TWRA Region I press release, Friday, March 29, 2019:
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced the reopening of turkey hunting in the Mississippi River Floodwaters Zone, effective Friday, March 29, 2019. The reopening will be in effect for the statewide turkey season which begins Saturday, March 30, 2019.
The Mississippi River Floodwaters Zone includes all lands, public and private, from the northern border with Kentucky (Mississippi River Mile 715) to the southern border with Mississippi (Mississippi River Mile 905) and from the western border of Tennessee, east to the base of the Mississippi River bluff, a geological land formation with a notable rise in elevation.
In TVA’s March online newsletter “River Neighbors”, there is a recount of the record rainfall Tennessee received in February. Some areas saw nearly 14 inches in two weeks, falling on ground already saturated from a record 67-plus inches of rain in 2018.
The 49 TVA dams stored at least 3.5 trillion gallons of water to reduce downstream impacts, while eight of the nine main stem Tennessee River dams at times simultaneously released more than a million gallons per second, led by Pickwick at 4 million gallons per second.
Last month TVA worked to avert more than $1.6 billion in damages by helping to reduce or eliminate flooding in several cities. For example, Chattanooga water levels would have been 19 feet above flood stage and caused more than a billion dollars in damages without TVA river management efforts. Annually it helps prevent about $300 million in estimated flood damages in the region. To read lots more TVA news and to receive River Neighbors via email go to www.tva.gov/Environment.
The Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Chapter is hosting the “Great Outdoors Festival” youth event on Saturday, April 6 at the Covey Creek Farm in Rossville, Georgia. The free event will be 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., but it is limited to 300 youths; so registration is necessary.
There will be lots of activities to experience as participants will visit at least seven different stations around the farm. The pond is stocked with a thousand trout. Besides fishing there will be retriever demonstrations, clay target shooting, decoys and layout blinds, calling demonstrations, goodie bags, and more. Lunch and beverages will be provided no charge.
The Covey Creek Farm address is 2855 Cloud Springs Rd., Rossville, Ga. A one dollar registration fee is refunded at check-in. Go online to the events section of chattanoogadu.org (by 4-05-19), or call Ross Malone at 423-322-3108 or Charlie Lowery at 423-506-3407.
Turkey hunters, take note and watch for further developments: In accordance with Proclamation 16-45, the flooding Mississippi River stage is above 34 feet (34.0) at the Caruthersville, Mo. gauge. This condition closes all big game hunting immediately in the Mississippi River Floodwaters Zone, and hunting will remain closed until the Mississippi River stage falls to 32 feet at the Memphis gauge.
The statewide turkey season opens March 30 and TWRA will be closely monitoring the river stages to determine if the season will remain closed in this area. The two-foot buffer will ensure that big game will no longer be isolated on islands, levees, etc., when hunting season resumes. This closure is in effect on both private and public lands within the zone.
The Mississippi River Floodwaters Zone includes the areas outlined in the map at www.tnwildlife.org and includes all lands, public and private, from the northern border with Kentucky (Mississippi River Mile 715) to the southern border with Mississippi (Mississippi River Mile 905) and from the western border of Tennessee, east to the base of the Mississippi River Bluff, a geological land formation with a notable rise in elevation.
An update on chronic wasting disease in Tennessee: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will host a CWD public meeting at 7:00 p.m. on April 9th at Fayette Academy in Somerville. There will be a report on the most recent CWD testing and the state’s plans moving forward. A dialogue with the public will follow. For those who cannot attend in person, there will be a live stream of the meeting on Facebook where viewers will be given an opportunity to ask questions as well. For the Facebook connection go here.
Other related TWRA releases on CWD:
CWD Coordinator Chuck Yoest and Extension Wildlife Health Specialist and Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Daniel Grove have created a video seminar about CWD in Tennessee and some best practices for hunters and people in positive and high-risk counties. To view it click here.
A great article was written about all the latest developments in CWD by the good people at Realtree. It is worth a read.
The Chester County deer that you may have seen on the news was tested and came back as negative for CWD. This was certainly a sick animal, but it did not have CWD. See the story here.
