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FLW Tour Forrest Wood Cup champion John Cox and Stephanie Hutchinson with a couple of awesome @BienvillePlantation largemouth bass.

It’s been a few years since I was able to enjoy the fishing at Bienville Plantation, but the memories remain and always will. It’s a fantastic place. From the sounds of the news coming out of this legendary Florida outdoors getaway, more memories will be made soon by anglers and hunters.

Bienville Plantation has gotten a facelift on its awesome cabins and facilities, including expansion of the shooting sports complex. Along with the super lakes that offer bass fishermen untold opportunities for techniques — everything from topwaters and pitching plastics to crankbaits and swim jigs — the new owners have opened more lakes.



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Alabama Wildlife Management Areas offer opportunities for hunters, anglers, birders, campers, hikers and others who take advantage of the public lands. The WMAs are managed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. (Photo: ADCNR)

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) will host a series of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) listening sessions across the state this winter. The listening sessions will focus on the history of Alabama’s WMA system, how it is funded, habitat management efforts, future plans and ongoing research. WFF staff will also answer attendees’ questions.

“It’s important for hunters and others who utilize the state WMA system to understand how our WMAs operate and our management objectives,” said Keith Gauldin, WFF Wildlife Section Chief. “It is equally important for us to listen to the ideas and concerns of those hunters.”


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Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes migrate through north Alabama each winter and stop at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge holds a festival each January to celebrate these cool birds and other wildlife. (Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service)

DECATUR, Ala. — More than14,000 Sandhill Cranes along with several pairs of Whooping Cranes spend the winter each year at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, a major stopping point on the birds’ migration route.

To celebrate these birds and other wildlife viewing opportunities, the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association hosts a two day event bringing together experienced birders and those who would like to learn more about birding and other wildlife that call the refuge home. Sponsored by Toray, the fourth annual Festival of the Cranes is set for Jan. 14-15, 2017, at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Along with offering two days of nature walks, concerts, live raptors and special programs, there are additional nature-inspired exhibitions and activities taking place throughout the city before, during and after the festival.


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Wade “WC” Hodges, a rising junior at Georgia Southern University, is the 2016 Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award recipient. Presented by the Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America (OJEFA), the award provides an aspiring young outdoors communicator with a scholarship to attend the annual conference of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA).

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Wade “WC” Hodges

“I applied for the Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award because I saw it as a great opportunity to showcase my God-given talents to professionals in the industry,” Hodges said. “By going to the conference, I hope to gain wisdom and knowledge from those at the top of the outdoor communications field while also establishing essential relationships that could help advance my career. I think this conference is a great chance for me to get my foot in the door and hopefully lead me to where I want to be. I am expecting to meet a lot of influential people while I am there and create friendships that will last a lifetime.”

SEOPA President Gil Lackey said, “Our goal is to encourage young folks to pursue a career in outdoor media. It’s inspiring to watch the younger generation meet and learn from outdoors icons at the SEOPA conference. I can’t wait to meet Wade and welcome him into the SEOPA family.”

Hodges will be one of at least six communicators at the upcoming conference under the age of 26. The October conference will be in Lakeland, Fla.

Stu Tinney, founder of the original Striper magazine and tournament series, is the benefactor of the Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award. His donation of $25,000 at the 2013 conference is restricted for the sole purpose of providing this conference scholarship. Tinney established the award to honor his late wife, Lindsay Sale-Tinney, and her love of the outdoors, animals, children, photography and education.

“The SEOPA conference provides a super venue for networking, learning and enjoying fellowship with like-minded individuals,” Tinney said. “I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to Lindsay than to send young outdoor communicators to a SEOPA conference.”

To learn more about the Lindsay Sale-Tinney award, please watch this short video produced by previous recipient Josh Honeycutt at Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award.

The Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, Inc., has been helping outdoor communicators and allied industry representatives excel in their professions since 1964. Membership includes a wide range of communicators from traditional and new media, supporting outdoor industry partners, tourism and CVBs, agencies, organizations and others.

The Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established by the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association in 2004 to further education, research and network opportunities in the field of outdoor journalism for students, active outdoor journalists and outdoor journalist organizations.

