By Fred Marshall
I’ve noticed the past few years that an increasing number of sportsmen are choosing to take a still or video camera with them on their hunting trips. After a while, some don’t take a firearm at all, preferring instead to record that big buck, etc. on film rather than hanging it on the wall. In addition, others who’ve never hunted are discovering the vast array of photo subjects that await them afield in Alabama. In keeping with that, the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest is now accepting entries through October 31, 2018. The contest is a joint project between our Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Tourism Dept., and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
The contest is open to state residents, as well as visitors, but qualifying photographs must have been taken in Alabama. Contest coordinator Kim Nix says a new category connects the celebration of Alabama’s statehood to the photo contest (now in its 14th year). “We’ve added an Alabama Bicentennial Category this year. Photos in the category could include historical parks, forts, lighthouses, battlefields, or archaeological sites. Those are just examples–it’s a broad category,” Nix says. Another new category this year is Waterfalls, which has been a popular subject for photos in previous years.
The contest is open to adults and youths, and a total of 10 photos may be entered per person. Categories include Alabama Bicentennial, Birds of a Feather, Bugs and Butterflies, Coastal Life, Cold-Blooded Critters, Nature-Based Recreation, Shoots and Roots, State Park Adventures, Sweet Home Alabama, Watchable Wildlife, and Young Photographer. Category Explanations and additional entry information can be found at www.outdooralabama.com/photo-contest. Entry is restricted to the online upload of digital images, which can be completed from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. First, Second, Third, and one honorable mention will be awarded in each category. Winning images will be featured online and in a traveling exhibit across the state in 2019.
On another note, we don’t normally think of invasive species as making trophies people can be proud of, but bow fisherman Andrew Fox of Mechanicsville, Maryland, is nonetheless proud of his new Maryland state record northern snakehead fish. The unsightly fish, a native of Asia, was 35 inches long, and tipped the scales at 19.9 pounds. Rod and reel anglers and bow fishermen like Fox are encouraged to take all they can. There is no minimum size or limit. It is said the fish are tasty table fare, but I’m not going to try it. The Asian invaders have made their way into California, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin. So far, none have been found in Alabama.