Now is the time to plan that big cleanup project for your favorite shorelines of our state’s streams, rivers and lakes; and there is financial help available for those that plan ahead. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced the availability of grant dollars to assist conservation groups, community organizations, civic groups, cities, schools, clubs, etc. with stream cleanup projects and planting projects during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Five grants of $1,000 each are available for each of TWRA’s four regional Aquatic Habitat Protection projects. The deadline for project proposals is June 30, 2019. The grant money can be used to buy supplies such as rakes, work gloves, and garbage bags; also, waste disposal fees, tire removal, and promotional items such as t-shirts and refreshments for volunteer support.
Because it is a grant the project leader must have a tax number; the project must be completed by June 30, 2020. Get more information on the TWRA website www.tnwildlife.org; or telephone Della Sawyers at 615-781-6577 or email her at email@example.com.
If you want to plant something for wildlife, where do you start? Many landowners want to make their property more attractive to wildlife, and many of those landowners are also deer hunters. Whitetails Unlimited recently revised their Deer Management booklet. While the primary distribution will be at 475 WTU chapter events held nationwide, booklets can also be mailed for free upon request from the Whitetails Unlimited national headquarters, phone 800-274-5471.
The booklet is an overview of topics and techniques involved with turning a piece of property into a more attractive habitat for white-tailed deer. A few of the topics include management styles, food plots, and habitat enhancement. Whitetails Unlimited Program Services Director Russ Austad commented, “While it is not a comprehensive manual for land management, it can help someone get started. Different landowners will have different goals, interests, types of terrain, and available time and budget, and this booklet can help encourage and educate someone as they get started.”
Austad added, “Many landowners manage by trial and error, which can take years before they ultimately manage their property to their liking. This booklet can help you get started in the right direction, and hopefully cut the learning curve.” For more on WTU go to www.whitetailsunlimited.com.
Whitetails Unlimited will introduce more than 13,000 youngsters to archery this year through the Kids On Target program, with the help of Realtree as a title sponsor. The program consists of kits that are given to youth through a willing mentor. Mentors can be anyone including a parent, a hunter safety instructor, or an archery coach. The kits consist of two paper targets, the 10 commandments of archery safety, a certificate of achievement, and a medal. A letter to the mentor is also included explaining what the youth needs to accomplish in order to earn the certificate of achievement and medal.
“This is a very quick and easy way to introduce a kid to the world of archery,” says Whitetails Unlimited Program Services Director Russ Austad. “As a mentor you don’t need to be certified or even proficient in archery. All you need to do is follow the mentor instructions in the letter and hopefully get a kid hooked on archery.”
Whitetails Unlimited also offers a firearm version of the Kids On Target program. The kits come in a 9” x 12” envelope and can be shipped at no charge upon request. Call 800-274-5471 for Kids On Target requests. For more on Whitetails Unlimited go to www.whitetailsunlimited.com.
The 2019 statewide turkey season is March 30 – May 12; the Young Sportsman Hunt is the prior weekend, March 23-24. The season bag limit is four bearded birds, with only one allowed per day. Birds taken on quota hunts and designated wildlife management areas are bonus birds. Legal hunting times are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. All of the turkey hunting regulations are on page 39 in the 2018-2019 Hunting Guide, and online here.
The wild turkey population in Tennessee has stabilized at a little more than 315,000 birds statewide, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; and the spring harvests have been over 30,000 for the past 15 years, but that run ended last year. The 2018 spring turkey harvest dropped to 28,286, thanks to cold weather the first two weeks; and, not to mention the opening weekend was Easter and the closing weekend was Mother’s Day.
The 2017 spring total was 34,538, which was the third highest on record for Tennessee. Superlative harvests rank thus: 37,110 (2010); 35,885 (2006); 34,538 (2017); 34,027 (2011); and 33,700 (2012).
The best places to hunt? Last year the top five counties were, in order: Maury, Greene, Dickson, Montgomery, and Rutherford.
By now the flood waters have receded and it won’t be “too wet to plow”. Now is the time to plant something to benefit wildlife, be it year round habitat or food plots for hunting this fall. Food plots are good for attracting game such as deer, turkey, dove, waterfowl, and upland game like grouse and quail.
For wildlife in general the TWRA website www.tnwildlife.org has a large site called “Wildlife Enthusiasts” with two helpful sections, Backyard Basics and Habitat Management. Some of the topics are: Tennessee Tree Planting Guide, Landscaping for Native Plants, Wildlife Damage Control, and other related subjects.
