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Official Publication of the ACEOA


Gayle Morrow

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


in this issue...
2016 2017 State Officers and Directors  3
From the President  5


From the Trenches  7

Chris Banks / Jim Downing

8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
(334) 213-6229

CEO Training  15
Life Hunt 2016  21
The 2016 BADF Life Hunt  27


My Hunt of a Lifetime  39

ACEOA sponsored Victorian Blocker

for the BADF 2016 Life Hunt.
Tori had the hunt of a lifetime
and took a very nice deer on the
last day. She is pictured with her
dad, P.J. Blocker. (see page 27)

ACEOA 2015 Officer of the Year  43

Marine Resources Division Gets K9 Assistance  47
Kidz Outdoors Soggy Bottom Lodge Hosted Benefit  53
Kids Korner  61
Kids Korner  63
Hunting Violations  65
Alabama State Parks and the Eighth Day Escapes Contest  69
Outdoors With Friends Holds Fishing Event  75
Board Votes to Expand February Deer Season  79
Press Release ~ Alabama State Parks Blaze New Paths  85
Press Release ~ Possible Changes Coming to
Dog Deer Regulations  89
Turkey Talk  91
Alabama Artificial Reef Program  95

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 2016. 
All rights reserved.

Snapper Season  101

Press Release ~ Court Approves the
Largest Environmental Settlement in History  107
Wild Chase  109
Membership Application  111
Advertisers Index  194
Business Directory  200
ACEOA Magazine1

2016 2017 ACEOA State Officers

Executive Director

Rusty Morrow (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Enforcement Retired)

2016 2017 ACEOA State Officers

Heath Walls President Vance Wood Vice President Rick Smith 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


Cliff Robinson Director Clint Tyus Associate Director Marcus Rowell Associate Director
Autauga, Bibb, Chilton, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lowndes, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, Tuscaloosa


Tim Ward Director Patrick Norris Associate Director Brad Gavins Associate Director
Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Montgomery, Pike, Russell


Edward Bo Willis Director Joe Goddard Associate Director

Baldwin, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Washington, Wilcox

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) 3919113, rusty_morrow@yahoo.com

ACEOA Magazine3

From the President

By Lt. Heath Walls

d like to thank all of our contributors and members

for all the support you give the ACEOA. Your support allows us to help our officers in times of need
and, send disabled veterans and kids hunting and fishing.
We strive to provide opportunities to enjoy the hunting
and fishing experience to those who wouldnt be able
to otherwise. We also do our best to educate about the
importance of conservation efforts and that conservation
doesnt mean to let natural resources go unused but to
manage those resources so they will always be available.
I hope everyone had a successful turkey season and
got a chance to do a little spring time fishing while we had
some cool pleasant weather. We encourage you to participate in our voluntary turkey and poultry count surveys if
you have the chance. Game Check will be mandatory next
year, but this survey provides more detailed information
for our wildlife biologist. You can go to our department
web site for more information, OutdoorAlabama.Com,
and type turkey survey in the search box.
Summer is almost here. Make sure to spend some time
on some of Alabamas public waterways. We are blessed
to have such abundant fishing and recreational opportunities. Make sure to check your fishing license; all DCNR
licenses expire August 31st, not one year from date of
purchase. Free fishing day is June 11th this year, no fishing license needed for this one day. Also, a lot of us are

putting our boat in the

water for the first time
since last year, make
sure your registration
is not expired. We like
all of our contacts with
fishermen and recreational boaters to be
positive experiences,
so make sure youve got
all your safety equipment, follow the boating
Rules of the Road, and
abide by size and creel
limits while fishing.
Lt. Heath Walls
ACEOA will be sponsoring several youth fishing events this summer. I hope
you get the chance to participate in one. There are few
experiences as rewarding as seeing a kid reel in their
first fish.
On behalf of the ACEOA, thank you to all our divisions
within the Department of Conservation: State Parks, State
Lands, Marine Resources, and Wildlife and Freshwater
Fisheries. And again, thank you to all of our supporters
and members. If we can do anything to help you please
contact us at ACEOA. Have a great summer.

ACEOA Magazine5

From the Trenches

By Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

ell it is finally time for good weather. We had

an unseasonably wet spring here in south
Alabama but maybe its gonna be better now.
Our Game and fish Officers are headed out to the rivers
and lakes. Marine Resource Officers are getting ready for
their busy gulf fishing season. Our State Park Officers
will be covered up with campers and visitors enjoying
our State Parks.
ACEOA is busy preparing for our summer events. If
you live in these areas where these events are going on,
please take advantage of the fun times. We will be posting
them on our website, aceoa.org.
This issue of ACE Magazine is probably our favorite.
This is our opportunity to feature the BADF Life Hunt.
It is, by far, our largest corporate sponsorship. We were
able to sponsor a young lady from Mobile named Tori
Blocker. She turned out to be quiet a hunter. Please read
her story in the Life Hunt section.
It was at the Life hunt that I met Carol Clark with Kidz
Outdoors. They do so much for children with special
needs. We knew we wanted to be a part of her program
and our partnership will do nothing but grow. In this issue
there is an article about her May fundraiser in Linden,
Alabama. If numbers of participants are an indication of
her support it is overwhelming.

We have made a special effort to feature our Officers in

the Beyond the Basics section. You will read about the
training our officers are required to take. We are blessed
with a fine group of instructors in our department and
Captain Matt Weathers is probably one of the most skilled
instructors in the state. We are proud that our officers
can respond prepared when called upon.
Again I would like to thank our Corporate Sponsors
that support our many causes by placing their ads in
this magazine. You make all of this possible. You have
no idea how many people we have touched because of
you. Ive said it over and over but you are the Life Line
to this Association.
Please enjoy this issue and when finished please pass
it on to another so that they may see what good things
this association does.
Please be safe out there this summer and enjoy
Alabamas wonderful natural resources. I will leave you
with this quote:
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples,
dont count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
~ Bill Meyer

ACEOA Magazine7



Lolleys Body Shop

7970 County Road 636
Chancellor, AL 36316

Beyond The Basics

113 Cannondale Circle

Cowarts, Alabama 36321

By Gayle Morrow, ACE 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
as peace
To ensure
98 officers.
Suite 1
that wildlife is being
36526 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, P.O.
they are
497upon when disaster
strikes. They were
Brantley, AL aftermath
36009 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.
Officer Stacy Lush was doing his job on the afternoon
of February 21, 2016 when he noticed some suspicious
activity near where he was checking fishing activity.
Officer Lush was ableP.O.
to apprehend
Box 265two murder suspects

Kennedy Logging, Inc.

that afternoon because of his location and because he is

well trained. He made very good decisions and definitely
went beyond the basics in his line of duty. Please read
the story that follows written in his words.
Thank these748
when Road
you see
91them and know
that you are safer
because of AL

Clay County Goat &


Flowers Insurance
P.O. Box 368
Dothan, AL 36302




Stump Grinding Service

Westwood Animal

Coker, AL 35452

2108 Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Birmingham, AL 35214


CEO Stacy Lush.


ACEOA Magazine9

BEYOND THE BASICS A Day On The Job continued

A Day On The Job

By CEO Stacy Lush

n February, 21, 2016, at approximately 2:10 PM,

I was on duty checking some of my local creeks
for fishing activity when I spotted an individual
about 60 yards off of 231 north down a gated drive in
a location where I have received fishing without permission complaints over the years. I continued north on 231
to see if I could spot their vehicle under the 231 bridge.
I didnt see a vehicle so I made a U-turn and headed back
south to check out the individual I had spotted.
I could still see someone down drive when I made
my way back to the gated drive. I crossed the
median towards the gate and the individual
took off running. I left my vehicle, locking
it as I jumped the gate and gave chase.
Down the drive about 100 and some yards
I caught up with what was not one but two
adults running though the bushes. I then
identified myself and told them to stop.
The male subject whipped around holding
a small child up in front of himself like a shield
and said Dont shoot we have kids. I then
directed the male subject and second person (recognized
as a female holding another small child) to come out of
the bushes with their hands were I could see them. They
were holding a couple of sharp sticks a foot and a half
in length and a camo backpack. The male had a large
folding knife in his pocket. Once they came out of the
bushes to the drive, I searched and took the bag, sticks
and knife away from them and attempted to get some
identification from them.
I then questioned them about why they ran from me
and what they were doing on this property. They had
a very good story about being kicked out of their house.

They claimed they just needed to get a ride to town so

they could perhaps get a place to stay. They told me they
thought I was the landowner and they didnt want to get
in trouble for trespassing.
The male was not following my directions very well
or answering my questions sensibly. He was very thirsty
and wanted some water so I told him I had some in my
truck. I directed them to my truck. Both individuals gave
me reason to believe we needed to move away from the
woods and closer to my truck and highway 231 in case
there was a fight. While walking behind them out
of the woods I finally had a chance to take my
eyes off of them to call the Houston County
Sheriffs office and get me some backup.
They recently did away with their Southern
Linc so I had to dial instead of push to talk.
I knew I had stumbled up on something
serious when the dispatcher said a few
choice words and yelled in the background
that Lush is out with the suspects right now
get him some help. By the time we came out of
the woods by my truck several Sheriff deputies arrived.
We took the couple into custody. Come to find out law
enforcement had been searching the area for about four
and a half hours. I had been out of the county for a few
days and did not know anything about the individuals.
These subjects allegedly murdered one person in Florida
and left another for dead. They were pursued by Florida
law enforcement the day before and were able to escape
to Alabama and hide out near the area I spotted them in.
The two are currently awaiting extradition back to Florida
and the juveniles were taken by Florida DHR.

ACEOA Magazine11

BEYOND THE BASICS Locals Help In Capture of 2 Murder Suspects continued

Locals Help In Capture of 2 Murder Suspects

By Deborah Buckhalter / Jackson County Floridian / February 22, 2016

Sarah Christine Stewart, 33, is charged with being an

he Jackson County Sheriffs Office and other agenaccessory
after the fact of murder.
cies worked through the weekend to help Bay
County capture two of the three people named as
On Saturday night just after dark, Jackson County
murder suspects in the Saturday death of
Sheriff Lou Roberts and a chief deputy
from Bay County were searching together
a Bay County woman.
for the Powells and had spotted them
The victims body was found Saturday
in her residence on Owenwood Road north
leaving a side road off Highway 2 near
of Fountain with a gunshot wound. Her
Graceville and gave chase, but they were
housemate was severely injured in the
unable to keep up as the Powells fled the
attack but was able to escape to a nearby
scene in a dark Honda Hyundai Sonata,
residence. The three murder suspects are
Roberts said. However, the two officers
also named as suspects in her injures.
were able to seize a red pick-up truck
The names of the victims had not been
believed to belong to Mr. Powell that was
released as of early Monday.
Tiffany Powell.
parked off the side road.
Another suspect has been named as an
Roberts and that officer were on the
accessory after the fact of murder.
trail of the couple again Sunday, along
Christopher David Powell, 31, and
with a dog team from Jackson Correctional
Institution, some officers from the Houston
Tiffany M. Powell, 28, were taken into
custody Sunday walking along a back road
County Sheriffs Office and others from
near Center Stage Alabama on U.S. 231 in
additional agencies assisting the Bay
Houston County and a few miles from the
County Sheriffs Office in the case.
Jackson County line. Each is charged with
With officers from all those agencies
an open count of murder in the death of
closing in, the Powells were captured by
the dead woman and with attempted murAlabama Conservation Enforcement Officer
der in the assault of the woman injured.
Christopher David Powell.
Stacy Lush of the Alabama Department
Two children, both under the age of six,
of Conservation and Natural Resources/
were with the Powells when they were arrested, and the
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries division.
youngsters were taken into protective custody and turned
When the children were taken into protective custody,
over to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
the two boys appeared to be uninjured except for those
The third murder suspect, Justin McCallihan, 31, was
of a minor nature consistent with walking through brushy
arrested Sunday at an apartment in Bay County. He is also
areas, Roberts said.
charged with aggravated assault on the injured woman.

