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10-year-old Selma native wins Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s 2022 Big Gobbler Photo Contest

Last week, 10-year-old Owen Rouse was named the winner of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s 2022 Big Gobbler Photo Contest.

Owen traveled with his father Scott to Perry County to participate in an early-season hunt.

According to their hunting report, after several hours of calling and hunting were over, the father and son with a couple of hunting buddies were headed in from the day in the fields with no success.

That is when chance took a turn.

While heading back to the truck, the group spotted two gobblers, including one moving toward them, and worked to get Owen into a position for the shot.

“If Owen wasn’t meant to kill a turkey that day, nobody was,” said Lance Braswell, a 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.”

Owen’s photo of his first harvested turkey was submitted to the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s contest.

With thousands of votes cast and dozens of photos entered, Owen’s came out the winner.

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.

Pam Swanner, executive director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, stated, “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.”