough, Lesser Scaup, also known as bluebills, will migrate thousands of miles each year from the looking for a spot. There were breeding grounds to winter habitat, although the diver duck usually doesnt cross numerous flyways on the way. a couple of groups of hunters about 300 yards apart, so I shut the motor off and pulled up on the bank. After we pulled At first I didnt realize he had a band. I picked him up up on the bank, a bird came flying by. I had my gun in my by the wing and only his right leg was showing. I dropped hands, so I just threw up and shot and knocked it down. him in the boat and I got a feeling I had better look at The bird, which turned out to be a Lesser Scaup (aka that bird a little closer. I picked him up again and saw the bluebill) wasnt completely finished and starting diving band. I was ecstatic. It was a true federal band. There to try to evade Walston. This happened a couple of times continued on 73
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was a lot of whooping and hollering. I was flopping in the boat like a fish out of water. Youd have thought I was in there passing a gall stone. The variety of ducks encountered by waterfowl hunters in north Alabama includes mallards, pintails, black ducks, wigeons, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, scaup, canvasbacks, buffleheads, ruddy ducks, ringnecks, gadwalls and wood ducks. Diver ducks are notorious for Guntersville and Scottsboro, Walston said. Your puddle ducks like mallards will mainly stick to the sloughs and backwaters. In that open water, it wont hold a lot of big ducks. If they get pressured, theyll get out there in the middle of the lake at night and eat hydrilla. But you dont see them hardly ever out there during the day. Walston kept his prized scaup near him the rest of the trip. I didnt let it get out of my sight, he said. When Walston had a chance, he called the number printed on the band to report the harvested duck. When I talked to the lady about the band she said, Read those numbers back to me, he said. I thought that

Clinton Walston of Fyffe, Ala., bagged a banded bluebill in December on Lake Guntersville that was banded near Minto, Alaska.

was unusual. She said that duck came from Minto, Alaska. I thought it might have been a far-off band because it was a diver, but Im thinking some place like Michigan or Ontario. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that duck could have come from a few hundred miles from Russia. The scaup was banded at the Minto Flats State Wildlife

Refuge between Minto and Nenana, Alaska. The 500,000-acre refuge is about 35 miles west of Fairbanks, where the bander resides. Dr. Mark Lindberg of the University of Alaska banded the bird on May 21, 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Interior, only 114 bands from scaup have been recovered in Alabama since the bluebill banding started in 1960. Of course, the number of bluebills banded pales in comparison to Americas most common duck, the mallard, of which more than seven million have been banded since 1914. About one million of the mallard bands have been recovered. According to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, 6,108 mallard bands have been recovered in Alabama since 1960.
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When I told my buddies where it came from, they said, There aint no way, Walston said. My buddy Jason, the one I hunt with the most said, Man, that thing must have had grease fittings on its wings to fly that far. It blows my mind that that duck flew across several flyways and didnt get shot. Im sure it got shot at by a lot better hunters than me. He just happened to give up the ghost that day. While it does blow the minds of most people, waterfowl biologists know that waterfowl can migrate unbelievable distances from the breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Pintails and several species of geese are known for migrating 3,000 miles during a season. One example of how far and fast a pintail can fly is illustrated by one of the species harvested by my hunting buddy Jay Gunn, who shot the pintail at Millers Ferry in central Alabama. The duck had been banded three days earlier in Wisconsin. David Hayden, waterfowl specialist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife Section, said that while Walstons scaup is special, it doesnt set a record. Weve had a few birds in Alabama that have come from parts of Siberia, Hayden said. Most of the birds we get come from Canada. Some teal will migrate from Canada all the way to South America. Mallards dont usually migrate that far. Theyll migrate from southern Canada or the northern U.S. to the South. A lot of them just migrate as far as the freeze line, and we havent had much cold weather in Alabama this year. Hayden doesnt downplay the importance of Walstons band recovery at all. Thats a pretty good prize to get a scaup coming out of Alaska, Hayden said. Most of the scaup that come from Alaska tend to stay west of Alabama. Most of the Mississippi Flyway scaup come from the middle of Canada. With a bird like that scaup, it may have gotten into some fairly strong westerly winds. I remember about 15 years ago, and it happened two years in a row, when the snows and blues (geese) were migrating there were very strong westerly winds. It actually blew them into Alabama, Georgia and Florida instead of them going into Louisiana like they normally would. That scaup may have gotten blown off course somewhere. As for Walstons bluebill, one of his buddies consumed the bird. After I shot the duck the second time, it wasnt suitable for mounting, he said. Its still like a dream. I had always wanted to kill a banded duck. I keep that band 10ad28 close. I like to rub it every once in a while.  l

