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Big Gobbler photo contest launched for state

Calling all turkey hunters! Social distancing can be achieved in the great outdoors.

WIth the start of spring, turkey hunters across Alabama will be heading into the woods. Hunters pursuing wary gobblers in Alabama’s Black Belt – long known for its hallowed turkey woods – are encouraged to submit photos of successful hunts.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo Contest, now in its eighth year, will be showcasing the 23-county Black Belt region’s dedicated hunters and legally harvested birds. The contest this year will be conducted online at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest and will feature a prize of an official National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition #300 of 1900) by Melissa Gayman Ball (valued at $225) donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. The winner will also receive a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly. This book is full of entertaining stories that any beginner or seasoned turkey hunter will enjoy. The contest coincides with the length of Alabama’s spring turkey season which, with recent changes, now runs from Saturday, March 21 to Sunday, May 3 within the Black Belt. Please note that Barbour, Lowndes, and Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Areas will all have a delayed start to the season that will begin on Saturday, March 28.

“It is no secret that Alabama’s Black Belt region is home to some of the finest turkey hunting in the country,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “These wily eastern turkeys are indeed the “King of Spring” and present an addicting challenge to hunters of all levels. We encourage folks to visit the habitat-rich Black Belt for fantastic turkey hunting opportunities and stand ready to assist hunters interested in a full-service outfitter as well as the public lands available within the region.”

Contest participants are limited to only one entry and must fully complete the online form with the necessary information, including person (or persons) in the photo and the county where the gobbler was harvested. Visitors to the contest webpage may vote once per day, per entry.

Only photos of turkeys taken in the Black Belt during the 2019-20 season (including those taken in Clarke and Monroe counties during the 2019 fall season) are eligible. Previous winners of the Big Gobbler Contest from 2018-19 and 2017-18 are not eligible this year.

“Alabama, and specifically the Black Belt region, is well known for incredible turkey hunting opportunities, and we fully expect another productive season here in Alabama,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “To further enable Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to more effectively manage one of our most precious natural resources, we highly encourage folks to Game Check their turkey harvests. It is an extremely simple process that will provide invaluable information.”

The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Our Big Gobbler Photo Contest was created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region. For more information on the contest, voting and turkey season go towww.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.