Hunters invited to compete in big buck photo contest

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, January 18, 2024

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As Alabama deer hunters eagerly traverse the woods in pursuit of the perfect shot during the rut, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) invites hunters to showcase their success through the Big Buck Photo Contest. 

Mason Blankenship, who submitted a photo for the contest in 2023, harvested his first buck in Lowndes County and reported it was his first kill with a bow.

Kevin Bradley said he was filled with pride when his 7-year-old son Braxton took down a 218-pound, 11-point buck. This hunt was exceptionally meaningful to Steven as young Braxton was scheduled for a trophy hunt a few weeks prior but came down with the flu.

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“The hunt was completely booked for the rest of this hunting season, so he was devastated,” Bradley said. “We had no idea we’d be able to bring this beauty home two weeks later.”

The photo contest, which is sponsored by the Central Alabama Farmers Cooperative in Selma, runs until Friday, Feb. 16. It offers hunters ample time to submit their most impressive buck photos from the 2023-24 archery and firearms season. All submissions and voting will take place exclusively online through the ALBBAA website at

“We are grateful to all the hunters who have already shared their photos with us,” emphasized ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “However, we want to remind everyone that submissions will be accepted until the end of the deer season, with online voting continuing until Feb. 16. We encourage hunters to keep those photos coming.”

The rules for this year’s contest are straightforward. To participate, hunters must upload a photo of a buck harvested within the 23-county Black Belt region during the 2023-2024 whitetail deer season via the ALBBAA website.

It is crucial that if the photo is taken while still in the woods, the hunter must be wearing orange. The winner will be determined solely through online voting.

Voting can be done on the same page where submissions are made, with visitors allowed one vote per day per entry per IP address. In the event of any disputes, ALBBAA’s decision will be final. Hunters who have won the contest in the past two years are ineligible to participate.

Local hunter Chris Stevens from Butler County said he has been hunting on his family’s land since he was 7-years-old and so far, it has been a great season. Recently, Stevens was able to fulfill his dream of taking down a buck in the same spot he shot his first deer 30 years ago, while hunting with his father. 

“This has been a 30 year quest,” Stevens said. “To complete it and then exceed it by taking down a 7-point a few days later, is still unbelievable.”

The winner of the contest will receive a pair of game cameras valued at around $350, courtesy of the Central Alabama Farmers Cooperative.

Although the 2023-24 deer season concludes on Feb. 10, voting will continue until midnight on Feb. 16, providing additional time for hunters to submit their photos and for the public to cast their votes.

“Alabama’s Black Belt is renowned for its abundant deer hunting opportunities,” Swanner said. “We hope hunters will continue to share their experiences through our organization.”

The association also reminds all hunters to prioritize safety by wearing orange and ensuring they have obtained a hunting license from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources before venturing into the woods. Additionally, successful hunters are encouraged to report their harvested deer through Game Check.

The Black Belt encompasses 23 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.