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February Deer Season Proposed for SW Alabama

By David Rainer, photos by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
t the first Alabama Conservation Advisory Board der, harvest location (public or private land) and county. meeting of 2013, Conservation Commissioner The turkey harvest information includes hunting license N. Gunter Guy Jr. unveiled an ambitious plan to number, whether the gobbler is an adult or jake and the improve the data collection for white-tailed deer and county of harvest. Once the data has been submitted, wild turkeys as well as a proposal to shift deer season into February in southwest Alabama. Commissioner Guys presentation during the meeting Saturday in Montgomery highlighted the various facets of the new Outdoor Alabama Game Check system that will give Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries managers and biologists more definitive information on the game harvest in addition to the traditional mail survey used currently to estimate the harvest. Hunters will have three ways to record their harvests on the proposed systemthe Outdoor Alabama app that is available for download for iPhones and Android-based phones, online reporting at www.outdooralabama.com and a toll-free voice response call. In each case, hunters Tom Boatwright of Perdido, who had won the Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman are required to report their harvest within Challenge twice and finished runner-up this year, was honored with certificates 24 hours. Each report will generate a con- of recognition by State Rep. Harry Shiver of Bay Minette, right, and John McMillan, firmation number that must be recorded Agriculture & Industry Commissioner, during the Alabama Conservation Advisory and kept on the person. Board meeting in Montgomery. Smartphone users can find links at www.outdooralabama.com to download the respective it cannot be changed. Links to moon phases are also apps, or you can go to iPhone or Android app stores located on the reporting page. Also, the smartphone app and search for Outdoor Alabama. Users can open the gives information on hunting at the Wildlife Management application and navigate to the hunting tab, which will Areas (WMAs). present a link to Report Your Harvest. Hunters will then What were trying to do is make the outdoors expefill in the harvest data for deer and turkeys. The deer rience a little nicer with this app, Commissioner Guy information includes hunting license number, deer gencontinued on 79
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said. Some of you dont have smartphones, but the way date and confirmation number. Hunters are still required the industry is going, youre probably going to have one to fill in the pertinent information of the harvest record on the hunting license for deer and turkey before the sooner or later. Those who wish to report the harvest online can go to animal is moved. outdooralabama.com and navigate to the Game Harvest This proposal is the result of a lot of hard work by Menu for four choicesReport Deer Harvest, Report the staff to improve the reporting of your deer and turkey Turkey, Seasonal Harvest harvest, Commissioner Report and Feeding Times Guy said. Right now, for & Moon Phases. The same instance, I live in Lowndes reporting requirements as County and I cant tell the smartphone app are you how many bucks and does have been harvested. required. Those who use the online method can also Weve been doing a mail enter an email address and survey where we take the have a copy of the report number and extrapolate to sent to their inbox. Under get an estimate. the S easonal Har vest We want to add this tool to help with the data. Report, hunters can view statistical reports by counSome people have sugty or for the whole state. gested tags for the bucks, The toll-f re e voice but they are very costly. response call requires This harvest information collection will help us mana touchtone phone. Hunters should have their age the deer herd better for license number ready and the public. And hunters know the county where the will have more informaanimal was harvested. The tion available to them. The hunters license number Seasonal Harvest Report will be entered. For those will have information gathwho are under age 16, 65 Alabama Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr.officially ered from all the hunters in or older or have a lifetime released a map of the area in southwest Alabama where, if the state. You can go to the license, a registration pro- approved, a proposed season shift into February would take report and see your harvest effect during the 2013-14 season. (Courtesy ADCNR) or harvest information from cess similar to the Harvest any other area of the state. Information Program (HIP) will be required to report You can see in real time, the harvest data. The harvest information remains the basically, the number of deer that are being harvested in same for deer and turkey. each county and the state. Hunting licenses for the 2013-2014 seasons will include Commissioner Guy also presented a proposal to shift an area where the harvest date, number of points on the deer season in southwest Alabama that would swap each side and confirmation number must be recorded for 10 days of hunting in December for 10 days of hunteach buck as well as the harvest date and confirmation ing in February starting in 2014. The gun season would number for each unantlered deer taken. Should hunters be closed December 2-11 and extended to February 10. take more than five unantlered deer during the season, Bowhunters in the affected area would start the season the back of the license may be used to record the date 10 days later on October 25, 2013. and confirmation number. Turkey harvest will include continued on 81
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The proposed area for the February season includes all of Baldwin, Mobile, Washington and Escambia counties, most of Monroe and Conecuh counties and portions of Choctaw, Clarke, Wilcox, Butler and Covington counties (see map). This wasnt arbitrarily picked out, Commissioner Guy said. Weve heard from the public, and weve listened to the public that they dont think theyre getting to hunt the rut. With our Wildlife Section and everybody involved, we have data and field studies about when the rut occurs in Alabama. We have good information that we have a comfort level with, that we can extend the season and wont hurt the resource. We spent a lot of time on this. This is not to say that there are not other areas in Alabama that will warrant this in the near future, but we dont have the data needed to afford it at this time. Nobody in the Department nor you want us to make a mistake and damage our resources that are so valuable to us. Well get there if its warranted. Just give us time. We want to respond to you to make the hunting experience better, but weve got to do it right. We have to balance the hunting experience against whats best for the resource. Commissioner Guy also proposed a reduction in the daily bag limit of unantlered deer in a portion of north Alabama. The daily harvest during gun season of unantlered deer would be reduced from two per day to one per day. The number of days for doe harvest will also be reducedDecember 14, 2013, through January4, 2014. Just like the extended season in southwest Alabama, theres also been an issue expressed to us about the deer herd in north Alabama, that numbers are not as great as they have been in the past, he said. Our biologists have been working with people in that area to gather the information. This will be a restricted doe harvest in this area. For the rest of the state, there will be no reduction in doe harvest. This is all about managing our resources. Natural resources are dynamic, everybody knows that. Every year is different. If you have some mortality event, we need to know about it and react to it quickly or we may overharvest. Turkeys are the same way. Other states have had a problem where they didnt know about it until it was too late. Thats why we want this reporting system so we can keep up with the numbers in real time. If we see a decline, we can adjust the seasons and bag limits accordingly. l