ACEOA Magazine13

CEO Training
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Photos by Billy Pope

ometimes theyre teased as squirrel cops and

deer detectives. Fact is, most people dont have
a clue as to daily duties performed by an Alabama
Conservation Enforcement Officer (CEO).
When a CEO from the Alabama Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources goes on duty, he
or she is trained to handle a wide variety of enforcement
tasks, some of which have nothing to do with wildlife
or fish. It could be a domestic dispute, drug running or
any number of illegal activities. The Alabama CEO has
to be prepared for any and all of the above. And when
a CEO performs wildlife-related enforcement, those being
checked usually have firearms in their possession.
A prime example occurred several years ago in Geneva
County when a 28-year-old man went berserk and killed
10 people before an Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater

Fisheries (WFF) CEO joined local law enforcement in their

efforts to subdue the killer. CEO Joel Hendron was able to
return fire with his semi-automatic rifle, which eventually
caused the perpetrator to commit suicide.

Because Alabama CEOs could find themselves in any

enforcement situation, training is the key to ensure readiness.
Two years ago, Alabama CEOs went through ALERRT
(Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training),
a two-day course that all law enforcement officers in the
state must attend. It teaches fundamental techniques
and tactics to respond to active shooter events inside
buildings, whether it is in a school building, government
building or office building.
What was found through the years, and really the
Columbine tragedy was the reason for the change,
was that for years local law enforcement was taught
to call SWAT teams, said Capt. Matt Weathers of the
WFFs Enforcement Section. But the response time for
SWAT is so long the event is usually over with by the
time they get there.
Twelve students and one teacher were
killed during the Columbine school shooting
in Colorado in 1999.
Now, enforcement officers are taught to
get a small team together two, three or four
officers and go on in to the sound of gunfire
and stop the killing, trying to save as many
lives as possible, Weathers said.
That is why officers recently completed
the training regimens to prepare them for
any encounters. Just like many professionals,
Alabama CEOs must obtain continuing education units (CEUs) to keep their accreditation
with the Alabama Police Officers Standards
and Training (APOST) Commission.
This spring, Alabama CEOs completed the
course called ERASE (Exterior Response to
Active Shooter Events). Weathers said ERASE
is designed to complement the previous training by providing techniques to deal with a shooter in rural settings,
where Alabama CEOs spend most of their patrol time.
continued on 17
ACEOA Magazine15

CEO TRAINING continued

This training is geared more to what our
guys do on a day-in and day-out basis,
said Weathers, who is qualified to conduct
both ALERRT and ERASE training. This
would make our guys safer in their jobs. It
would give them techniques and tactics to
make them safer.
Realistically, it makes everybody safer.
The more our guys are trained for incidents
that occur in rural settings the better. Very
often, our guys are the first officers to these
scenes. And were not just talking wildlife
laws. There are a lot more things going on
in the woods than just hunting violations.
Our guys sometimes end up in the middle
of that.
Weathers set up the training through
Russ Clagget, who heads up the ERASE
program for ALERRT in San Marcos, Texas.
Russ volunteered to send a team, himself included,
to Alabama for our first two classes at their expense,
Weathers said. The training takes three days, and
its incredibly complex to conduct. There is zero down
time. Our guys would usually eat lunch standing up,
and then it was right back to training. Russ sent us all
the firearms used in training, all the protective gear, the
simunition rounds (paintball rounds), all the equipment
that was needed.
On top of that, they left one of their instructors behind
to help our instructors train the rest of our officers. It
took us five sessions to get everybody through it. We had
some Alabama State Troopers and Dallas County Sheriff
Deputies with us, too.
Weathers said the training would run the CEOs through
different scenarios that might occur during the course of
their patrols.
They teach you a skillset, he said. It might be something as simple as how to set up your equipment in your
vehicle. Where is your rifle? Where is your go bag with
extra ammunition and medical supplies. Then they go into
force-on-force scenarios where you apply those skills.
Basically, a bad guy attacks you.
One of the scenarios used in the training is that a person with a handgun is spotted at a local state park.
Hes walking by people telling them he is going to kill

them. The training includes gathering a quick team and

applying the techniques to stop the threat.
These situations occur very commonly, Weathers
said. People go off the deep end. We had a situation
recently in Cullman where this guy starts driving around
in his car shooting at people. Then he stopped his car
and was shooting at passersby. Then he ran off into
the woods.
The officers who took that guy into custody had to
display exactly what we were just taught to do. They had
to do it without the benefit of the latest training, so this
gives us an edge, very specific to what we do.
Weathers said the ERASE training is based heavily
on medical techniques for injuries that occur during an
active shooter situation. Each trainee was given a tourniquet at the start of the course and was instructed on
how to apply and when to apply the tourniquet. Training
includes how to remove an injured person from an active
shooter scene.
But this technique not only applies to active shooter
events, he said. Our guys are routinely responding to
hunting accidents. A lot of these places where people fall
out of trees or accidently shoot themselves are not places
where you can drive right up to them. This better equips
our people to save lives.
continued on 19
ACEOA Magazine17

CEO TRAINING continued

113 Cannondale Circle
Cowarts, Alabama 36321


Ours is not the most dangerous profession, but when
our guys get in a situation,
its usually abnormally bad.
While most of the training occurred outdoors, Weathers
2200 US Hwy. 98 Suite 1
said part of the course included watching officer-involved
videos of encounters
the 36526
ERASE training would
have helped. More251-626-2696
than half of the videos involved game
wardens from different states.

Kennedy Logging, Inc.

P.O. Box 497
Brantley, AL 36009


You can look back at the Geneva shootings, where Officer Hendron did nothing
short of saving the day by stopping
active killer, Weathers said. This training
is geared specifically toward those type situations. Its not the time to learn new skills
in the middle of a gunfight.
And its getting more and more danger7970
ous every
day out Road
there. 636
Weathers said AL
all CEOs
completed the
ERASE training, and the feedback from those
attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
This was absolutely the highest rated
training in my memory in the 18 years Ive
been here, he said.

Lolleys Body Shop

with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources recently completed
the ERASE training course
to learn additional skills and techniques for enforcement

actions in open or
areas. Road
Some of91
the skills the course
covered were how to quickly assemble
a team and advance
against the threat,256-839-6824
how to subdue a perpetrator and how to
evacuate an injured comrade.

Flowers Insurance
P.O. Box 368
Dothan, AL 36302


ACEOA Magazine19

Life Hunt 2016

By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

nspiration comes in abundance at the annual

Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation in
west central Alabama.
Each year, the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation
selects about a dozen hunters with significant challenges
to everyday life. Jimmy Hintons family and a host of volunteers work year-round to ensure that accommodations
make it as easy as humanly possible for these hunters
to enjoy hunting for two-and-a-half days in some of the
best deer woods in the South.
Two young ladies with vastly different backgrounds
and challenges provide that inspiration for everyone who
loves the great outdoors.
Victoria Tori Blocker of Mobile, Alabama, was
born with a genetic defect called MPS 1 (Mucopoly
saccharidosis), which affects numerous body systems
and can cause organ damage and death.
The disorder causes a build-up of fatty tissue and
can cause leaky (heart) valves, bone defects and organ
damage, said Toris father, Phillip PJ Blocker. If left
untreated, it can cause organ failure.

Toris dad, Phillip, right, and Rusty Morrow of

the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers
Association help celebrate Toris deer.

Tori plans to graduate from high school next year

but not before she has another hip replacement surgery.
When Tori was 10-months-old, she went to Duke
University for a stem cell transplant. Since then,
Tori has undergone numerous surgeries.
We dont know how long well have her,
Phillip said. Shes doing well right now. After
we went to Duke, they told us just to take her
home and love her because they couldnt tell us
how long she would live.
Now 16-plus years later, Tori and her dad
started hunting by taking advantage of the
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources Hunting and Fishing Trail for People
with Physical Disabilities.
Visit http://www.outdooralabama.com/sites/
for more information on the trail.
Tori Blocker of Mobile, Alabama, used adaptive equipment,
But the first item on the agenda was finding the
the iScope, to bag a nice 8-point buck at the Buckmasters
right adaptive equipment for Tori, who is legally

Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation in west central Alabama.

continued on 23
ACEOA Magazine21

LIFE HUNT 2016 continued

blind and confined to a wheelchair.
When the Alabama Conservation
Phillip adapted a Caldwell Deadspot
Enforcement Officers Association
TreePod gun rest to her wheelchair.
invited the Blockers to the Buckmasters
Then he heard of a product called an
hunt, they didnt hesitate.
iScope, which fits over the end of the
We saw bucks, does and spikes,
scope and the sight picture with crossTori said. I saw 20 deer on the
hairs is picked up on her Smartphone.
food plot.
When I found out about the iScope,
There were a bunch of nice deer in
I bought one, Phillip said. I took her
the field, but they were a little too far,
out to see if she could see with the
Phillip said. They needed to be a little
closer. But this has been a great experiiScope because she couldnt shoot
10-yards before. It worked and she took
ence to come to a nice place like this
her first deer, a doe, at 120 yards at the
and see a lot of quality deer. Everybody
Upper State management area.
just looks out for you, and Tori said
Tori added, On Thanksgiving Day.
everybody has been so nice to her.
That was just the beginning. Tori
Just when it looked like Tori might
Amberley Snyder.
have to wait until next time to bag a big
bagged a total of three deer on the
buck, a beautiful eight-point showed up
hunting trail with trips to the USA
on the last afternoon of the Buckmasters hunt, and she
Foundation, Upper State and Little River State Forest
physically disabled hunting areas, and then she added
made a perfect shot.
a couple more at a hunt sponsored by Southside Baptist
From a totally different world is Amberley Snyder
from Elk Ridge, Utah, where her life revolved around the
Church in Troy, Ala.
rodeo circuit as a barrel racer. On her way to
a stock show in Denver six years ago, Snyder
lost control of her truck. She was ejected and
hit a fence post, breaking her back.
It wasnt long, though, until Snyder was
back in the saddle.
Ive been riding since I was 3, she said.
Ive been rodeoing since I was 7. My accident happened when I was 18. Four months
after that, I was back on a horse. It was
a little different because of all the modifications. I have a seatbelt on my saddle. I sit
on an air seat, like my wheelchair seat, and
I have Velcro straps across my legs. And
my feet are rubber-banded into the stirrups.
I took a break because it was too much
emotionally with my horses. Then 18 months
after my accident, I made my first barrel run.
Amberley Snyder of Utah didnt have a chance to take a trophy
It was awesome. They (medical experts) said
buck during the Buckmasters event, but she went home with
it was impossible. Loved it. Havent looked
the Jimmy Hinton Sr. Memorial Hunter of the Year Award, which
back since.
was presented by Buckmasters CEO Jackie Bushman, left, and
In fact, Snyder left the Buckmasters hunt
David Sullivan of Buckmasters American Deer Foundation.

continued on 25
ACEOA Magazine23

LIFE HUNT 2016 continued

in time to fly back to Utah and participate in the barrelracing competition the following weekend. She runs the
barrels almost every weekend.
As for her hunting experience, Snyder said she is on
a quest to hunt just about every species available in North
America. Shes already bagged a mule deer thats hanging in the familys kitchen. A pronghorn antelope mount
hangs in her bedroom.
The first afternoon we saw a lot of bucks, but they
wouldnt come within 400 yards, she said of the
Buckmasters hunt. The second day we saw a 10-point
but we couldnt get a shot. Weve seen deer here and
there, but I want to get one that will make a good mount.

Once she gets a suitable whitetail mounted on the wall,

Snyder plans to continue down her list, which includes
elk, bear, mountain lion and coyote.
I just want one good one of each species, Snyder
laughed. I expect that to take me several years, and my
list tends to grow the more I hunt.
Unfortunately, a shot at a trophy white-tailed buck
never happened at the Buckmasters event for Amberley,
so shes off to her next adventure. She did go home with
something to hang on the wall, however. Amberley was
presented with the Jimmy Hinton Sr. Memorial Hunter of
the Year Award because of her inspiration to everybody
at the Buckmasters Life Hunt.


