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Archive for March, 2010

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

MONTGOMERY — A bill introduced by state Sens. Ted Little of Auburn and Zeb Little of Cullman has Alabama State Parks officials concerned about the future of the parks system.

Senate Bill 532 proposes a 50 percent reduction in lodging rates and entrance fees for Alabama residents between May 15 and Aug. 15, 2010. Alabama State Parks Director Mark Easterwood says this reduction in revenue would be devastating to the 22 parks, which generate 94 percent of their income from user fees.

“The summer revenue lets the parks operate at a profit during those months,” he said. “Those revenues are then used to carry the parks through the winter months. The parks operate at a loss between September and March each year.”

According to Parks Operations Director Tim Wishum, 56 percent of park expenses are related to personnel costs. The loss of revenue would require a significant reduction in personnel, which would cause portions of some parks and even some entire parks to close.

“Much of our business is from in-state residents, so we would lose a significant portion of our income during the busiest months,” he said.

Parks officials estimate that approximately 90 percent of day-use fees are generated by Alabama residents. Alabama residents generate between 55 and 78 percent of lodging and camping revenues.

Many cities and local tourist boards receive money from lodging taxes generated by the parks. Because of the potential loss of this revenue, several communities near state parks have expressed their opposition to SB532. The city of Pelham has passed a resolution opposing the bill.

Fort Payne Mayor William H. Jordan also opposes the bill. In a letter to Sen. Lowell Barron of Fyffe, Jordan said the bill would be detrimental to the local economy because of a reduction in lodging taxes.

“We feel our rates are reasonably priced,” Easterwood said. “Lowering them just isn’t feasible when we receive no General Fund appropriation. The parks won’t be able to continue operating.”

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Note: A partnership agreement from our good friends at Future Fisherman Foundation and Poor Boy’s Baits.

With spring fishing season getting underway, many anglers are stocking their tackle boxes and getting out on the water. The Future Fisherman Foundation (F3) encourages fishing enthusiasts making purchases to patronize companies that support F3’s important youth angling programs such as Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs and Physh Ed.

One such company is Poor Boy’s Baits, a family-owned business in LaGrange, Ind., that sells a wide variety of quality fishing products. To show their support for the Foundation’s youth education programs, owners Shawn and Kim Straley have formed a partnership that will help fund F3’s work.

Each time anglers purchase a bottle of Poor Boy’s Baits’ popular new Lure Dye, the Straleys will donate 20 cents to F3.

Poor Boy’s dye is non-scented and odor disappears when dry. Use it to dye worm tails, craw claws, hula skirts or even whole baits to get just the right color. The dye comes in six hot fish-catching colors: watermelon, green pumpkin, black, red, orange and chartreuse. Buyers have the satisfaction of knowing that part of the purchase price from the sale of every bottle will help ensure the future of fishing.

“Through programs like Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs, the Future Fisherman Foundation exposes America’s young people to the positive values of fishing,” Shawn Straley said. “We wholeheartedly support those efforts and wanted to show that through this partnership.

“Since its inception in 1986, the Future Fisherman Foundation has provided fishing education programs for more than 1 million children nationwide,” F3 executive director Keith Sutton said. “This wouldn’t be possible, however, without the generous support of companies like Poor Boy’s Baits and the customers who buy their products.We’re proud to include them among our partners.”

For more information on Poor Boy’s Lure Dye, or to order on-line with a credit card or PayPal, click here. For telephone orders, call 800-925-9088.

For more information on the Future Fisherman Foundation’s cause-related marketing program and to become a partner, please contact Executive Director Keith Sutton at (703) 402-3623 or ksutton@futurefisherman.org.

Established in 1986, the Future Fisherman Foundation unites the sportfishing industry and a nationwide network of state outdoor educators, national conservation groups and youth organizations dedicated to introducing America’s youth to angling and the outdoors. These efforts help people of all ages have safe and enjoyable fishing experiences that foster conservation ethics.

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If you like crappie fishing, this may crank your tractor and put it in overdrive.

Cornell Terry of Moulton caught a 4-pound crappie recently from a small lake in northwest Alabama. Four pounds! Wow, what a hoss.

Last summer at Grenada Lake, I had the pleasure of fishing with Coy and Gil Sipes of Alabama at the Crappiemasters Championship during a media outing. Some of the crappie brought in there were 3-plus pounds.