New restricted doe harvest regulations for a large swath of north Alabama were revealed in draft regulations made public at Saturdays Conservation Advisory Board meeting in Montgomery. (Courtesy ADCNR)

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Youth Hunt at The Oaks

By Wayne Harrell

ve been reporting on the Youth Hunts at The Oaks Hunting Club for several years now and this year was another of those days when a person decides that doing something for someone less fortunate is what needs to be done. The eighth annual Youth Hunt at our club was exactly what we all needed. This day proved once again that the adults get more out of a day like this than the kids do! Eleven young hunters from John Croyles Big Oak Ranch arrived at 8:00 a.m. for a full day of outdoor activities. (There should have been 13, but a couple of boys had a little problem with their school work) After a brief welcome and a safety class, we moved to the shooting range for lessons in firearms practice with .22 rifles, shooting clays with 20 gauge shotguns, and

Ranch Kids with ACEOA banner.

a look into the world of fur trapping. It turns out that several of the kids had some exceptional skills with the guns and all of them stood around open mouthed during the trapping demonstration. Following the activities at the shooting range, we had a lunch of hot dogs, chips, cupcakes, and soft drinks. After lunch, new backpacks were handed out to all of them, and inside were various articles that could be used at school, in the field, or around their homes, including flashlights, book lights, socks, chap-sticks, pens and pencils, and candy. We then drew for stands and they all left for the real purpose of the visit; HUNTING! We are fortunate at The Oaks to have several other local landowners that have asked to participate in the hunt
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Enforcement officers, Steve Naish and Dwight Thrasher instruct the use of .22 rifles.