Lolleys Body Shop

113 Cannondale Circle

Cowarts, Alabama 36321



7970 County Road 636

Chancellor, AL 36316

ACEOA Magazine25

Westwood Animal

The 2016 BADF Life Hunt

By Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

CEOA has been involved with Buckmasters

American Deer Foundation and the Life Hunt
Classic for more years than I can remember. It is
our most rewarding sponsorship. The Life Hunt invites
the fewest number of hunters, usually ten or eleven, but
each one of these special need hunters are given the
opportunity of a life time.
This year was no different than years past. The Hinton
family opened their beautiful plantation to these kids and
adults for three days. Blinds and plans are done weeks
ahead by a work force of guides and volunteers.
When the hunt begins an army of Buckmaster staffers handle all the meals and needs for the hunters. The
Poarch Indian special cooking detail was on hand to help
with the cooking. What a great group of people they are!
They are all about giving.
ACEOA sponsored a young lady named Tori Blocker
who is from Mobile. She had been given very few opportunities to hunt because of the challenges she faces and
her impaired vision. The technology of today provides
assistance for nearly every special need. Tori was able
to harvest a nice buck while using assistive technology. I
m not sure who cried more me, her dad, or Tori. She
probably did better than the both of us. That is what the
life hunt is about. Joy, high fives, hugs and tears. Believe
me there is a lot of this.
Hope for Warriors brought two wounded warriors
to the Hunt. Their presence is humbling because of their

Rusty Morrow and Tori Blocker.

sacrifice to our country. They are our heroes and we

appreciate what they gave for our freedom.
I cannot thank David Sullivan (BADF Director) enough
for his hard work and dedication to these special needs
hunters. He makes the hunt work like a fine oiled machine.
ACEOA is already planning for the hunt in January of
2017. We are on board for the long haul. Our dedicated
sponsors make our involvement in this event possible.
Thank you again and again.



ACEOA Magazine27

THE 2016 BADF LIFE HUNT continued

ACEOA Magazine29

THE 2016 BADF LIFE HUNT continued

ACEOA Magazine31

THE 2016 BADF LIFE HUNT continued

ACEOA Magazine33




ATMORE, AL 36052


Tractor Supply
2900 E. Meighan Blvd.
Gadsden, AL 35903


T-Roys Roofing

Southern Homes Realty

P.O. Box 7177

Spanish Fort, Alabama 36577

2550 Decatur Highway

Gardendale, AL 35071


Phase III Mobility

P.O. Box 231628
Montgomery, Alabama 36123


P.O. Box 86 534 Main Street
Hurtsboro, AL 36860


Cornerstone Realty
519 Lauderdale Street
Selma, AL 36701

A Lil Touch of
Cajun Grill
207 S. Kimble Avenue
Jackson, AL 36545


ACEOA Magazine35

THE 2016 BADF LIFE HUNT continued





ATMORE, AL 36052


Tractor Supply
2900 E. Meighan Blvd.
Gadsden, AL 35903


T-Roys Roofing

Southern Homes Realty

P.O. Box 7177

Spanish Fort, Alabama 36577

2550 Decatur Highway

Gardendale, AL 35071


Phase III Mobility

P.O. Box 231628
Montgomery, Alabama 36123


Dothan Vault & Septic

Cornerstone Realty
519 Lauderdale Street
Selma, AL 36701

ACEOA Magazine37


My Hunt of a Lifetime
By Tori Blocker

was excited when I heard we had a sponsor for the

2016 Buckmasters Life Hunt. I would get to miss
a couple days of school and spend quality time with
my dad. On the first day we drove all the way up from
Mobile and went straight to the camp. I remember how
beautiful the property was. It was easy to find the camp
because they had posted so many signs. Everyone was
so nice and happy to see me. I met Mr. David Sullivan
first along with so many others that I cant name them all.
My first objective was to sight in my rifle. I shoot a
.243 equipped with an attachment for my iPhone 6 plus,
because I am legally blind.
The hunt was awesome; I got to see so many deer.
Bucks were chasing does and I even sighted a bald eagle
nesting, which was pretty cool.
On the next day I got a little upset because there were
so many big bucks and Mr. Hinton Howell (my guide for
the hunt) wouldnt let me shoot any. But, I understood
that it was all part of the deer management and that
some bucks need to be taken while others need to stay
and breed. I was also interviewed by Mr. David Rainer,
a well-known writer, who put my picture in the mobile
paper along with a nice article.
It wasnt until the last evening of the last day that
I finally heard the words, take him! I was so excited!
I was smiling ear to ear as I yawned and rubbed my
eyes. (You see, I was tired and needed a little rest. This
was more than I was used to with all the walking and
climbing.) Mr. Hinton told me he was a little far out and

to use his gun. They quickly swapped my equipment over

and handed me the gun. Daddy said, steady and slowly
baby girlyou got this! I saw the deer perfectly in the
sights and took my shot all by myself. I was nervous,
did I get him? Is he down? I asked. Mr. Howell went to
check for the deer as my dad and I started to get ready
and come down from the shooting house. It seemed like
forever and I can remember Dad saying he was proud
no matter what.
We could see a flashlight coming back up the hill.
You see it was over 250 yards across the large five
acre green field. As he walked up to us he said, Well,
CONGRATULATIONS!! And perfect shot, Tori! He spoke
to my dad and it got a little emotional. He said, That is
what it is all about! (Daddy cried a little) My dad was
so proud of me and I was so proud, too. (Because now
I have a bigger trophy buck to hang on the wall than he
does). I rubbed it in but my daddy loved it. The saddest
part of the whole trip was leaving. We met so many
people, even celebrities, that were all here to help me
have a great hunting trip. This wouldnt have been possible without Buckmasters and my sponsor the Alabama
Conservation Enforcement Officer Association (ACEOA).
It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
I want to thank the Hinton family, Mr. Rusty Morrow
and ACEOA, Mr. David Sullivan, Mr. David Rainer, Hinton
Howell and Jackie Bushman and all the volunteers that
made this possible. And thank you, daddy!
continued on 41

ACEOA Magazine39


ACEOA Magazine41

Congratulations Keilan Lord

ACEOA 2015 Officer of the Year




ACEOA Magazine43


ACEOA Magazine45

Marine Resources Division

Gets K9 Assistance
By Major Scott Bannon, Chief Enforcement Officer

ost anyone who works in law enforcement

some species that are easy to catch but the season is
has had an opportunity to watch a K9 team
closed. This attitude is generally a response to reduced
in action. We all love watching the takedowns
fishing seasons and low bag limits for certain species
of bad guys who refuse to cooperate,
of popular fish. The Officers of AMRD
and we wonder what part of their brain
are aware of this and occasionally win
concluded they could hide from, out run
the game of hide-and-seek and issue
and out fight the dog. Additionally, we
citations. While the officers have the
are generally still amazed at the ability
right of inspection and this allows them
for a dog to find narcotics, bombs, bulto do a very thorough inspection on
lets, cellphones, wildlife, snakes, fruit,
a vessel that has been fishing, its not
plants live people, deceased people and
necessary for every vessel and it makes
whatever other items someone needs
law abiding citizens uncomfortable and
located. I am no different, one afterit takes time. In my discussion with
noon I was sitting with my feet propped
myself, I said self, is this a potential
up on my desk counting the holes in the
use for a dog? Could a dog find hidden
ceiling tile design (dont try it, its like
fish on a boat that would have other fish
trying to watch only one ceiling fan
K9 Gaines.
onboard? During a closed season, a fish
maybe caught and released in accorblade while it spins-impossible) and
pondered how we could utilize a dog.
dance with the law but the boat would
I said to myself, self, you are pretty
have that odor of that fish so can the
much the top of the food chain. The
dog discern the difference? After this
only person stopping you from finding
lengthy discussion with myself, I made
some calls and went to the library to
out is you.
do research, (okay, I went to Google).
Here is the challenge that we face at
the Marine Resources Division, a small
My first call was to the head of
segment of our saltwater fishing comthe Florida Wildlife Conservation
munity developed a fishing technique
Commission Canine training program.
called filet and release. This technique
I had an understanding that a dog would
is where an angler catches fish and filets
be able to identify if fish were onboard
them before returning to the dock, the
a vessel and that they may be able to
release part is discarding the carcass.
detect the species. California has been
It just so happens this is illegal so the
using dogs to find geoducks, a type of
angler needs to place the filet portion
shellfish, that divers were hiding. The
where they likely will not be located
challenge I saw was that a person delibby LE. Well if you are going to do that
erately takes a geoduck because you
do not incidentally have one on a boat.
why not go ahead and get a few extra
fish in excess of the limit or throw in
CEO Lena Philips and K9 Gaines.
continued on 49
ACEOA Magazine47


With fish, you may catch a species that is prohibited to
intimidate anglers. Also, they would need to work in tight
keep and follow the law and release it the boat may have
spaces. After meeting the staff, I was confident they would
the odor. He promptly advised me that I was looking at it
be able to develop an appropriate program. Within two
wrong you dont need the dog to tell
days they called me with a tentative
you the fish odor is present you need it
plan and they felt that some type of
to go to the source, that is different and
spaniel would be suitable. In our disthe dog knows it. After that revelation,
cussion of costs I determined the cost
I discovered there were already a few
for purchasing, training and equipping
dogs in the country that do this. A hantwo dogs and handlers was not much
dler in Minnesota was very helpful with
more than one so set my goal on having
explaining how his dog searches for
a team in each saltwater county, Mobile
people, gunpowder and fish. The dog
and Baldwin. Now I just needed some
learned to avoid common bait fish and
pennies to make it happen.
also learned where the most common
AMRD has partnered with NOAA
places where fish were hidden. The
Office of law Enforcement for more
than 10 years conducting federal fishdifference there is they have a peak
season in the winter, the dog finds all
K9 Morgan.
ery enforcement work through a Joint
of the caches on the ice while people
Enforcement Agreement (JEA). This
are fishing on frozen lakes. Having been
agreement pays patrol time for offices
in southern Alabama for more than 20
and it has the ability to fund the puryears, I hoped to avoid that type search.
chase of law enforcement specific
With the knowledge that dogs could
equipment. The week I met with the
locate fish, I had to locate a facility
senior agent that I needed to convince
to conduct training and I knew that
to approve the funding, AMRD officers
Auburn University had a canine training
made seven cases offshore on species
program so I made a call. The call led
that were closed to take. Some of the
meeting with the College of Veterinary
cases included whole fish and others
Medicine Canine Performance Sciences
included filets but both provided supProgram staff. They had experience
port for my request for funding to comtraining traditional LE detection dogs
bat the problems. He agreed to allow
but they also had trained other ecothe use of the JEA to partially fund the
dogs, dogs that locate wildlife or
program. My best estimate to create
plants. In particular, they had trained
whole program was $45,000. Costal
dogs to locate pythons in the everConservation Association of Alabama
glades so I knew they understood heat
and the A labama Conser vation
and humidity. Additionally, they are
Enforcement Officers association both
a research program so I felt confident
CEO Chris Cox and K9 Morgan.
agreed to provide funding. The ACEOA
in their science based approach and this
provided funding to assist in the instalwould provide another opportunity for them in a unique
lation of metal door panels with window screens and
aspect of detector training. I presented my goal of searchheat alarm systems. Both items are crucial to ensuring
ing for hidden fish and filets on boats and that I had
the safety of the dogs.
a few requirements for the dog. I did not want a German
CEOs Lena Phillips (Mobile) and Chris Cox (Baldwin)
both volunteered to be handlers and passed an interShepherd or Belgian Malinois because they are too large
view with the Auburn staff. The Auburn staff also began
for officers to pick up routinely and place into boats and
I did not want the appearance that we were trying to
continued on 51
ACEOA Magazine49


CEO Lena Phillips with K9 Gaines on duty.

