Deatsville 5-year-old wins ‘Big Gobbler’ photo contest

Hudson Mathews, 5, of Deatsville is the 2021 winner of the Big Gobbler Photo Contest.
Hudson Mathews, 5, of Deatsville is the 2021 winner of the Big Gobbler Photo Contest.(Source: Alabama Black Belt Adventures)
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 1:20 PM CDT
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DEATSVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - A Deatsville 5-year-old has been named the 2021 winner of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s Big Gobbler photo contest.

Hudson Mathews submitted a photo of his first turkey for the contest, which had a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. The photo received more than 1,300 votes and beat out nearly 20 other contestants to take top prize.

To view all of the other contest entries, visit

Mathew harvested the gobbler while hunting with his father in Pike County, according to the entry.

“Though we didn’t hear any gobbling at first light, we knew they were close as we had roosted them the evening before. 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,” Hudson’s father recalled of the special morning. “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!”

Mathews was awarded a limited-edition commemorative “Memories of Spring” box call produced together by famed Alabama turkey hunter Ron Jolly and turkey hunting legend Preston Pittman as well as the recently released book by Jolly 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,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “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 annual photo contest was open throughout turkey season as a way to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

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