of a cold I had been suffering with for a few days. The only thing I could think of was to pray that God would take the cough away for the duration of the hunt, so Isaiah could get him a deer. It wasnt long before two does came into the field, and his face lit up like Ive never seen before in a young child. I asked him if he wanted to shoot one, and he got even more excited. I have six kids and ten grandchildren and Ive never seen more excitement than Isaiah showed at that moment. I got his rifle up and when he was ready, I took the safety off. Neither of them gave us a good broadside shot opportunity. My heart was pounding so hard, I know I spooked them off the field. To my amazement, Isaiah said; God must have scared them off for a reason! This brought a tear to my eye, and at 64 years old, these kids cause me to turn to mush.
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Opening backpacks with the goodies.

and this gives us the opportunity to spread the kids out more to give them a better chance at getting a deer. In all, five deer were killed. One of the guides, Chris Greer, had an experience he wanted to share with everyone. He has been guiding the youngsters for six of the eight hunts, including this year, but on this hunt, he had the Best day of his life. Im telling his story as he told it to me, in his words.

By Chris Greer:
For the first five years Ive guided on the Youth Hunt at The oaks, two of my kids have killed a deer. They are all polite, very disciplined, respectful, and this is what makes it such a blessing to work with them. My hunter this year was Isaiah, a 10 year old who probably weighs all of 58 pounds soaking wet. When we unloaded my ATV, I asked him if hed like to drive, and of course he replied with a resounding YES. He then informed me that he had never driven one, but he is a fast learner, telling me that this is the best day of my life. We made it to the stand, and had our first encounter with nature. There was a spider on the ladder we had to climb up, but after getting rid of it, he settled down and was ready to hunt. He had his Ranch furnished Youth Model .243, which was still way too big for him. I had to fold up several shirts to allow him to sit up higher in the shooting house and he still had to stand up to sight his rifle. About then, I developed a cough that was the result
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Brittney and her deer.


Isaiah continued to tell me that this was the Best Day of My Life, but little did he know it was the best day of my life too! Just before dark, another deer entered the field about 100 yards away and Isaiah got it in his scope. He asked should I shoot the buck? and of course I said yes. He made the shot and I could see the deer collapse immediately. We gave each other high fives and shared a big hug, gathered our stuff and went to look at the deer. Wow, he was huge, and Isaiah kept telling me that this was the best day of his life! The look of amazement on his face as he got to touch his deer would have melted the heart of any old guy in the world. I know it did mine! It turned out to weigh almost 200 pounds, Mike Sievering, District Wildlife Biologists Supervisor, introducing the kids was at least 4.5-years-old, and the most beauto the world of trapping. tiful ugly rack Ive ever seen. While a ragged five point, it was a deer that neither I, nor Isaiah will cough. That was the first time since about 3:00 p.m. that ever forget. His deer won two prizes! The first prize was I had coughed, after I had asked to God to take away for the heaviest deer and another for the biggest buck. my cough so Isaiah could get him a deer. God surely Heres the pic of Isaiah and his deer. furnished me the Best Day of my Life! After leaving The Oaks at about 8:00 p.m., I had Thanks to all the members at The Oaks, John about a two hour drive back to my home in Graysville, Croyles Big Oak Ranch, and to God for making all this Alabama. While driving through Tuscaloosa, I had to possible. Chris Greer I want to thank our sponsors for this years hunt, because without them, none of this would have been possible. They are listed below in alphabetical order. Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association Ann Payne Buds Best Cookies Charles Swanson, the Ice Cream Man Edgars Friends from Eutaw Greene County Farmers Federation Greene County Independent Members of The Oaks RJ Mechanical
Isaiah and his deer. Nina and her deer.