CEO Chris Cox with K9 Morgan on duty.

the search for dogs. Their search ultimately led them to

worked very hard and they passed their final exam with
facilities in Europe to find what they felt were suitable
the Terry Fisher, the senior trainer for Auburn in January
high drive dogs. The dogs needed to have an intense
2016. Terry has over 30 years of canine experience with
drive to maintain focus and develop the ability to search
DOD, the State Department, other Federal agencies and
20-30 vessels in a day. The dogs that were selected were
many foreign government agencies. The total capabilities
a black English Cocker Spaniel, we named Gaines, from
of the dogs are classified but I assure you, they are good
Great Britain and a liver
at hide and seek. To the
and white English Springer
dogs it is a game for which
Spaniel, we named
they are rewarded. Their
reward is a tennis ball.
Morgan, from Germany.
The K9 teams recently
They were both just shy
of turning two years old.
became operational and
Their names are taken
we are excited about what
they may find. One of benfrom Fort Morgan and
Fort Gaines which are the
efits of the program is to
two forts guarding the
have people think twice
before they hide fish and
entrance to Mobile Bay.
exceed limits because their
The forts protected the
state of Alabama and the
odds of getting caught just
dogs protect the resources
(L-R) CEO Lena Phillips with K9 Gaines and CEO Chris Cox
went up. Additionally, the
of the state of Alabama.
with K9 Morgan, stand together with the ACEOA banner.
positive education opporWe built portable kentunities the dogs provide
nels for the dogs to be housed with their handlers at the
are phenomenal, especially with children. We will not
homes. They are portable in case there is a need to move
be able to stop all of the poaching but we certainly plan
for a storm or if a person were to re-locate. They began
on making the true criminal work harder to continue to
training with Bart Rogers, a dog trainer from Auburn, just
smuggle undersize and over the limit of fish and those
after Thanksgiving in 2015. The officers learned about
are the violators we enjoy catching.
proper care, housing, first aid, obedience, scent picture,
AMRD is especially grateful for the ACEOA for choosing
search techniques and a variety of other things necessary
to partner with us to help protect the valuable resources
to have successful teams. The dogs and the handlers
of coastal Alabama.
ACEOA Magazine51

Kidz Outdoors
By Rusty Morrow, ACEOA Executive Director

ve been blessed over the years as Executive Director

of ACEOA to be able to attend a lot of outdoor events.
This includes hunting, fishing, handicapped and
womens events across this state. I was recently invited
by Carol Clark, Director for Kidz Outdoors, to attend their
fundraiser in Linden, Alabama.
Carol had informed me over the phone that the event
was getting larger and to expect a large crowd. When
I arrived at Soggy Bottom Lodge in Linden the morning
of the event, I was amazed at the turnout.
Mr. J.R. Rivas had opened up his beautiful farm for the
event and to say the least it was like nothing I had ever

seen. I cant describe it in words; so maybe the pictures

can tell the real story.
Carol Clark and the Kidz Outdoors organization are
now part of the ACEOA family and be assured we will
remain on board with them. I can only ask that you visit
their website and see the great things they do for children
with special needs.
Being on the outside, I would like to thank Mr. Rivas for
his generosity and his devoted support for Kidz Outdoors.
To all the volunteers that worked, you deserve a big ATTA
BOY. I look forward to next year. Im sure it will be bigger
and better.

Rusty Morrow and Blake Sims.

ACEOA Magazine53

KIDZ OUTDOORS Soggy Bottom Lodge Hosted Benefit continued


May 11, 2016
Contact: Sydney Meeks
Soggy Bottom Lodge Hosted Benefit Skeet Shoot For Kidz Outdoors
LINDEN, Ala.Soggy Bottom Lodge hosted a benefit
Not only did I have the chance to work with Kidz
skeet shoot for Central Alabama Kidz Outdoors, Inc., on
Outdoors to put the event on, my own special needs
daughter was able to attend the fun-filled day. Her favorSaturday, May 7, in Linden, Ala. The event raised nearly
20 thousand dollars for the non-profit organization, Kidz
ite part was the pool provided by Vanish Spa, Smith
Outdoors, Inc.
said. There were, of course, many
Children of all ages enjoyed fishmore activities to enjoy, but the
ing, swimming, kayaking, target
incredible pool occupied most of
shooting, archery, bouncy houses,
her afternoon.
Soggy Bottom Lodge provided
and much more.
An afternoon spent hunting or
a free lunch and dinner to all
fishing may not create a master outguests, and Alexander City, Ala.,
doorsman, but an afternoon spent
native, Rexton Lee performed counexperiencing the great outdoors,
try music live on stage as the sun
learning about nature and the value
was setting on the day.
of the life contained inside it will
Founded by Carol and Rick Clark
absolutely create a lasting effect
in 2013, Kidz Outdoors, Inc., is
a charitable organization with the
which will not easily fade or be
forgotten, Owner of Soggy Bottom
goal of raising money to donate to
Lodge J.R. Rivas said.
organizations and hospitals that
The bounties in nature, not
focus on childhood cancer and
only in its game or its scenery, are
disease research. The money is
a God-given treasure. I am deeply
raised through donations, spongrateful to have had the opportunity
sorships, and outdoor events with
to share this treasure with others,
the goal of getting youth involved
in the outdoors.
Rivas continued.
Soggy Bottom Lodge also hosted
Owner of Soggy Bottom Lodge J.R. Rivas
Kidz Outdoors, Inc., events are
former Alabama Quarterback Blake
(right) and Noah Walters (left) paused
centered around adult mentored
Sims. The children were thrilled to
for a picture during the fun-filled day.
activities such as youth deer and
meet Sims, and he signed autoturkey hunts. The non-profit orgagraphs, took pictures, and greeted guests throughout
nization provides an opportunity for youth hunters who
the day.
are disabled to have the chance to experience a hunt.
Guests were treated to an informative and exciting
Rick and I had worked with another organization for
duck banding demonstration by Brandon Smith, Soggy
four years raising funds for St. Judes Research, which
Bottom Lodges property manager. Smith explained that
was great, but it didnt focus on the special needs children
themselves. Our goal became to make sure we were able
this was his first Kidz Outdoors, Inc., event to be associcontinued on 57
ated with, and it was an honor.
ACEOA Magazine55

KIDZ OUTDOORS Soggy Bottom Lodge Hosted Benefit continued

From left, Alan Gasch, Sonja Gasch, and son, Mikal

Gasch, were all smiles at the Kidz Outdoors event.

to make as many of these childrens dreams come true in

the outdoors, Central Alabama Kidz Outdoors President
Carol Clark said.
Carol explained that Kidz Outdoors, Inc., consists of
100% volunteer workno one is paid. The time and
commitment from the organization is given from the
heart, and each volunteer has the same goalto fulfill
these special childrens dreams. One of the volunteers
that believed in this goal is owner of Soggy Bottom Lodge,
J.R. Rivas.

Former Alabama Quarterback Blake Sims greets guests

and poses for a picture with a fan, Braden Massey.

When it comes to J.R. Rivas, I have never met a more

genuine, caring, and giving person with such a loving
heart. He opened up Soggy Bottom Lodge to these children and worked so hard to provided the best to all who
attended, Clark expressed.
Some people you say go an extra mile, well J.R. Rivas
went and extra 10,000 miles. What he provided I have
never in my wildest dreams thought possible. As I reflect
on this event, it brings tears to my eyes for what he
provided to these children and their families, Clark continued.
Soggy Bottom Lodge hopes to continue the partnership
with Kidz Outdoors, Inc., for many years to come.
I want to express thanks to everyone who made
Saturday possible. It was incredible to see so many young
people volunteer to spend the day assisting and interacting with special needs individuals in their own peer
group. Everyone who helped, those who donated and
raised funds, and those who gave of themselves and their
time, helped to make the day something really special,
Rivas said.
For more information on Kidz Outdoors, contact
Central Alabama Kidz Outdoors President Carol Clark
at 205-410-3779 or via email carol@kidzoutdoors.org.
For more information on Soggy Bottom Lodge, visit
www.soggybottomlodge.com or contact Soggy Bottom
Lodge Property Manager Brandon Smith at 334-654-4750
or via email Brandon@soggybottomlodge.com.

Children enjoyed fishing for bream and bass all day on

the dock at Soggy Bottom Lodge in Linden, Alabama.
ACEOA Magazine57

KIDZ OUTDOORS Soggy Bottom Lodge Hosted Benefit continued

ACEOA Magazine59

Kids Korner
By Gayle Morrow, ACEOA Editor

unday afternoon, on April 24th, grandchildren

Cayne and Addi (both are 7-years-old) caught some
pretty nice bream. The weather was just perfect for
an afternoon of fishing.

Cayne and Addi live in Lowndesboro and love to

be outdoors.
Thank you, Bob and Jane Dickson, for the opportunity
to fish at your pond.





ATMORE, AL 36052


Tractor Supply
2900 E. Meighan Blvd.
Gadsden, AL 35903

Cayne likes to fish, hunt, ride
his dirt bike, and play both
baseball and football.

Homes Realty
Addi likes to fish, cheer, do gymnastics, camp and doSouthern
P.O. Box 7177
Spanish Fort, Alabama 36577

2550 Decatur Highway

Gardendale, AL 35071


A Lil Touch of


ACEOA Magazine61

Kids Korner
By Lt. Heath Walls

had the opportunity to take my son, Caleb, hunting

in early December. It had been several years since the
last time I was able to take him. Hes a little impatient,
like a typical teenager. After we had been in the stand
for a couple hours he leaned over and whispered, Were
not going to see anything. I said, Be patient, we still
have an hour and a half of daylight. About forty-five
minutes later a buck walked out of the tree line across
the green-field in front of us. I told
Caleb to get ready. The buck paused
as he came out of the woods and then
walked behind some short pines and
brush. Caleb looked through the scope
and said, I see him. He shot and the
deer whirled around and took off in the
opposite direction. He disappointedly
said, I missed. I wanted to make sure,
so we got down and checked the route
the buck ran. It took about ten minutes
to find a spot of blood on the ground.
We marked it with a large pine cone
and started tracking. We followed the
blood trail through a large field, an old
fence row, back across another field
into the woods. We had followed the
trail for about an hour and Caleb said,
Were never going to find it. It was
getting dark and I only had one flashlight so I called my brother and nephew
to help. They arrived and we tracked
for another forty-five minutes until we
reached the property line. There was
a big spot of blood and disturbed leaves
where he obviously crossed onto the
neighbors property. Caleb was really disappointed. I told
him not to give up because I would call the landowner
and ask for permission to come back and look in the
morning in the daylight. The neighboring landowner said
we could look and told us good luck. The next morning
we returned and picked up the trial at the fence. The

blood trail was easy to follow in the daylight and we

went about 100 yards and found the deer lying on the
ground. It was a nice five point. I told him it was really
good for a first deer.
I also told him to let it be a lesson. We got to spend
quality time together we should be grateful for even if we
hadnt seen a deer. I also told him, we did see a deer, you
didnt miss, and we did find him. We also got to track him

which is like a treasure hunt. Its exciting every time you

find a track or spot of blood on the ground or smeared
on the sage brush. Ultimately, I want him to remember
it as a good experience. Remember to stay positive and
dont give up. If you can do that, it will help guide you
to whatever your goal may be.
ACEOA Magazine63

Hunting Violations
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

he bust was supposed to involve hunting deer over

bait and hunting at night. During the investigation, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
enforcement personnel discovered another significant violation that could occur anywhere in the state. Of the nine
people checked during the investigation in Montgomery
County, only one had a valid hunting license.
Kevin Dodd, Enforcement Chief with Wildlife and
Freshwater Fisheries (WFF), said a complaint from adja-

failure to wear hunter orange and hunting over bait.