For turkey and most of the bird species, both game and songbirds, check out the National Wild Turkey Federation. Its website www.nwtf.org has great information and an excellent selection of products for food plots. There are seeds for food crops, such as sorghum and millet, and seeds for warm season grasses and forbs for habitat and food.
For deer hunters check out the website for the Quality Deer Management Association, www.qdma.com. These guys take a scientific approach to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat in general, and our hunting heritage.
Rejoice all ye who love the outdoors. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been permanently funded by federal law. President Trump has signed the bipartisan bill S.47, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (formerly known as the Natural Resources Management Act). The LWCF is a significant tool for increasing recreational access to public lands and supporting fish and wildlife habitat. This public lands package also contains more than 100 local and regional public lands bills that aim to benefit sportsmen and women.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund works in partnership with federal, state and local efforts to protect land in our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national trails, and other public lands. The program’s goal is to preserve working forests and ranchlands; to support state and local parks and playgrounds, to preserve battlefields and other historic and cultural sites and to provide the tools that communities need to meet their diverse conservation and recreation needs.
Outers – outdoors men and women – have a choice on where they spend their hard-earned money, and they are choosing to support their political interests. This report comes from The Outdoor Wire today, March 13:
Continuing to pursue the tightened gun policies that initially drove its stock down, Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) has announced it will remove hunting gear from about 125 stores. The change, expected to begin August 1, will affect about 17 percent of the company’s stores.
The announcement, coupled with continuing declines in same-store sales since 2017, is being credited with a nearly 11 percent decline in stock price yesterday. Dick’s closed at $34.45 on the NYSE, down $4.28/share. Dick’s CEO and major shareholder Ed Stack has told the Wall Street Journal that if the 125-store move “goes well” the company may remove hunting gear from more stores next year.
Last month, Stack was one of four CEOs to sign a letter supporting a gun control bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also joined the business council of Everytown, the nonprofit organization founded by Michael Bloomberg that advocates for gun control.
The vernal equinox – first day of spring – occurs on Wednesday, March 20 this year, precisely at 21:58 UTC (Universal Time Coordinated, or Greenwich Mean Time), which is locally 5:58 p.m. EDT. The sun rises due east and sets due west on this date everywhere on earth; so take this opportunity to mark these cardinal compass points on your home horizon.
Our ancient ancestors may not have known that the sun was directly over the earth’s equator, or that there were equal amounts of daylight and dark (equinox); but they surely noted that when the sun was overhead at midday it was exactly midway between its lowest path across the sky in winter and its highest path across the sky in summer.
March 20 has more to offer. For the first time in nearly 40 years, March’s full moon – called the Worm Moon – will occur on the same day as the spring equinox. What’s more, this full moon will also be a super moon, meaning that it will be slightly larger and brighter than most of the other full moons this year.
Now is the time to prepare to plant wildflowers and milkweed to help monarch butterflies (and other pollinating insects), and at the same time good habitat for wildlife in general. The various milkweed plants are perennials which can grow all over the U.S. and they are essential to the survival of all monarch caterpillars. Besides that, milkweed adds a lot to a wildflower garden and it requires no maintenance.
What are milkweed seed bombs? They are easy to make and super easy to plant. Check out SaveOurMonarchs Foundation, a 501c3 charity. They offer free milkweed seeds to anyone requesting them, and larger quantities for a small donation. For seeds and more information go to www.SaveOurMonarchs.org; or contact Ward Johnson at 952-829-0600.
For an excellent source of high quality wildflower seeds, contact Roundstone Native Seed Co. at www.roundstoneseed.com or call 270-531-3034; also, see the Native American Seed Co. at www.seedsource.com or call 800-728-4043.
Ducks Unlimited is launching the fifth season of its acclaimed online film series, “DU Films,” in March. Watch a preview of this year’s six productions, as well as films from previous seasons, at www.ducks.org/dufilms.
DU Films brings viewers breathtaking waterfowl footage and intimate storytelling from hunters across the country who are passionate about their sport and passionate about giving back to the sport. DU will release one film per month, beginning in March. Because all the films are online, viewers can watch them anywhere, anytime.