But a 4-pounder just looks freakish. What a fish. Congrats to Mr. Terry on a fine catch.

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After a friend passed along the Depredators Blog de Pesca site recently, I had a chance to knock around there for a bit.

It’s published in Spain and I can’t read a lick of it. But if love is the universal language of the world, then the love of fishing must be its close cousin.

Take a visit and click on the video titled “Sleeping Beauties,” which shows underwater footage of flathead catfish. There’s a single, and then a pod all clumped together like a gaggle of teenage girls on a sleep-over watching a horror movie at 2 a.m.

There’s even a video of Strike King pro Denny Brauer talking about the new Smokin’ Rooster, and another one titled “Chicas y Marlin.”

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My good pal Gary Garth of Kentucky has a super blog you need to check out if you’re interested in general outdoors news.

Garth lives in western Kentucky and writes the outdoors column for the Louisville Courier-Journal, one of the nation’s legendary newspapers. Despite all the newspaper industry woes, the LCJ has retained some of its outdoors presence — instead of killing off the section entirely, which is so incredibly stupid I can’t describe it.

Garth is located in one of the great areas of the country with Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois all in a short drive. He gets around to other states, too, mostly in the Southeast, and is a very good writer and super guy.

Gary’s site is listed in my Blog Roll (look to the right menu) along with others. I’ll be adding a few more soon.

Give it a look or I’ll come put lizards in your bed.

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Tackle Warehouse pro Jared Lintner and his son survived a scary interstate incident Saturday in California that resulted in his Skeeter boat being totaled.

Tackle Warehouse pro Jared Lintner and his son, JC, are doing well after a scary situation Saturday on Interstate 5 in California while he was traveling to Clear Lake for the second Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

Lintner posted on Facebook that they came through the accident with no injuries. He did not provide details about what caused the accident but photos showed Linter’s truck and Skeeter boat wrecked off the interstate. There are tire marks halfway down the passenger’s side of the truck and the boat was thrown from the trailer after the exited the interstate.

A post Sunday afternoon said Linter was sorting through his tackle to prepare for this week’s tournament at Clear Lake. Reached midday, he said his boat “is totaled” and he’s working on a backup plan for the tournament.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

Originally posted in MARCH 2010

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From the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:

Sgt. Jon Sims has been named the Alabama Chapter Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation .

Sims was recognized for the award Feb. 20 during the Federation’s 34th annual convention and sport show awards banquet in Nashville. The NWTF is a national conservation organization dedicated to the improvement of critical wildlife habitat and increased access to public hunting land.

Since joining the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2002, Sims has distinguished himself in the field as a conservation enforcement officer and was promoted to investigator with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Special Investigations Unit in 2007. Sims was promoted to SIU Acting Supervisor in 2009.

According to WFF Enforcement Chief Allan Andress, the effectiveness and productivity of the SIU has reached new heights under Sims’ leadership.

“Sgt. Sims has been so successful in the SIU because of his attitude, enthusiasm and professionalism,” Andress said. “He accepts every assignment with a positive frame of mind and gives a complete effort to any case small or large. Sgt. Sims is very deserving of this recognition.”

Since joining the SIU Sims has been the lead investigator on many high priority cases.  Two  involved the sale and importation of wild turkeys.  In September 2008 a Sims led investigation resulted in the conviction of Bobby Joe Broadway of Jackson County, for taking wood duck eggs from the wild, taking wild turkeys off an Alabama Wildlife Management Area and for importing wild turkeys into the state.  Officers seized 70 Eastern wild turkeys, 17 Eastern wild turkey eggs and eight wood ducks during the arrest.

In August 2009, another Sims investigation led to the arrest of a Coosa County couple who took turkey eggs from the wild, imported Merriam’s turkeys from Georgia and were selling Eastern wild turkeys.  During the arrest 28 Eastern wild turkeys and six Merriam’s were seized. The couple is currently awaiting a court date.

Sgt. Sims is adamant about the dangers of importing and releasing turkeys into the state.

“The spread of diseases and pathogens could have a devastating effect on the intense efforts our wildlife biologists and sportsmen have put into restoring wild turkey populations in Alabama,” Sims said.

A true sportsman, Sims’ love for the outdoors extends beyond his official duties with the state. Sims hunts and manages hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat in Lee County, and particularly enjoys the challenge of turkey hunting.  Sims also promotes the sport of hunting by preparing a dove field each year for conservation officers and their children to hunt free of charge.

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