Officers observed a corn pile within plain sight about 50
yards from the male hunter, who was in possession of
a rifle. After questioning, the hunter told Wood and Smith
about eight other non-resident hunters on the property.
Because of the number of hunters involved and the size
of the hunting area, Wood called in Senior CEO Brad
Gavins, who responded from Crenshaw County with his
tracking K-9, Holyfield.
The remaining eight hunters were
tracked to their stands and subsequently arrested for multiple hunting
violations. All of the hunters were
then escorted back to their campsite, where they were issued multiple
citations. A total of nine non-resident
hunters were arrested that day with
29 adult and four juvenile citations
issued. The citations included eight
for hunting without a non-resident
all-game license, nine for hunting
over bait (corn), eight for failure to
wear hunter orange and eight for
failure to possess or maintain a buck
harvest record.
(ADCNR) Conservation Enforcement Officer Vance Wood mans the helm of
When the accused in this case
one of Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Divisions boats as
entered guilty pleas last month in
fellow officer Bill Freeman aids in the patrol of the inland waterways.
Montgomery County District Court,
the judge handed out more than
cent landowners was initially investigated in December
$7,500 in fines to the Florida residents.
2015, by Senior Conservation Enforcement Officer (CEO)
I think the fine was appropriate, Dodd said. Its set
Vance Wood, who decided to enlist the help of fellow
by law as three times the cost of the license. Sometimes
CEO Kirk Smith because of the size of the property, about
the judges dont go by that strictly, but I thought the fine
1,400 acres. According to the officers reports, they logged
was sufficient.
about eight hours investigating and documenting eviBut what I want to get across to the people who do
dence over a period of several weeks. During that time,
buy licenses is that when they make the purchase, they
the officers began to suspect other violations, including
are subsidizing the activity of the people who dont buy
licenses. If you know of somebody hunting without
hunting without a license.
a license, blame yourself when you dont have the serOn January 17, 2016, CEOs Wood and Smith arrested
a non-resident hunter from Florida on the property for
continued on 67
ACEOA Magazine65


vices you expect unless you do something to correct
Occasionally we do, but if we dont see you at your truck,
it. If your cousin comes from Detroit for the Christmas
most of the time you dont get a license check. Years ago,
holidays and you take him hunting without him buying
when everybody dog-hunted, you could walk up and
a license, youre just as much at fault as he is.
down the road and check 40 or 50 hunters in an hour.
Dodd makes the analogy of another crime that often
But not anymore. Now, most hunters are up a tree and
occurs at large retail outlets.
we dont want to interrupt their hunts.
I draw a comparison to shoplifting, he said. If youre
Dodd said WFF doesnt have a handle on how widein Walmart and you witness someone stuffing their coats
spread the license violations are.
or purses with high-dollar electronWhats disturbing to us is
ics, are you going to say something?
we know there are groups of
In the end, you pay for it when
non-residents and residents who
the store raises prices to counter
havent been checked in years, and
the loss.
they think its worth the risk to not
I consider allowing people to
buy a license, he said. Theyre
gambling on not buying a license.
hunt or fish without licenses the
same thing. Youre going to pay for
Dodd said he is not bashing nonit in the end, either through the loss
resident hunters because the sale of
of that wildlife resource or through
non-resident licenses contributes
the lack of services that are paid for
greatly to the overall budget.
through license sales, everything
There are residents who resent
from boat ramps to game wardens
folks from out of state coming in
to wildlife biologists. Some people
and leasing property, he said.
dont think its a big deal to hunt or
We certainly dont have a probfish without a license, but its basilem with non-residents, as long as
they buy the appropriate licenses.
cally stealing from the public panIf it werent for non-resident license
try, so to speak.
Dodd said the public doesnt realsales, wed be in a hole, big time.
ly understand what license sales
Yet, Dodd has little sympathy for
mean to the operation of Wildlife
anyone caught hunting or fishing
and Freshwater Fisheries. He said
(ADCNR) Hunting and fishing license
without a license.
enforcement is apportioned 66 perchecks are just one aspect of a
Were not arresting people who
cent of the Game and Fish Fund,
enforcement officers many duties.
are hungry, he said. Theyre not
which is the Wildlife and Freshwater
doing it because theyre starving.
Fisheries budget set by law for wildlife management and
They do it for recreation. They enjoy the activity.
Dodd said hunting and fishing have a $2.5 billion
game and fish law enforcement.
(thats a b) economic impact annually in Alabama. License
Enforcement doesnt get any money other than state
hunting and fishing license dollars, Dodd said. We
sales allow WFF to maintain and enhance the abundant
dont get any federal money.
hunting and fishing opportunities in the state.
Dodd said its not unusual for the CEOs to make cases
Hunting and fishing without a license is our No. 1
involving the lack of a valid hunting license.
violation, he said of the WFF Enforcement Section.
Its very typical that we get a complaint of hunting
The number of complaints we get about it doesnt rank
over bait or hunting at night, and when we investigate,
up there very high. Thats the point were trying to get
we also find out the person doesnt have a hunting license
across. We need to know about it. Basically, if someone
either, Dodd said. We dont often go walking through
is hunting and fishing without a license, they are stealing
the woods at 4 oclock checking people for licenses.
from you.
ACEOA Magazine67

Alabama State Parks

and the Eighth Day
Escapes Contest

By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

mily Vanderford is like many Alabamians. She had

ideas, staff stories and activity suggestions from each
only a limited knowledge of the Alabama State
Alabama State Park.
I think its intimidating for some people to decide what
Parks System, so she decided to do something
about it.
to do if they visit an Alabama State Park, she said. So
this series will provide tangible examples of what you
Fortunately for Emily, her occupation afforded a perfect opportunity to explore Alabama State Parks. She
can do. Earlier this year, I went to Meaher State Park (on
is the systems traveling
Park Naturalist.
I grew up in Alabama,
but there are a lot of parks
that I didnt know existed,
Vanderford said. There are
a lot of places in our state
that people dont realize exist
for the sake of recreation. As
Ive been in the parks, Ive
met people who say, I never
knew this place was here.
That gave Vanderford an
idea of how she could bring
light on the diversity in the
Alabama State Parks System
and the many recreational
opportunities available.
That idea turned into the
Eighth Day Escape advenEmily Vanderford shot the beautiful vista from one of
ture series and contest by
the overlooks at Bucks Pocket State Park.
Parks Explorer. When her
regular work schedule allows,
Vanderford is traveling to a variety of Alabama State Parks
the Causeway at Spanish Fort, Ala.), and I wrote about
to detail the scenic vistas, relaxing atmospheres and the
how people can visit 5 Rivers (Alabamas Delta Resource
recreational opportunities, some that are jam-packed
Center) and walk the trails and visit the resource center.
with adrenaline-fueled rushes.
I wrote about the new cabins there. I talked about going
Through Parks Explorer, Vanderford will share trip
continued on 71
ACEOA Magazine69


Susan Allison Lee snapped a close-up of an inquisitive

whitetail doe at Lake Guntersville State Park.

to the favorite fishing spot. Then at Guntersville, I talked

about visiting Bucks Pocket for a day trip or going to
Cathedral Caverns.
Next up was Lakepoint Resort State Park on the banks
of Lake Eufaula, a reservoir on the Chattahoochee River.
Vanderford included in her visit to Lakepoint a day trip
to adjacent Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge.
I can attest to the great fishing on Lake Eufaula for bass,
bream, crappie and catfish. Last fall, Lakepoint hosted
the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA),
a diverse group of outdoors communicators, for its annual
conference. Every fellow SEOPA member I talked to raved
about the accommodations and recreational opportunities
at Lakepoint as well as the red carpet rolled out by the
City of Eufaula.
Im trying to give clear examples of what people can
do in the parks in hopes they will go to places they have
not been, Vanderford said. I think about so many families that could benefit from what the parks have to offer.

Vanderford, who said she was blessed to be raised in

a family that enjoyed and appreciated the outdoors in
west Alabama near Coker, is currently at Cheaha State
Park on top of the highest mountain in Alabama. She
will highlight the hiking trails and unique scenery from
the mountaintop.
She plans to head to DeSoto State Park for the April
post on Parks Explorer.
The trip to DeSoto is really going to be an adventure,
Vanderford said. Im going rappelling, and Ill highlight
the hiking trails. Wildflowers Weekend is coming up
at the end of April, so Im sure well highlight some of
the wildflowers.
Other destinations on Vanderfords schedule include Joe
Wheeler State Park, Rickwood Caverns, Oak Mountain,
Wind Creek, Chewacla, Lake Lurleen, Gulf State Park,
Blue Springs, Frank Jackson and Monte Sano.
The contest portion of the Eighth Day Escapes adventure series will include monthly giveaways to show appreciation to park customers. A Grand Prize drawing will
be held at the end of the year from all contest entries
throughout the year-long event.
Entering the contest is as simple as visiting any
Alabama State Park and submitting a contest entry form
with a photo. Include a brief recap of your adventure at
the park. The Parks Explorer column on www.alapark.
com/explorer will announce the monthly winner. The
entry form is available at www.alapark.com/sites/alapark.com/files/EighthDayEscapeContestEntryForm.pdf
and must be accompanied by at least one photo to be
eligible for monthly prizes and the grand prize at the end
of the contest. Entry forms and photos may be submitted within 30 days of trip by email, social media or U.S.
Postal Service mail.
Those who wish to enter the contest via email should
send entry form along with digital photos (up to 5 MB) to
Parks.Explorer@dcnr.alabama.gov. Contestants also may
enter by posting their photos to the State Parks Facebook
page at https://www.facebook.com/ALStateParks/, tweet
photos to @ALStateParks, or post to Instagram, tagging
@alstateparks. Indicate where the image was taken
and use hashtag #EighthDayEscape for all social media
entries. An emailed entry form must accompany all social
media photos in order for participant to be eligible. For
continued on 73
ACEOA Magazine71

USPS mail, send the entry form and printed photos to
Eighth Day Escape Contest, Oak Mountain State Park,
200 Terrace Drive, Pelham, AL 35124.
All winners will be selected by random drawing so
only basic photography skills are required. Monthly prize
packages will highlight the area explored by Vanderford.
The prize packages could include everything from overnight accommodations at a park to dining vouchers or
adventure packages.
A grand prize winner will be selected from all the
entries received from January 8, 2016, to January 7, 2017.
The project has been very rewarding and will be for
the participants also, Vanderford said. We know the
grand prize will include a $300 State Parks gift card, and
we are very excited about some of the other contents for
the prize packages.
Vanderford said participation in the Eighth Day
Escapes has been a little inconsistent, but she hopes
that will change soon.

I think a lot of people are just finding out about the

contest, she said. I think as people are getting out
for spring break, well start to see more people enter.
Im starting to see more Facebook traction.
And I want to make sure people arent confused about
the contest. They may think they have to enter something
from the park that is posted on Parks Explorer that month.
Thats not true. If they go to any Alabama State Park,
they can enter.
In other Alabama State Parks news, Bucks Pocket will
continue to operate as a day-use area only. Work will
begin later this year to develop off-highway vehicle trails
and trail head facilities to enhance the parks offerings.
Rickwood Caverns will reopen April 1st, except for the
swimming pool, which will reopen later. Both motels and
restaurants at Cheaha and DeSoto resumed operations
seven days a week on March 1st.

Park visitor Bill Lawrence captured this mirror image at one of the lakes at Oak Mountain State park.
ACEOA Magazine73

Outdoors With Friends

Holds Fishing Event
By Greg Ricks

he Outdoors With Friends

annual fishing day event, held
on April 30, 2016, turned out
to be a great day of fellowship, fun,
and relaxation! This years event was
held at John Smothers pond in Pike
County. We had great weather, close
to a hundred catfish were caught, and
a large amount of uncounted bream.
Mr. James Williams shared devotion with us at lunch. He spoke to us
about giving back to each other and
a personal relationship with Christ!
Some of the first fisherman arrived
at 7:30 AM that morning and after
enjoying a lunch of hamburgers and
hotdogs we closed the event about
continued on 77

ACEOA Magazine75


2:00 that afternoon. One young lady had the
first time experience of pulling in her first catfish.
If not for the great support of A.C.E.O.A it
would be difficult to do all of this every year.
We purchased baits, provided poles and had 70
people to feed. To sum up the day, a great time
was had by all participants as well as volunteers. Outdoors with Friends is looking forward
to our Hunting event December 9th & 10th, 2016.
If you are suffering from a handicap or know of
someone who is, and they would like to participate in one of our events call Greg Ricks (334)
465-5542 Thank you and God Bless!

ACEOA Magazine77

Board Votes to Expand

February Deer Season
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

labama hunters could be in store for the longest

white-tailed deer season in history if one stipulation becomes a reality.
At its second meeting of the year, the Alabama
Conservation Advisory Board voted 7-3 to expand the
February deer season to include the
entire state. The February seasons were
in effect last year in most of the state
south of U.S. Hwy 80. The boards recommended gun deer season would
start on Nov. 19, 2016, and run through
February 10, 2017, without interruption.
The stipulation, which was introduced as an amendment by board member Patrick Cagle of Montgomery, is
that the Game Check harvest reporting
system becomes mandatory for hunters
who pursue deer and turkeys. Earlier
in the meeting, the board approved
a motion to recommend mandatory
Game Check. The board had previously
recommended Game Check be mandatory, but the harvest reporting system
was changed to voluntary because of
objections during the Legislative Review
process. However, participation in the
voluntary Game Check program was disappointing, to
say the least, with only about three percent of hunters
reporting deer and turkey harvests.
Cagles approved amendment stated that if Game
Check does not become mandatory, the season dates
would revert to those similar to the 2015-2016 seasons
with a January 31st end date for deer season in the north
zone. In an earlier amendment introduced by Joey Dobbs
of Birmingham, the board voted to add a sunset clause to
the extended deer season that would require the board
to reconsider the extension for the 2018-2019 seasons.