Locations featured this season include the low country of South Carolina, coastal Washington State, the Indiana heartland, and the North Dakota section of the Missouri River.
The following is a timely editorial by Mia Anstine, contributing editor to The Archery Wire and The Outdoor Wire. It was condensed by me. See the entire article here.
Hunters need to stand together now more than ever to preserve our traditions and freedoms. I recently wrote an op-ed in opposition to H.R. 8, the supposed universal background check law. Later, the House GOP invited me to speak at a press conference on Capitol Hill where the bill then passed the House with a 240 -190 vote. We have to tell our Senators to vote NO on this and other feel-good bills.
I teach basic firearms, archery, and hunter education classes. I also help with youth competitive shooting teams. H.R. 8 is a threat to these activities. If a youngster competing in a Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) competition and she only has a bow, I won’t be allowed to lend a shotgun to her, her parents, or the coach, unless I’m present at the event, or I run a background check on them.
In Colorado, we already have a universal background check law, which has done nothing to reduce crime. Our Colorado law and H.R. 8, have many shades of gray. While a grandparent will be able to loan a hunting rifle to their grandchild, an uncle won’t be allowed to loan one to his niece. A stepfather won’t be allowed to loan to their stepchild. There are exemptions for hunting written into H.R. 8. As an outfitter, I may loan my gun to a client for “a reasonable length of time.” Some hunting seasons are months long — Is that a reasonable length of time?
I will have to run a background check on my neighbor whose animals are being threatened by predators, or a friend who has a stalker. Then he/she can “borrow” my gun, except then it becomes his/her gun. To return the firearm, they’ll have to run a background check on me. With H.R. 8 if we don’t follow these rules, we will both become felons.
We all have to stand against these types of laws, and if you’re an archer who thinks it won’t affect you, know that they are attempting to ban the National Archery in the Schools program in the state of New York. Your state could be next, or like these universal background check laws, it could go national.
The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting; it is designed to save us from tyranny. Universal background check laws will never be universal because criminals don’t obey the law. It will instead cause law-abiding citizens to become criminals.
I urge you to not solely rant on social media but to contact your Senators now. Tell them to VOTE NO on H.R. 8 and other bills (H.R. 1112 and S. 42) that threaten to dismantle our constitution. For a link to your U.S. senators and for more information, go here. Or you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Follow Mia at http://MiaAnstine.Com. Listen to her podcast “MAC Outdoors” on iTunes, Stitcher and more.
Do not miss the 49th annual Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville on March 15-17. Watch 52 of the best bass anglers in the world compete in this “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.” Following are some of the attractions.
Takeoffs: Morning takeoffs are at Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River at 7:30 a.m. Coffee and hot chocolate will be available onsite from local Classic partner Pilot Flying J.
Demo rides: At Volunteer Landing, try out the latest boats and engines from Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton, and Yamaha.
Shopping spree: The Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo at the Knoxville Convention Center has the newest and hottest in lures, tackle, gear, and boats and motors. Expo hours are noon-7 p.m. Friday, March 15; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 16; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Admission is free.
Dramatic weigh-ins: The doors of Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus will open Friday through Sunday at 3 p.m.
Get hooked: Bring the kids to check out the Bassmaster “Get Hooked On Fishing” in World’s Fair Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday to Sunday. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, a long-jump dog competition, and more.
Meet the Elites: Several 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series pros will be stopping by the B.A.S.S. booth in the Expo to meet fans and sign autographs.
Free spooling: Bring your reels (up to three) to the Pure Fishing booth, where you can get them filled with Berkley, SpiderWire or Stren line. Berkley plans to give away 1.5 million yards of line during the three days of the show.
Go LIVE: Watch Classic LIVE hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and Davy Hite as they provide analysis and live updates of fishing action from the LIVE set in the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. Classic LIVE is streamed on Bassmaster.com and on the ESPN app.
Student anglers: See the rising stars competing in the Bassmaster High School Classic on Saturday, March 16, and in the annual College Classic Sunday, March 17, with weigh-ins on stage in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Help conservation: Head over to the TVA booth and find out what you can do to help control the Asian Carp population. Also check out the fish tank containing the species of fish you can find in TVA fisheries.