SOURCE: Southeastern Outdoor Press Association

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School is out, the temperature is rising and the beaches are calling – a typical summer in Alabama. Add to that summertime list an increase in black bear sightings outside the animal’s primary ranges in the state. Most recently, numerous sightings of a black bear were reported in both Oxford, Ala., and Tallapoosa County, where the bear was observed eating from trash cans.

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Black bear sightings are becoming more frequent in Alabama.

Seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, but it is no cause for alarm.

“All bears sighted this year have been behaving normally and exhibiting a natural fear of humans,” said Steve Bryant, District 2 Supervising Wildlife Biologist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “So far there are no reports of bears acclimating to human activities or causing any property damage.”

Alabama’s relatively low black bear population appears to be on the rise. A small population exists in Mobile and Washington counties, but bears migrating from Georgia have established a viable population in northeast Alabama as well. WFF is currently working with Auburn University researchers and other state and federal agencies to collect data on the state’s black bear population and movements.


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Robby Shelton image from 2015 Barbasol Championship

Robby Shelton is forgoing his senior season at the University of Alabama to pursue a professional golf career. He finished third in the 2015 Barbasol Championship, and has been given an exemption for the 2016 tournament. (Photo: Courtesy Barbasol Championship)

Coming off a successful collegiate career at the University of Alabama, Mobile’s Robby Shelton turned professional May 30  and has accepted a sponsor invitation from the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship.

Shelton recently completed his junior year at Alabama and will join four Master champions, two U.S. Open winners, a PGA Championship winner and other golfers in the field of 132 players for the Barbasol Championship. This PGA TOUR event will be played on the Lake Course at the Grand National site of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika July 13-17, 2016.

Barbasol Championship LogoShelton tied for third last year in the Barbasol Championship as an amateur. The current field has a total of 114 victories on the PGA TOUR.

“I am excited about playing in the Barbasol Championship again this year and having it among my first PGA TOUR events as a professional,” Shelton said. “Thanks to Barbasol and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail for inviting me back. I look forward to a great week of exciting golf.”

Shelton, who just completed his junior season at the University of Alabama, announced May 30 that he will not play his senior season. He made the announcement following his final round at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, where he finished tied for sixth.

Shelton is a native of Wilmer, Ala., leaves the University of Alabama golf program with a school record of seven victories, including three in the 2016 season. He also owns Alabama career records in stroke average (70.44) and average vs. par (-0.72), while his 67 career rounds of par or better (out of 103 total rounds played) rank third in program history.

Shelton also owns three of the four lowest single-season scoring averages in the Alabama record books. In 34 career tournaments, Shelton had 17 top-five finishes and 31 top-20 results.

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Landon Lomax of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., will be among the 49 anglers competing at the 33rd annual FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American on Barkley Lake in Cadiz, Ky., June 9-11.

Landon Lomax in the February 2016 BFL Tournament on Guntersville Lake

Landon Lomax (right) weighs his catch during the 2016 BFL tournament on Guntersville Lake in Alabama.

The tournament will feature the top boaters and co-anglers from across the nationwide 24-division BFL circuit casting for cash prizes of up to $120,000 in the Boater Division and $60,000 in the Co-angler Division, plus an opportunity to compete in the world championship of professional bass fishing, the Forrest Wood Cup.

Lomax punched his ticket to the event via his fourth place finish at a BFL regional championship on Neely Henry Lake in Alabama last season. The top six boaters and co-anglers from each of the six regional championships advanced to the All-American, along with six qualifiers from the annual Wild Card tournament and seven from the TBF National Championship.

The All-American will be internationally televised on the NBC Sports Network, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network this fall.

Anglers will take off from Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz at 7 a.m. CDT. Weigh-ins will be begin at 3 p.m. the first two days of competition. Saturday’s final weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m.

Fishing fans can follow tournament action at FLWFishing.com. Updates, photos and videos will be posted along with live streaming video feed of the weigh-in each day.

Coverage of the 2016 BFL All-American will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Oct. 5 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

SOURCE: FLW Outdoors

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