Board member Raymond Jones Jr. of Huntsville

expressed opposition to the February extension, citing
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division
research that only about 14-percent of the does in north
Alabama are bred in February. Jones, who introduced

Antlerless deer.

the mandatory Game Check motion, was also concerned

about post-rut mortality after a longer season.
Board member Austin Ainsworth of Guntersville, who
introduced the February season motion, said the extension gives landowners more leeway to manage their
deer populations.
Ainsworths motion would set archery seasons as
October 15, 2016 to February 10, 2017 either sex in Zone
A, while Zone Bs archery season would be October
15-24, 2016, for bucks only and October 25, 2016 through
continued on 81
ACEOA Magazine79


February 10, 2017, for either sex. Firearms season statewide would be November 19, 2016 through February
10, 2017. The dog deer hunting season would be from
November 19, 2016 to January 15, 2017.
I want to reiterate that this does not mandate that
you hunt the 10 days in February, Ainsworth said. This
puts the power in the landowners hands. If your rut is
in the middle of January, generally, youre not going to
see a buck in February.
Were allowed to kill three buck deer in the state of
Alabama, said Dobbs, who said some of his constituents
who live very near the South Zone would like consistent
seasons. Whether you kill those deer at the beginning,
middle or end of the season is up to you. Whether you
continue to hunt until the end of January or into February
is up to you.
WFF Director Chuck Sykes said if Game Check
becomes mandatory that he would be comfortable with
the February extension.
With Game Check mandatory, we would have near
real-time data to keep track of any effect the changes
have, Sykes said. Having the data in hand that should
come from mandatory Game Check would allow for
quicker responses in adapting season lengths to the
local resource.
Grady Hartzog, board member from Eufaula, made
a motion to establish new standards for the dog deer
hunting permit system. One standard would require those
dog deer hunting clubs put on the permit system on or
after the March 26, 2016, meeting to have a minimum of
500 contiguous acres. Hartzog also moved to put Baldwin
and Marengo counties on the dog deer permit system for
the upcoming season. Hartzogs motions passed.
Waterfowl hunters in southwest Alabama will likely
see new regulations for the 2016-2017 seasons after the
board passed motions to restrict hunting days and hours
on the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta and establish a refuge
for a waterfowl rest area.
I want to compliment Keith Gauldin (Wildlife Section
Chief) and Chuck (Sykes) for having several meetings
with the duck hunters in south Alabama, said board
member Ben Stimpson of Mobile. They did a great job
of getting feedback.
Stimpson then made the motion to establish the
Apalachee Refuge Area between Battleship Parkway

(Causeway) and the Bayway (I-10 bridge) and make it

off limits to waterfowl hunters. Stimpson also moved
to prohibit the use of gasoline-powered motors in the
Mobile-Tensaw Deltas Big Bateau Bay from the second
Saturday in November through the second Saturday
in February.
Stimpsons third motion would change hunting days
and hours in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta Waterfowl
Management Zone. The proposed changes would close
waterfowl hunting in that zone on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Hunting hours for Wednesday through Sunday would be
from one-half hour before sunrise until 1p.m. All three
Stimpson motions were passed unanimously.
The Board also approved proposed changes to the
squirrel, rabbit and dove seasons as well as adding an
open hunting season provision for raccoons and opossums. Squirrel and rabbit seasons would run from
September 15, 2016, to March 5, 2017. Dove season in the
north zone would shift dates from the first season split to
the second split to take advantage of late-migrating birds.
The North Zone dates would be September 10 through
October 30 and December 8 through January 15, 2017.
South Zone dates would be September 17-25, October
8-23 and November 12 through January 15, 2017. Also
approved was a reduction in the number of days for antlerless deer harvests in one area of north Alabama. The
recommendation is a 20-day either-sex season in that
area (orange on the map). The rest of the state would
keep the daily bag limit of one antlerless deer per day.
In fishing changes, the minimum length limit on sauger
was increased to 15-inches statewide. Also, the minimum
length limit on largemouth bass in Pickwick Reservoir
was increased to 15-inches.
Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. reiterated that no changes are proposed for the wild turkey seasons.
Rumors, as they tend to do, ran wild after our last
meeting, Commissioner Guy said. The Department has
no plans at the present time to change any seasons or
bag limits that involve turkeys. We will continue the good
work I think the Department has started. We want to
continue to collect the necessary data to make sure we
have a great and viable turkey population for the public
to hunt.
continued on 83
ACEOA Magazine81



By Stalk or Dog Hunting

Zones A, B & C:
Nov. 19 Jan. 15








Zones A & B:




Nov. 19 Jan. 15



Zones C:
Nov. 19 Nov. 27
Dec. 23 Jan. 2






By Stalk or Dog Hunting

Privately Owned
or Leased Land Only





Zones A, B & C:
Jan. 16 Feb. 10












Winchester Rd.

By Stalk Hunting Only

No Dogs





New Market













By Stalk Hunting Only
Privately Owned
or Leased Land Only









Union Springs















Zones A, B & C:
Dec. 15 Jan. 1



Open Permit Public Land




Zones A & B:
Jan. 16 Feb. 10






























Privately Ownedor Leased

Land and National Forest
Service Land- Stalk Hunting
Only (No Dogs)

Zones A, B & C:
Nov. 14 Nov. 18




By Stalk Hunting Only

(No Dogs)

Zone A & C:
Oct. 15 Feb. 10
Zone B:
Buck Only:
Oct. 15 Oct. 24
Either Sex:
Oct. 25 Feb. 10



REVISED 3-31-2016

The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board approved a recommendation by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater
Fisheries Division to reduce the number of days for the either-sex season in a portion of north Alabama.
ACEOA Magazine83

Press Release
April 26, 2016
Contact: State Parks, 334-242-3334
Alabama State Parks to Blaze New Paths with Revitalized Trail Program
Its a first step for Alabama State Parks and a potential giant leap for trail lovers in the Southeast. With the creation
of the State Parks Trails Coordinator position, the parks system is reaffirming its commitment to the number one
user activity within its parks, trail use. The trail coordinator will oversee the revitalization of the parks systems trail
program among other duties.
In my 27 years of experience, I can easily say a huge majority of our guests are going to use a trail in some
form or fashion, said Ken Thomas, DeSoto State Park Superintendent and newly appointed State Parks Trails
Coordinator. It might be 15-20 minutes on a boardwalk or a hike from sunup to sundown, but visitors value this
staple of our parks system.
The numbers support Thomass observations. According to the nonprofit research group The Outdoor Foundation,
the number of Americans who use multi-use trails has grown steadily over the last decade. In the past three years
alone, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking participation increased to more than 100 million Americans aged
6 and up.
Parks Director Greg Lein, who grew up hiking the trails at Monte Sano State Park in north Alabama, said the
trails coordinator position was created to address the significance of the states growing trail system and public
interest in that system.
Historically, volunteer groups were instrumental in building and maintaining trails in our parks, Lein said.
However, the growing use of our existing trails and demand for new trails is outpacing the support that volunteers
can provide. In the future we hope to add a dedicated trail crew that is responsible for building and maintaining
trails throughout the parks system. The trail coordinator will supervise that crew and conduct outreach to the
various volunteer trail groups.
In the coming months, Thomas will begin that task through a series of commonsense approaches aimed at setting
priorities for existing trail maintenance and the development of new trails including equestrian and Off Highway
Vehicle (OHV) trails in select locations.
Alabama has never had a professionally managed state parks trail system, Thomas said. Well begin that
process with a thorough survey of our trails to determine where we should focus our efforts. Well also be surveying
our trail users to better understand what their interests are, and studying the best trail-building techniques and
technologies in order to build trails that will last a lifetime.
One of the potential challenges facing the parks systems revitalized trails program will be funding. Parks is
addressing that challenge through a robust grant-writing program and other funding sources.
We are currently working on about 12 grants and all of them deal with trails in some way, Lein said. Since the
continued on 87
ACEOA Magazine85


last budget crisis, people have flooded us with questions about how they can help. Not everyone can volunteer so
we are developing a way for them to help financially. Well be announcing that program later this spring.
Additionally, voters will have the opportunity to vote in November on an amendment to the state constitution that
protects state park funding from legislative transfers that have plagued recent budgets. With its funding more secure,
Alabama State Parks can continue to provide its visitors with improved recreational opportunities including trails.
Alabama State Parks is hopeful that its new trail program will augment the work already being done by several
volunteer groups in the state. Groups like the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers, Central Alabama Mountain
Pedalers, and many others have been creating and maintaining several trails within the parks for years. Those trails
also benefit trail runners and traditional day hikers.
We couldnt do half the stuff weve been able to achieve without these partnerships, Thomas said. They dont just
give their time in the form of labor, they also give their expertise and career skills. That is a tremendous service as
well as a cost savings for Parks. Our new trails program will take some of the workload off these volunteers and
allow them more time to enjoy the trails.
Since the opening of the first state parks in Alabama, trails have been a fundamental part of the park systems mission to provide and maintain outdoor recreational opportunities. In addition to promoting a variety of health benefits,
one of the best ways to protect and preserve state parks is to have visitors engaging with the trails.
Trail use improves quality of life and serves as a gateway activity to the outdoors, Lein said. Well always be
dedicated to this user group.
While the new trails program is in development, Alabama State Parks encourages new and experienced trail users
to explore its existing 285-plus miles of trails highlighted on the park systems website. Many of those trails can
also be found on the newly launched Alabama Recreation Trails website, alabamarecreationtrails.org.
To kick off summer, consider visiting an Alabama state park on June 4 for the American Hiking Societys National
Trails Day. In the coming weeks, visit alapark.com for National Trails Day related events and for state park trail
options near you.
The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities
to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit www.alapark.com.

Hiking Trail at DeSoto State Park ~ Trail use offers many benefits
including improved quality of life and stress reduction. To discover
an Alabama State Parks trail near you, visit alapark.com.
ACEOA Magazine87

Press Release
April 5, 2016
Contact: WFF Law Enforcement, (334) 242-3467
Possible Changes Coming to Dog Deer Regulations
Changes appear to be coming to the states dog deer hunting regulations. At its March 26 meeting in Pelham, the
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) recommended regulation changes designed to address various dog
deer hunting related conflicts. If approved, the new regulations will go into effect this fall.
The Alabama dog deer permit system was enacted in the early 1980s to address dog deer hunting related conflicts.
Under this system, the use of dogs for hunting deer in certain regions is prohibited except for those properties with
a special permit from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Recommended changes for the 2016-17 season for dog deer hunting in areas under the dog deer permit system include:
A minimum of 500 contiguous acres will be required for all hunting clubs accepted under the dog deer permit
system after March 26, 2016. Changes were also enacted to formalize the accounting of complaints received
about permitted clubs.
Marengo and Baldwin counties were placed under the permit system to aid in reconciling conflicts between
hunters and landowners.
For dog deer hunters utilizing the Talladega National Forest, changes include:
A reduction in the number of dog deer hunting days on the Talladega National Forest from 58 to 36. Additionally,
dog deer hunting must stop at 12 PM on the days allowed, which are November 19-30, 2016, and December
18, 2016, to January 10, 2017.
For all dog deer hunters statewide where dog deer hunting is allowed:
A newly revised regulation will prohibit hunters, after being warned, from allowing their dogs to encroach
onto another property without the landowners permission. This change will allow conservation enforcement
officers to address individual offenders who fail to control their dogs, rather than an entire club. The regulation
will apply statewide on areas open to dog deer hunting and areas operating under the dog deer permit system.
For more information about dog deer hunting regulations, please contact your nearest Alabama
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division law enforcement district office. For contact information, visit
www.outdooralabama.com/law-enforcement. To report hunting or fishing violations or conflicts arising from dog
deer hunting, call GAMEWATCH at (800) 272-4263.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and
enjoyment of Alabamas natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
ACEOA Magazine89

