Boy with Rifle and Hunting Dog

Explore hunting traditions and conservation in 1930s south Alabama.

Little boy with hunting dog in south Alabama circa 1930s

Photo courtesy S. Blake McNeely Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama

Fall in 1930s south Alabama was prime time for hunting. Sons would accompany their fathers on hunts much like today. In a decade dominated by the Great Depression, hunting could act both as a hobby as well as a means of procuring food. Alabamians hunted so frequently in the 1930s that wildlife, namely deer and turkey, was depleted across the state by the end of the decade; most that remained were located in the Mobile area. Alabama’s first hunting regulations were put in place in the mid 1930s in an attempt to increase dwindling numbers. Landowners in south Alabama joined the effort by protecting the wildlife on their property. This restocking effort slowly increased wildlife numbers in the next few decades.

“The only part of the State [sic] where deer are still abundant is in the big wooded swamps of the lower Tensaw and Mobile Rivers. In that region a number are killed during the open season every fall. They are hunted with dogs, each hunter selecting a “stand,” where he remains in expectation that the deer will pass within range of his gun — usually a shotgun loaded with buckshot.”

– A. H. Howell, 1921. “Mammals of Alabama”

By the Numbers

The year Mobile freelance photographer Stanley Blake McNeely published his photo essay book “Bits of Charm in Old Mobile.” 

The first year children’s clothing widely sported zippers. An early ’30s advertising effort praised zippers, telling parents they fostered a spirit of independence, allowing children to dress themselves easily.

The year that Count Noble, known as the “$10,000 hunting dog,” died. The English setter was such a prolific hunting dog that the New York Times ran his obituary. 

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The year the Alabama Wildlife Federation was founded.  Established by sportsman, it was the first conservation organization of its kind in the state.

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