Support the troops: Come out to the weigh-in on Friday and help us honor our country’s military service members. The first 300 to show their designated military ID at the B.A.S.S. booth will receive an official Bassmaster hat. Many other exhibitors will also be offering discounts and promotions for service members.
Be a B.A.S.S. winner: Enter the Fish with Chris and Trait Zaldain Sweepstakes at the B.A.S.S. booth and other points around the Expo.
Thank a first responder: Come to the weigh-in Saturday to show your support and salute our first responders and law enforcement officers. The first 300 to show their official ID/badge at the B.A.S.S. booth will receive an official Bassmaster hat.
Get the T-shirt: The official Bassmaster Classic T-shirt is the ultimate Classic souvenir. Get one and check out other logo products at the B.A.S.S. merchandise booth.
Watch the clock: Be present in the Nitro/Bass Pro Shops booth for their hourly giveaway items. You can also register for special promotions.
Toyota attractions: At the Toyota booth, kids can meet the Paw Patrol on Saturday and Sunday; racing fans can check out the NASCAR Racing Challenge; everyone can meet and thank Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer on Friday; and Toyota owners can receive a prize by showing the key to their Toyota vehicle.
Watch the winner: Witness history in the making as the 2019 Bassmaster Classic champion is crowned at the conclusion of Sunday’s weigh-in.
The National Deer Alliance (NDA) reminds anyone who consumes wild deer and elk meat that there remains no scientific evidence that chronic wasting disease is transmissible to humans, despite comments by some that have garnered national attention.
“Recent statements by Dr. Michael Osterholm from the University of Minnesota regarding the likelihood that human cases of CWD are probable and possibly substantial in number are speculative and sensational, and are not supported by current scientific evidence,” said Nick Pinizzotto, president and CEO of National Deer Alliance. “Mr. Osterholm’s predictions have created needless confusion in a situation that is already rife with contradictory opinions regarding CWD impacts on the conservation of wild deer and those who enjoy deer as a natural source of protein.”
NDA feels that it is important to focus on what is known about the disease, as opposed to speculating on what is not known. Actions taken in response to CWD must be based on the best available science. After more than 50 years of history with CWD, undoubtedly thousands, if not tens of thousands, of infected animals have been eaten, yet there remains no human case of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no strong evidence for the occurrence of CWD in people, but it still recommends that hunters not eat deer that test positive for the disease out of an abundance of caution. NDA agrees with the guidance from CDC but reiterates that the agency does not state transmission to humans is either likely or inevitable. NDA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to serve as the guardian for wild deer conservation and our hunting heritage. Learn more at www.nationaldeeralliance.com.
The 2019-2020 Tennessee Fishing Regulations brochure is ready and being delivered to all license agencies and TWRA offices; also, the complete guide can be viewed and downloaded online at www.tnwildlife.org. The new regulations went into effect on March 1.
Changes in the fishing regulations are listed on page four of the 2019-2020 Tennessee Fishing Guide, and they went into effect on March 1. Some of the new rules are geared toward limiting the spread of the invasive Asian carp.
In TWRA Region I and II, skipjack herring, gizzard shad, and threadfin shad will not be able to be transported live from the Mississippi River and Barkley, Kentucky, and Pickwick reservoirs and any tributaries or oxbows of these waters. The restrictions do not apply to the Duck River above Normandy Dam. These bait species are similar in appearance to small Asian carp.
In Region III seasons have changed on the Tellico River, Citico Creek, and Green Cove Pond to allow for optimal stocking and fishing conditions during the permit season. Big Lost Creek, Goforth Creek, Spring Creek, and Greasy Creek and their tributaries in Polk County have been changed to follow statewide regulations. This adds fishing opportunity to these creeks which are currently closed on Friday. There are some changes for taking paddlefish on Watts Bar Reservoir; and, parts of the Tennessee River below Fort Loudoun Dam are closed to snagging.
In Region IV creel and length restrictions on Calderwood Reservoir now match North Carolina’s regulations. See more details on page 16 of Tennessee’s regulations.
Remember that your smart phone can access the same information with the TWRA “On The Go” app, plus lots more, like: Buy your fishing license, get official fishing reports, renew boat registration, get stocking schedules, find boat ramps, and identify wildlife. The app is free at the Apple App Store and on Google Play, or go to www.tnwildlife.org to learn more.