Turkey Talk
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

he 2016 spring season may have ended Saturday

with a bang or with a whimper for Alabamas turkey hunters. For some, it was the spring of hope.
For others, it was the spring of despair.
It just depends on who you talk to, said Chuck Sykes,
Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Division. Some people are griping and complaining.
Some said it was the worst season theyve ever had.
Some said it was the best season theyve ever had.
Sykes said the condition of the habitat appears to be
the driving factor in the success or disappointment for
the hunters.
It just depends on the property you were hunting,
he said. On one piece of property I hunted, there were
trail camera pictures during deer season and trail camera pictures during the spring. But, they just didnt gobble the days I hunted. That doesnt mean the turkeys
werent there, that disease had killed them or they just
disappeared. They just didnt gobble, and that makes for
an unhappy hunter.
For the vast majority of us, deer-hunting a turkey is
not something we enjoy doing. We want to hear them
gobble. We want to play with them. We want to make
them call.
The worst-case scenario is when the property does
not support a huntable population of turkeys.
On some property, there werent any turkeys there,
Sykes said. At other places, turkeys gobbled their brains
out. So it was all site-specific. Honestly, there may have
been more turkeys in the 80s, but I dont know that for
a fact.
Sykes blames social media for much of the season of
discontent. In the 80s, very little information was distributed about turkey hunting success, and the veracity
of that information was always extremely suspect.
If somebody kills a turkey and posts a photo of it on
Facebook, and 15 of their friends didnt kill one, what
does that do, he said. It makes them unhappy. Twenty
years ago, you didnt know about it. If you went turkey
hunting and didnt hear anything, you went to work.

Sykes thinks social media has had the same effect on

hunter satisfaction for turkey hunters as trail cameras
for deer hunters.
There are a lot of unhappy deer hunters because they
cant kill that 130-inch deer they are seeing from 11:30
(PM) to 3 (AM) on their trail cameras, he said. Twenty
years ago we just hunted. We thought there was a good
deer there. If we didnt see him, well, we just didnt see
him. Now we get upset because the deer is nocturnal.
Its the same with turkey hunters. Some people are
going to kill turkeys and some arent.

Chuck Sykes, Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries,

said he had reports of properties with plenty of turkey
sign, like these gobbler tracks, and other areas that
seemed to be devoid of turkeys. (Photo by David Rainer.)

Sykes, who counts turkey guide and wildlife management consultant as previous vocations, said the ideal
habitat for turkeys hasnt changed in the last 30 years.
Its the same, he said. Its proper timber management with burning and wildlife openings. Its also predator
control. But the biggest key is brood-rearing habitat. Old
field-style habitat with clover plots that produce a bunch
of bugs. You want a two-year-old burn that has some
understory where hens can successfully nest and bring
off little ones. You want roads connecting to make it
continued on 93
ACEOA Magazine91

TURKEY TALK continued

easy to get around and pick bugs.
Weve got some turkeys with
Then if theres a problem, they can
transmitters that have gone on the
duck back in the bushes. To me
nest, Sykes aid. Well see how
brood-rearing habitat is the key to
successful they are. Hopefully,
theyll bring broods off that we can
turkey numbers.
Its not 1,000 acres of big, overwatch through the year. If somemature hardwood forest thats pretthing happens to them, well know.
ty and makes you feel good. People
This study is going to give us
tell me they saw tons of turkeys in
baseline data that Alabama has
there during bow season. I said,
never had. Were trying to look at
Sure you did. There were tons of
nesting success, hunter harvest and
acorns. Whats in there for them to
brood success. There are a lot of
eat now? Not much.
things we dont know. Weve got
Habitat diversity is crucial to
a pretty good idea, but we need
maintain a thriving wildlife populathe scientific data to back it up. In
tion, according to Sykes.
a couple of years, we hope to be
A monoculture is not good for
able to have some answers.
anything, he said. For deer, turChuck Sykes, Director of Wildlife and
Some of the people Ive talked
keys, quail, you need that diversity.
Freshwater Fisheries, bagged only
to, like Dan Moultrie and two-time
Places with diversity had good
one gobbler, but he helped other
calling champion Larry Norton,
hunters take 10 turkeys this past
contend there are a lot more turkey
seasons. I know some folks who
limited out (five turkeys) in the first
season. (Photo by David Rainer.)
hunters in the woods these days,
two weeks of the season.
and the turkeys are responding to
As far as killing turkeys, I had a terrible season. I killed
the added pressure.
one, if thats what you base the whole season on. But Ive
When we were growing up, you had to learn how to
been on 10 other turkey hunts where turkeys were killed
turkey hunt, Sykes said. You had to learn the biology of
by people I went with and called for.
the critter, what they needed and where they were going
Sykes said he has been keeping meticulous records
during certain times of the spring.
of his turkey hunting for the past 20 years, and, while
Back in the 80s, youd be in a hunting club, and there
each season is different, the average result ends up being
might be two people who hunted turkeys. Lets just say
about the same.
it was a good year and you killed 10 turkeys off your
It has averaged 2.3 days of hunting per turkey shot
3,000-acre club. Now there may be four sure-enough
at for the past 15 years, he said. Im not bragging,
turkey hunters and 10 that might just go sit on a food
but if I hunt for three days, somebody is going to shoot
plot every once in a while. Those 10 turkeys may have
at a turkey. They may kill him or they may miss him.
turned into 20 turkeys. Thats a reality, but thats not
Thats just the way its averaged out.
the problem. The problem is recruiting more turkeys,
which goes into proper habitat management with more
Last year, it was 3.3 days. This year it went down to
2.2. Im rocking along where Ive been for the past 15
brood-rearing habitat.
years. I dont get to hunt as much as I did 15 years ago,
Dont get me wrong, Im glad there are more huntwhen I was calling up 25 turkeys a year. I had 15 shot
ers out there. I hope we get more. But people have to
at this year. On a ratio, the hunting was just as good.
understand that with more hunters and hunting pressure,
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has contracted with
we have to do more quality management. Youve got to
Auburn University to conduct a study on turkey dynamics
have better data so you can make season and harvest
in Alabama. Sykes said the researchers are smack-dab
recommendations so weve got critters to hunt in the
in the middle of the study.
ACEOA Magazine93

Alabama Artificial
Reef Program
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

labama has an extremely valuable resource in waters off our

states coastline. It combines
great fisheries with manmade structures to create the nations premier reef
fish destination.
The Alabama Artificial Reef Program
has overseen the deployment of 15,000plus structures in the 1,000 square miles
of artificial reef zones off the coast. Those
reef zones are recognized as the best
place in the world to catch red snapper. Of
course, plenty of other reef fish live off the
Alabama coast, but its hard to get a piece
of bait past the red snapper because of their abundance.
However, a threat to that ecosystem is creeping into
the reef fish habitat like an incessant plague the invasive lionfish.
Of those 15,000 or so artificial reefs, about 1,200 are
public reefs that have been deployed by the Alabama
Marine Resources Division (MRD) with the assistance
of numerous partners through the years.
Those public reefs provide fishing opportunities for
a variety of individuals who may not have the resources to
deploy private reefs. Three years ago, Marine Resources
realized the lionfish infestation was spreading rapidly
through Alabama waters.
In 2013, we started doing some lionfish surveys, said
Craig Newton, MRD biologist. From those surveys, we
quickly realized we needed more help determining habitat
preferences of lionfish and removing lionfish. We also
saw that we needed help removing debris from reefs and
identifying reefs that needed enhancement.
Hence the birth of MRDs Adopt-a-Reef program
that is targeted at recreational divers who enthusiastically explore the undersea wonders in the northern Gulf
of Mexico.

Some of the artificial reefs have

subsided into the seabed, and some
reefs have just deteriorated over time,
Newton said. It would be beneficial to
maintain the productivity of the artificial
reefs program to identify those reefs that
need enhancement. Marine Resources just
doesnt have the manpower to survey the
1,200 or so public reefs that we have.
Thats where the public comes in. The
Adopt-a-Reef program is geared toward
a wide variety of divers. They can be
introductory, open-water-level certified
with very few dives under their belts. Or
they can be more technical divers who can go deeper and
stay longer. They can use lift bags and other equipment to
lift heavy anchor lines and heavy anchors off of the reefs.
While MRD will take all the help it can get from the
divers in the program, one of the main goals is to gather
as much information as possible.
They can just look at the reefs and tell me what they
see, Newton said. They can tell me if the reef is broken
down and some of the walls collapsed or its subsided into
the seabed or if there is a lot of fouling debris, like fishing
lines, nets and whatever. They dont have to remove it.
Just tell us about it. Then when resources are available,
we can go take care of that reef. That may be removing
fouling material or adding reef material to it or beside it.
Certified divers can find public reefs in water that is
35 feet all the way to the limit of the divers certification,
which usually maxes out at 130 feet.
Unfortunately for those saltwater environs in their
path, lionfish can thrive in a wide variety of habitats,
from estuaries to waters 1,000 feet deep.
Lionfish distribution is expanding and abundance is
growing, Newton said. Its been documented that they
continued on 99
ACEOA Magazine95


are competing with our native reef
One bit of good news is that the
fish for habitat and forage resources.
lionfish filets are delicious, and
Its hard to say how many reefs are
numerous restaurants along the
affected. Its hard to say what causes
Gulf are taking advantage of this
an infestation of a particular reef.
newfound resource. Whole Foods,
Obviously, Newton and MRD
a grocery chain, also announced it
dont want to see anything diminish
would sell lionfish filets when availthe effectiveness of Alabamas artiable.
ficial reef zones. The reef program
Newton said new technology has
began back in the 1950s when
allowed divers to take lionfish with
a group of fishermen cabled togetha minimal threat of coming in coner 50 car bodies and sank them off
tact with the colorful fishs venomous
the Alabama coast. The deployfin spines.
There are some new containment
ments continued with the sinking
devices, he said. The one we like
of the Liberty ships in the 1970s.
The removal of invasive lionfish
is the Zookeeper. It makes handling
The Reef-X program took surplus
is one of the goals of the Adoptthe lionfish much safer and much
Army tanks and deployed them in
a-Reef Program. (AMRD)
more efficient.
the 1990s. The latest development
is the Rigs-to-Reefs program where
Newton, who is certified to dive to
derelict petroleum platforms are salvaged and deployed
130 feet, thought a program that employed the help of
the diving community was a natural fit.
as artificial reefs.
Weve put in a lot of effort and the public has put
Divers in general are a conservation-minded group,
in a lot of effort to build the most productive artificial
he said. One of the premises for this program is to foster
reef program in the country, he said. Wed like to be
that conservation mindset and have the divers invested
able to maintain that level of productivity by keeping the
in the resources. They can feel a sense of accomplishreefs cleaned up and keeping the lionfish population to
ment, and theyre doing their part by participating in
a minimum.
the program.
Certified SCUBA divers who are interested in the program can email MRD at Reef.Survey@dcnr.alabama.gov
to enroll.
Once participants are enrolled, they can log in to
a web-based application to submit their reef data, view
the geo-referenced data they previously submitted as
well as plan subsequent dives to reefs that need further attention.
The information MRD wants from an Adopt-a-Reef
survey includes the reefs structural integrity, degree of
fouling from debris, and the number of lionfish observed
and harvested. Once that data is submitted, participants
can view the data submitted by other Adopt-a-Reef volunteers.
Visit http://lionfishmap.org/alabama/ for more inforOne of the derelict Army tanks deployed during
the Reef-X Program is teeming with a variety
of fish, including red snapper. (AMRD)
ACEOA Magazine99

Snapper Season
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

labamas private recreational anglers who enjoy

red snapper fishing will have only one weekend
to pursue the states signature reef fish in federal
waters, much to the chagrin of anglers and state fisheries
officials alike.
The good news is that, after consulting with Governor
Robert Bentley and Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter
Guy Jr., Alabama Marine Resources Division Director
Chris Blankenship announced this week that Alabama
will have a red snapper season in state waters that will

