Five-year-old wins Alabama gobbler photo contest

Published 12:35 pm Sunday, May 16, 2021

A Deatsville native won the 2021 Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo contest.

Five-year-old Hudson Mathews harvested his first-ever turkey in Pike County hunting with his father.

The gobbler had a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. Hudson’s photo received over 1,300 votes and beat out 20 other contestants to take first place.

“Though we didn’t hear any gobbling at first light, we knew they were close as we had roosted them the evening before,’’ said Hudson’s father. “Eventually, we saw some hens and a gobbler headed our way in a big field but were disappointed when a group of jakes ran off the tom.

“We decided that we would try to harvest a jake but right as we were getting ready, we heard a close gobble to our right. The tom had circled back and was coming into our setup. He closed to 5 yards from our blind but was spooked when the wind nearly knocked over our blind. Luckily, he was still in range when he settled back down, and Hudson made a perfect shot.”

For winning the contest, Mathews gets a limited-edition commemorative “Memories of Spring” box call produced by famed Alabama turkey hunter Ron Jolly and turkey hunting legend Preston Pittman and Jolly’s book of the same name.

“We are grateful to the participants in this year’s contest and know that many memories of spring were created in Alabama’s Black Belt throughout the season,” ALBBAA Executive Director Pam Swannier said.

“Our region continues to be a place where families and young folks can enjoy high-quality experiences, and we invite you to come to the Black Belt to create your own memories.”

The Black Belt Region consists of the following 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.