MONTGOMERY, Ala. (May 12, 2022) – Scott Rouse wanted his 10-year-old son, Owen, to harvest his first turkey.
The hunt turned out to be memorable for multiple reasons.
Joined by two hunting buddies, Scott and Owen travelled from their home in Selma to Perry County for the early-season hunt. Several hours of calling and hunting proved fruitless and the hunting party was heading “back to the truck,” Scott said.
On the way, they spotted two gobblers, including one moving toward them, and worked to get Owen into a position for a clean, ethical shot.
Owen’s bulky gloves delayed the shot, while Scott’s two hunting buddies stood in plain sight but somehow didn’t spook the gobbler.
“If Owen wasn’t meant to kill a turkey that day, nobody was,” said Lance Braswell, a Camden resident and member of the hunting party assisting Owen. “The turkey just stands there. It was absurd. I’ve hunted all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like that. If you blink wrong, the turkey is gone. This one just stood there.”
The photo of Owen and his first harvested turkey is the winner of the 10th annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest sponsored by the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. The winner was selected through online voting on the ABBAA’s website, with thousands of votes cast and dozens of photos entered.
As the 2022 contest winner, Owen receives a limited edition, Birdseye maple pot call with matching striker paired by renowned champion turkey caller Preston Pittman. Both are numbered and signed by NWTF Hall of Fame inductees Ron Jolly and Preston Pittman. In addition, the prize package includes a signed copy of “Memories of Spring” by Ron Jolly and award-winning wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly and a $300 gift certificate sponsored by Jonathan Goode of Southeastern Land Group.
“I was excited,” said Owen, who attends Meadowview Christian School. “I couldn’t believe it stood there.”
The ABBAA’s annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest ran throughout turkey season as a way to educate the public about the abundant natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
“We are so appreciative of the many hunters who participated in this year’s contest,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “It’s rewarding when you see so many youngsters being mentored by their parents, teaching them the importance of wildlife conservation as a hunter while also carrying on the hunting traditions that make up the fabric of life in Alabama’s Black Belt. We invite everyone to visit the Black Belt to experience the region’s natural beauty, unique culture and southern hospitality.”
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.