Mark Jones of Mobile shows off a beautiful red snapper

that came off one of those reefs. (photo by David Rainer)

start on May 27 and run through July 31. The daily bag
limit is two fish with a minimum length of 16 inches.
The federal season for private recreational anglers
starts on June 1st and runs through June 9th with the
same daily bag and length limits. The season for federally permitted for-hire (charter) boats is June 1st through
July 16th.
This short federal red snapper season for private recreational boats is obviously disappointing and shows the
need for the states to be able to manage that fishery and
provide more access to our fishermen, Blankenship said.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) echoed
Blankenships sentiments.
A nine-day red snapper season for recreational fishermen is simply not acceptable, Congressman Byrne said.
The derby-style season creates unsafe conditions by
forcing fishermen to go out regardless of the conditions.
There are plenty of red snapper in the Gulf, but the federal
government continues to use outdated and ineffective
methods to sample for the fish. A short season is bad for
fishermen, but it also hurts our coastal communities.
The feedback Blankenship has received from recreational anglers has been what he expected.
Ive heard from a lot of people who think this short
season is ridiculous and that something needs to be
changed, he said. We did a survey a couple of weeks
ago and asked if they thought Alabama could do a better
job of managing the red snapper fisheries than the federal
government. More than 95 percent of the people who
responded felt the state could do a better job.
NOAA Fisheries (aka National Marine Fisheries
Service) arrived at the nine-day federal season with
data gathered from its Marine Recreational Information
Program (MRIP), a headboat survey and creel surveys
from Louisiana and Texas.
Alabama conducts its own survey through the mandatory Snapper Check program, which has indicated
the NOAA Fisheries estimates of the number of snapper
landed in Alabama is grossly overestimated.
continued on 103
ACEOA Magazine101


The Alabama Snapper
Management Council process,
so Blankenship has turned to
Check program is mandaAlabamas congressional deltory for anglers who return
to an Alabama port. Marine
egation in Washington, D.C.,
Resources also uses cameras
for assistance.
at the public boat ramps to
We are still working
count vessel launches to help
through Congress to get state
validate its catch estimates.
control of the red snapper
fishery, he said. There are
The catch for the nine-day
2014 season reported through
several bills that achieve that
Alabamas Snapper Check
goal. Thats where its going
to happen.
was 455,522 pounds, while
the feds estimated the total at
What would make
1,227,469 pounds. The results
Blankenship happy is if
from the Snapper Check proCongress would pass legislagram for the 2015 season
tion to give the Gulf states the
ability to do the red snapper
indicated 1,045,043 pounds
stock assessment and totally
of red snapper were landed
manage the fishery out to the
at Alabama ports. NOAA
200-mile limit.
Fisheries MRIP estimated
There is a better way, and
the red snapper landed in
Alabama at 2,355,481 pounds.
it means taking power away
Were working to get our
The short private recreational red snapper seasons
from the federal government
Snapper Check certified this
have led to an abundance of large fish in Alabamas
and empowering the Gulf
year so it will be used for
artificial reef zones. (photo by David Rainer)
states, said Congressman
Byrne. The House has passed
setting the season in 2017,
Blankenship said.
a bill that included my reforms to do exactly that, but
Theres more good news about the state season.
sadly the bill is stuck in the Senate. I continue to call on
Anglers who are fishing the state season when the federal
the Senate to take up this important legislation that would
season is closed are not going to have to keep looking
help get us a real snapper season again.
over their shoulders to see if a federal enforcement boat
Because of Alabamas renowned artificial reef program,
about 35 percent of the red snapper caught in the Gulf
is approaching.
Our state season will be for state waters out to 9
are landed in Alabama.
miles, Blankenship said. There is no controversy this
These limited seasons are definitely growing the popyear on that distance, thanks to Senator (Richard) Shelby
ulation of red snapper, Blankenship said. Theres plenty
including that in the budget bill.
of fish and plenty of nice fish. But were also seeing many
Of the federal red snapper quota, commercial fishermore people fishing for inshore species than we used to.
men and the recreational sector, both private and for-hire,
I think part of that is that they cant fish for red snapper
split a 14-million pound quota. NOAA Fisheries removes
but a few days a year so theyre diversifying their fisha 20-percent buffer from the recreational quota to avoid
ing activity.
going over the quota. Private recreational anglers will get
One of those anglers who diversified his fishing activity
3.32 million pounds and the for-hire (charter) sector will
is Mark Jones of Mobile. Jones is heavily involved in the
get 2.43 million pounds.
recreational fishing sector as a private angler and the
Relief for the recreational anglers doesnt appear
owner of Marks Bait Shop on Dauphin Island.
continued on 105
to be forthcoming in the Gulf of Mexico Fishery
ACEOA Magazine103


Jones said one benefit of a short private recreational
season is that red snapper are getting bigger and bigger. The downside is many anglers and businesses are
adversely affected.
Being in the bait business also, its going to hurt us as
far as people snapper fishing, Jones said. Theyre not
going to buy cigar minnows or ice because they dont go
fishing as much. I know people are selling their Gulf boats
and downsizing to speckled trout fishing.
Now I think were going to put a lot more pressure
on the speckled trout and flounder. For the five years Ive
been selling bait, the boats going inshore fishing have
tripled. I think youll start seeing those limits change in
the future.
Like almost every private recreational angler Ive
talked to, Jones said the short snapper season just
doesnt make sense.

I think its sad, he said. What happens during the six

or eight days if we have 25-knot winds and 7-foot seas?
We dont get those days back. Were done.
Jones and some of his fishing buddies are going further
into the Gulf to catch other species, but they invariably
will catch big red snapper even though they are targeting
other species.
Every time we go we catch snapper, he said. Were
trying to catch amberjack, and we pull in a 20-pound
sow snapper. We say, Boy, thats a pretty fish, and then
throw her back overboard.
Blankenship cautions those who venture out during
red snapper season to remember that the seasons for
amberjack and triggerfish close on June 1 and reopen on
Aug. 1. Grouper is closed in June and reopens on July 1.
Visit www.outdooralabama.com for more information



ACEOA Magazine105

Press Release
April 5, 2016
Contact: Patti Powell, 334-242-3484
Court Approves the Largest Environmental Settlement in History
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has approved the settlement reached between
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) and BP for natural resource
injuries stemming from the spill and also a settlement of the Clean Water Act violations with the United States.
This settlement is the largest settlement of environmental claims in history. The Trustee Council, which includes
the Alabama Trustees, will now begin implementing restoration as laid out in its comprehensive restoration plan.
Under this settlement, BP will pay the Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resource
injuries. The settlement includes:
$1 billion already committed during early restoration
$7.1 billion for restoration over 15-plus years, beginning in April 2017
Up to an additional $700 million to respond to natural resource damages unknown at the time of the agreement
and/or to provide for adaptive management
Approximately $296 million of the natural resource damage settlement money is allocated specifically to fund
restoration projects in Alabama. The Alabama Trustees also have the ability to seek additional funding from nearly
$1.6 billion which has been set aside for Gulf region-wide and open ocean restoration.
Alabama will also receive a share of the $5.5 billion Clean Water Act settlement pursuant to the Resources and
Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act.
From this fund, Alabama will receive approximately $308 million under the Direct Component and approximately
$269 million under the Spill Impact Component, as well as $22 million under the Center of Excellence Component. In
addition, Alabama will receive a portion of $1.32 billion for projects to be determined by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem
Restoration Council.
We are pleased with the Courts approval of this historic settlement and the resulting certainty it provides as to
additional funding needed to continue efforts to restore our invaluable coastal resources, said N. Gunter Guy, Jr.,
Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We appreciate the public input
and participation which was vital in reaching this milestone and again ask our coastal communities for continued
assistance as we transition to focusing on the longer term restoration needs of Alabamas Gulf Coast.
The natural resource damages and Clean Water Act settlement approved by the Court are part of the global settlement with BP that also resolved the remaining economic damage claims of the five Gulf states and municipalities.
Taken together this global resolution of civil claims is worth more than $20 billion. When added to the criminal
penalty claims awarded to Alabama through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from plea agreements with
BP and Transocean, the total value recovered for the state of Alabama for environmental claims for the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill will top approximately $1.36 billion.

ACEOA Magazine107

Wild Chase
By Jason Boothe with Washington County News

n what was described as a scene out of the Dukes of

Hazzard, a high-speed chase involving multiple law
enforcement from Choctaw and Washington counties
took place on April 30.
The chase, which came to a sudden stop in a local game
wardens back yard, involved the pursuit of two Choctaw
County men, the vehicles involved reaching speeds of more
than 120 miles per hour.
According to Washington County Jail logs, the driver
Matthew Blake Utsey, 18, of 39 Dust Creek Road in
Gilbertownwas charged with eluding, speeding, no operational taillights, reckless driving, no drivers license and
possession of drug paraphernalia.
Patrick Busby, 24, of 1218 Narrow Road in Butler was
charged with failure to appear for possession of marijuana
and no tag.
The incident began, according to Choctaw County Sheriff
Scott Lolley, around 11:30p.m. when a Gilbertown Police officer
spotted a vehicle around the 93 mile marker on Highway 17
between Gilbertown and Toxey and attempted to pull over
a white Ford Ranger pickup truck for a traffic violation. The
driver was later identified as Utsey and Busby was a passenger
in the vehicle.
(The officer) tried to pull (Utsey) over, but he tried to
elude the officer, Lolley said. One of my deputies was
located in Silas. I was just north of them around Lusk Road.
I believe he went through town at a real high rate of speed.
The Gilbertown officer pursued him into Silas, where he
met up with my deputy. Both of them continued to chase
him until they got down around the Yarbo community at
the 65 mile marker. Just before the 65 mile marker he met
several Washington County deputies who tried to slow the
driver down.
Lolley said with a chuckle, He turned into a game wardens yard.
He went down and fish-tailed the truck (in game warden
Jonathan Howards yard), Lolley said. (Utsey) did about
a 180-degree turn and slid behind a few hardwood trees. After
it came to a stop, the passenger (Busby) got out and held his
hands up and surrendered. He was taken into custody. The

driver, Utsey, took off running into the woods. They found an
AR15 and empty pistol holster inside the truck.
Utsey would discover that the place where his truck came
to rest was an unfortunate one for him.
What is funny, Lolley said. The game warden is one of
two (game wardens) in the whole state of Alabama to have
a dog that tracks people for game and fish. He was on his back
porch when they came through sliding in his yard. He stepped
out onto the back porch and saw Utsey run into the woods.
He went and put his tracking collar on Tiny, his dog.
Howard and a Washington County deputy (Brad Singleton)
put ole Tiny in the woods and within four or five minutes
Tiny went straight to Utsey laying on the ground. Utsey was
taken into to custody.
Howard, a Washington County Wildlife officer, said all he
could think about was the Dukes of Hazzard when he saw
the white Ford Ranger go airborne in his front yard.
Howard added that Tiny was received from the Department
of Corrections and Conservation Enforcement Officer
Association, which also supplied the dogs tracking collars,
dog box and vest.
Lolley said it was hard to fathom that a person would run
28 miles in a pickup truck, reaching speeds of more than 120
miles per hour, only to turn into a game wardens yard in an
attempt to avoid capture; and that the game warden whose
yard he turned into would have one of two human tracking
dogs in the entire state for game and fish.
Lolley added that Howard literally walked to the dogs cage,
told it to Come on, and walked it over to the wood line and
put Tiny on Utseys trail. Moments later, Utsey was in custody.
Both men were transported to Washington County Jail to
be held for Gilbertown Police on charges.
As of Wednesday, Utsey had been released but Busby
remains in jail pending a hold by Choctaw County.
Law enforcement members who aided in the capture of
Utsey and Busby include. Gilbertown Police Sgt. Mark Kelly;
officer Corey Brunner; Choctaw County Deputies Scott Turner
and Caleb Sullivan; Sheriff Scott Lolley; Washington County
Sgt. Brad Singleton; Anthony Hinson; Chatom Police Officer
Greg Fischer and game warden Jonathan Howard.
ACEOA Magazine109

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ACEOA Magazine111