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Camden Youth Hunt

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On Gulf Coast Restoration

By David Rainer, photo by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

ts a Hurry Up and Wait situation for the Gulf Coast ognized the contribution of Alabamas Congressional Ecosystem Restoration Council, which held its first Delegation of Sen. Richard Shelby and Sen. Jeff Sessions official meeting in December 2012 in Mobile. The and Congressman Jo Bonner for their work to get the RESTORE Act passed in Congress. Council is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to restore the Gulf Coast states environmental and The oil rig explosion on April 20, 2010, triggered economic damage caused by an unprecedented crisis the Deepwater Horizon oil and response, Gov. Bentley spill in 2010. said. By the time the well The problem is that the was capped, some 4.9 mil lion barrels of oil had been Council doesnt have any money. When the RESTORE released into the Gulf of Act was passed by the U.S. Mexico. This resulted in Congress, it designated that significant impacts on our 80 percent of the civil pen ecosystems and economic alties connected with the activity. The nation was Clean Water Act violations impacted by the spill, and each coastal state had dif would go to the Gulf Coast ferent catastrophic damag states. However, a settle ment of those penalties has es. The oil spill underscored not occurred, and Acting the crucial linkage between Commerce Secretary Rebecca the environment and the Blank said there is no crystal economic health of the Gulf ball to check to determine of Mexico. People along the Alabama Gulf Coast, like when funds actually will become available. many other areas, depend Despite the lack of funding, on the nat ural b e aut y the RESTORE Act required and seafood bounties for the Council, which supplants Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley expresses to the Gulf Coast their livelihoods. the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Ecosystem Restoration Council that the effect of the oil spill There are many Alabam Restoration Task Force, to and subsequent effort for restoration should remain focused ians who are still struggling have a proposed restoration on the people of the Gulf Coast. with the effects of the oil plan developed within six spill. In fact, recently, I was months of the passage of the bill. eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel. While I was eating, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley welcomed the Council, a lady came up to me and said, Governor, Im so glad Secretary Blank and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to to see you here. I was in Foley. Then she began to tell Alabama and thanked the Task Force for its work. Gov. me her story about her husband, who had lost his job Bentley pointed out that Alabamas coastline accounts for because he worked on a shrimp boat. She began to cry. 23 percent of the tax revenue that comes to Montgomery All I could do was just stand there and hold her. to fund education and essential services. He also rec continued on 97
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Beaches can be repaired, but lives of people are what we always need to remember. Gov. Bentley said that although significant progress has been made since the oil spill, there is much work still to be done. We have to make this right for those who suffered greatly, and make sure they have better days ahead, he said. We have made progress to get livelihoods restored, businesses back opened and the environmental impact lessened. Today we take another major step forward in making the Gulf Coast stronger and more resilient. The Gulf Coast is truly a national treasure. I am confident we will take the steps necessary to make this region whole again. Secretary Blank said that the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most diverse environments in the world, including more than 15,000 species of sea life. She noted that 22 million Americans live in Gulf Coast counties, which are home to 10 of Americas largest sea ports. Those ports accounted for almost half-a-trillion dollars in two-way trade in the first nine months of 2012. Today our collective focus is how to restore the longterm health, prosperity and resilience of the vital Gulf region, Secretary Blank said. Im confident we can do that in a way that restores our environment, invigorates local communities and creates jobs. Were not letting the fact the settlement hasnt occurred stop us from moving forward with the work of this council, working closely with the states as they develop plans. Secretary Blank said once settlement money is depos ited into the trust fund, it will be used in five different ways. The five states will share 35 percent of the trust funds, while 30 percent will go to the Council to imple ment the comprehensive restoration. Another 30 percent will go to the Gulf Coast states for projects that deal with the impact of the oil spill. The remaining five percent will be split between two programs for research, technology and monitoring related to the restoration. N. Gunter Guy Jr., Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said he was glad to see the Council start to work as soon as possible. Its good the Council is being proactive and working on planning so that when money becomes available we will be ready to start addressing the projects to help restore the Gulf, and thats the mindset of our state coun cil as well, said Commissioner Guy, who served on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Still, Guy continued, as the Governor points out, we dont know when the money will come to the states because the Clean Water Act is not a state claim; it is a federal claim only. Thats not to say we havent been involved in discussions with them. We hope to have as much input as possible, but the federal government can settle that claim at any time with or without notice to us. After the election, there was the criminal penalty settlement (BP agreed to pay $4 billion over five years), which kind of came unexpectedly. Its the same scenario here. In my opinion, they gave up some of our leverage when they settled the criminal claim without settling the Clean Water Act civil claim as well. Commissioner Guy said each Gulf Coast state was impacted by the oil spill in some way, but there should be no priority given to one type of injury over another. He said despite the differences, all states are similarly affected by what happens in the Gulf. Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said no matter how well the Alabama Gulf Coast has rebounded, there is lingering damage from the oil spill. We still have issues related to backwater areas and the future and reputation of the Gulf with all the disper sants that are out there, Mayor Craft said. There are questions among our visitors that have expressed ongo ing concerns. We have a lot of businesses that have not have been properly compensated for their losses. Some of them went out of business, and some of these family businesses are impossible to replace. The whole thing is that if we dont protect and sustain our environment then we have no economy. Our entire economy is based on a clean, safe and usable environ ment. l

