LEE COUNTY — On the opening weekend of the 2024 turkey season, brothers Declan and Logan Warrick hit the woods with their dad and cousin.
The group spooked a group of turkeys early in the morning and then made a short drive to a family property in rural Crenshaw County, where they spotted another group of birds.
The brothers — 14-year-old Logan and 12-year-old Declan — crawled closer to get in position while their adult guides blew on turkey calls. Logan fired first and harvested a turkey, and Declan then stood and shot a second turkey as it ran away.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know how we did that,’” Logan said.
The photo of the brothers with their harvested birds received the most votes in this year’s Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) Big Gobbler Photo Contest.
As the winner of this year’s contest, the Warricks will receive a Black Belt Strutter turkey call package. The package includes a custom Alabama Black Belt Adventures edition glass pot call made from locally sourced Demopolis mock orange wood, and an Otis Elite universal gun cleaning kit, courtesy of Black Belt Strutter. The prize package carries a total value of about $300.
The hunt that produced the winning photo provided a family memory that will last a lifetime, and ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner said that’s exactly what the 12th annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest is designed to celebrate.
“Our contest attracts entries every year showcasing young people enjoying the great outdoors right here in Alabama’s Black Belt,” Swanner said, “and it’s especially gratifying to see a photo showcasing young people as the winner.”
ALBBAA’s 2024 Big Gobbler Photo Contest launched in March and ran throughout Alabama’s wild turkey season. The contest drew dozens of entries and nearly 3,000 online votes.
Contestants uploaded a photo from the 2024 season to the ALBBAA website, and the winner was selected exclusively through online voting. The photo of Declan and Logan drew more than 1,000 votes, roughly twice as many as the No. 2 vote-getter.
The brothers said neither of them harvested another turkey during the 2024 season. In addition, both birds were double-bearded, which made the hunt even more memorable.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Declan said.
Orin Warrick, the boys’ father added, “All these years I’ve been hunting, I’ve never seen anything like that. It was awesome. They did it within five seconds of each other.”
The Warricks live in Smiths Station in Lee County, and they often visit family in Butler and Crenshaw counties and hunt during deer and turkey season. In fact, the other adult assisting with the youth weekend hunt, Jack-Dillon Hewitt, lives in the tiny Butler County community of Pigeon Creek.
The ALBBAA consistently promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices, and the annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest helps educate the public about the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s 23-county Black Belt region.
“Alabama’s Black Belt has earned a reputation for amazing turkey hunting every year, and we thank everyone who entered a photo or cast a vote in this year’s contest,” Swanner said.
The Black Belt includes the following 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.