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Preservation or Conservation?
By Bruce W. Todd, Certified Wildlife Biologist Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

he words preservation and conservation are often used interchangeably. This may be because the term preserve is often associated with food, as in preserving food through canning or freezing. Sometimes landowners assign the name preserve to the family land that they hunt, fish and use for recreation. Lets look a little closer at the true meaning of the word preservation. In land management, preserve means to leave the land untouched with no management. However, even that will bring about change. The choice to leave something alone and let nature take its course brings about change. A cleared field, through natural succession, will grow a shrub layer pretty quickly and, left alone, will become a forest in just a few years. An old growth forest will begin to die a little at a time. As trees mature, they become susceptible to wind, pests or disease, and will eventually die and fall to the ground. Seed from the forest plants, now exposed to sunlight and with more abundant water and mineral resources, will sprout and the natural cycle will begin all over again. So, you see, there is no such thing as preservation in the strictest sense of the word. Often, those who manage a piece of land to sustain certain aspects of it may not be making use of the resources, but they are still conserving the merits of the land that they judge important. Conservation, by definition, is the wise use of our natural resources. Our world is in a constant state of

change. Man is always making some modification to the environment. An increasing number of people are moving out of the cities to suburban and urban areas. As a result, more natural habitat is being converted from forest, fields and wetlands to home sites, shopping malls and office complexes. Without conservation efforts, many of our natural resources would be lost. Both forests and wildlife resources can be conserved with proper planning and practices. Those interested in wildlife may utilize a conservation plan to make wise use of that resource. Utilizing the art and science of wildlife management is necessary to help keep wildlife populations balanced within the habitat. One example of an animal in need of management is the white-tailed deer. Without the benefit of hunting, the prolific deer would soon deplete the natural browse and food sources. Deer looking for alternate food sources would destroy crops, ornamentals and gardens. Not only that, but deer health would decline and disease and vehicle collisions would increase. Without intervention, there eventually could be a large die-off of deer and a reduction in the population Non-game animals like songbirds also need to be conserved. They require protection and habitat management for their populations to be sustained at healthy levels. Many land management practices that benefit game animals also benefit other populations of less prolific noncontinued on 101

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game animals. Practices like prescribed burning, timber thinning and small clearcuts that are maintained as forest openings may conserve and enhance habitats for deer, quail and turkey populations, but also populations of gopher tortoises, woodpeckers and songbirds. Before undertaking conservation practices on your land, seek out the wisdom of other landowners, resource professionals and wildlife managers to develop a plan that will best help achieve your conservation goals. Remember, preservation is virtually impossible because change is inevitable. With proper planning, you can guide change

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in a way that benefits both yourself and the resource. For more information on conservation, contact Bruce Todd, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 30571 Five Rivers Boulevard, Spanish Fort, AL 36527; phone 251-626-5474. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabamas natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com. l


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Alabamas Largest and Most Affordable Hunting Club

By Stewart Abrams, Area Wildlife Biologist Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

n todays economy, most of us are looking at ways to save and cut back on expenses. At the same time, it is getting more difficult to find affordable land to hunt. If you are fortunate enough to have friends or family with land that you can hunt on, count your blessings. Most hunting clubs have a substantial annual membership fee, and the cost to lease lands is still significant. With those high prices many people are searching for alternatives. Did you know that there is an approximately 760,000-acre hunting club that you can join for less than $45 per year? This is no joke. In fact, depending on what game animal you want to hunt, the annual dues for this club may be less than $45. The hunting club I am speaking of is Alabamas Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). There are currently 36 WMAs throughout the state of Alabama with a combined acreage of more than 760,000 acres. Chances are that one or more of these areas are within a short drive of where you live. Alabamas wildlife management areas provide many different hunting opportunities for the public. If you enjoy bird hunting, there are several WMAs that offer excellent dove, waterfowl and turkey hunting. Some areas are known more for exceptional deer hunting than others. Small game, such as squirrel, rabbit, and raccoon, can be found on all areas. Within the past several years, numerous management areas have been invaded by feral hogs. Although feral hogs are very destructive to the habitat, many hunters enjoy the challenge of pursuing them. There is an abundance and variety of game animals on Alabama WMAs for the hunters enjoyment. The type of license needed for hunting on a WMA depends on what species of game animal is hunted. If you are strictly a small game hunter, a wildlife heritage

license might appeal to you. A wildlife heritage license, which costs just over $10, allows Alabama residents to hunt small game, except waterfowl, on any WMA. This license also allows the purchaser to use any Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) shooting range, any WFFoperated public fishing lake (day-use permit required), and fish in public freshwater from the bank with a hook and line statewide. If you would rather hunt big game, such as turkey and deer, an Alabama resident can purchase an all-game hunting license and a wildlife management area license for a combined total of just under $41. And dont forget to purchase your state and federal duck stamps when hunting waterfowl. The allgame and WMA licenses also include the privileges of the wildlife heritage license. In addition to the appropriate license, a current map permit for the particular area you are hunting is required. These free map permits are available at any WFF district office, local hunting license vendors, and online at www.outdooralabama.com. Alabamas WMAs also offer a variety of other outdoor recreational opportunities. You can camp, hike, canoe, fish, or even ride horses on most management areas. Rules and regulations vary between WMAs, so be aware of them before beginning your outdoor excursion. All of the rules are on the back of the map permit. So what are you waiting for? Get out and enjoy the largest and most affordable hunting club in Alabama! You and your wallet will be glad you did. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabamas natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com. l
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Henry County 2012 Youth Dove Hunt

By Larry Doster

he Henry County Youth Dove Hunt was held on opening day for the south zone, September 22, 2012. This was earlier than previous years and it was pretty hot; but the hot weather didnt bother the enthusiasm of the youth that attended. Again, we had a full field of hunters comprised of sixty youth and their adult sponsors. Mr. Jay Sadler, owner of Sadler Weld ing Products, volunteered again this year to bring his elevator tower, clays and skeet machine for the kids to get in practice before going on the dove field. Mr. Elbert Bristow also volunteered to set up various activities such as rod and reel casting, sack races, and .22 rifle shooting. Mr. Harnidge Elliott prepared the field for the dove hunt/ Mr.Hannon Hall, along with other members of the

CEO Larry Doster and Captain Chris Lewis registering Keith Phillips and his son, Gavin Phillips.

Haleburg Baptist Church, cooked deer sau sage, hotdogs and hamburgers for lunch. As always, we really appreciate the assis tance and support of our volunteers and the Haleburg community. Captain Chris Lewis, Bill Gray, and my wife Janan Doster, registered the hunt ers. I gave a safety talk prior to the hunt. Each youth hunter drew for a door prize. Door prizes were purchased with funds provided by the ACEOA and Wal-Mart. Again, let me say a big thank you to the landowner, Mrs. Charlotte Doster. Thank you for being supportive of our youth events and our department. We look forward to next years event. l
Volunteer, Elbert Bristow, gives instructions at the sack race event.
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Keith Johnson and his daughter, Sara Beth, go onto the dove field for an afternoon of shooting.

Janan Doster (CEO Larry Dosters wife) and Captain Chris Lewis registering hunters.

Stanley Snell and Ashland Watford at their location on the dove field.

Youth hunter, Daniel Corbitt, gets in some practice at the skeet shooting tower provided by Sadler Welding Products.
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