Bison for sale. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) will sell by sealed bid one surplus bison bull calf and two bison cow calves. These bison will be sold as one lot, not individually. Bison are in good condition and can be view beforehand.
Contact Shawn Mackie, KDFWR Program Coordinator, weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT at 502-892-4512 or by email at email@example.com for viewing and other details. All questions must be submitted via email to Shawn Mackie no later than June 10, 2019. Please refer to the website for any updated information.
The successful bidder for the bison shall be responsible for transporting the purchased animals from KDFWR Headquarters, Salato Wildlife Education Center enclosure, on U.S. 60 West in Frankfort. Pick-up shall be arranged between the KDFWR and the highest bidder and will occur within 3 business days of bid award notification.
Sealed bids must be received by 3:30 p.m. EDT June 17, 2019. Bids must include printed name,
signature, address, daytime phone number, and bid amount. Bids shall be submitted to: KDFWR Bison Sale, Jason Monarch, 1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601.
Bids shall be opened at noon on June 18, 2019. The highest bidder will be notified of bid award by 3:30 p.m. that day. Full payment is due at time of pick-up by certified check, money order or cash only.
Bethel University is dominating the collegiate sport of bass fishing. For the second year in a row the relatively small West Tennessee college has won the National Championship of the Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. On top of that, for the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history, the same two anglers repeated as the winning team: Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil.
Both champions were appreciative of the opportunities collegiate fishing affords. “High school fishing leads into college, and it’s just an awesome opportunity all the way around,” Floyd said. McNeil added, “What could be better than to go to school and fish on scholarship? It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The 2019 Championship was held on the Tennessee River’s Pickwick and Wilson lakes in Alabama. The two-day contest fielded 200 teams of 400 anglers from all over the United States. Floyd and McNeil brought in a superior five-fish limit on day one that weighed 22.85 pounds; then, on day two they repeated with a nearly identical catch of 22.80 pounds.
This is the third national championship for Bethel University. Both Floyd and McNeil are juniors, so a third attempt at the top mark for the two business management majors is not out of the question. To see the full field of finishers and learn more about the series, visit www.collegiatebasschampionship.com.
Tennessee’s Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 8, and Free Fishing Week is June 8-14, all sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. All residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a license that Saturday on any public waters; and youths through age 15 can fish for free the following week. The TWRA annually stocks several thousand pounds of fish for these events.
There are many special events planned statewide for that Saturday, the following Saturday and on into the summer. A frequently updated list can be found at www.tnwildlife.org; select For Anglers then 2019 Kids Fishing Events. Check it for specific times, details and directions, or go directly to www.tn.gov/twra/article/kids-fishing-events.
In other business at its May meeting in Nashville, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard the following reports on the 2018-2019 big game seasons: Of the 15 elk permits issued, all seven archery tags were filled, the youth rifle tag was filled and four of the seven gun hunters scored. The bear season had a record harvest of 762 animals. Four of the five bear hunt zones had their best years.
The state’s total deer harvest was close to 147,682, a slight increase over 2017-18. The recently-completed spring turkey season harvest was back above the 30,000 mark (31,212), 11 percent above 2018.
An overview of the state’s biodiversity program was presented. Tennessee is the nation’s most wildlife-diverse inland state. Much of the diversity is attributed to the habitats ranging from bottomlands and wetlands in the west to the mountains in the east. Tennessee also has more than 60,000 miles of streams.
A preview to the Fish Dealer Rule will be revisited. This directive would regulate fish farmers, bait dealers, and catch-out operations. The changes would address invasive species issues and specify the approved fish species by scientific name rather than generic phrases like “native fish” or “trout.”
On May 28-31 Cookeville, Tenn. will be hosting the inaugural Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship, sponsored by USA Bass and the Pan-American Sportfishing Federation. It is the first competition of its kind in the world, but it won’t be the last.
The four-day event will welcome more than 100 of the most elite kayak bass anglers from around the world to Center Hill Lake and surrounding waters. The exclusive competition is invitation-only and is expected to include participants from Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Canada, and more. More than forty Pan-American countries are invited.
“Cookeville and Center Hill Lake quickly became the clear choice to host this historic event,” said Tony Forte, U.S. Angling founder and USA Bass president. “Kayak fishing is exploding worldwide and the Pan-American Sportfishing Federation felt it was time to make it an official sport. This event is not just a launching point for Pan-American countries, but also in line to become a world championship sport and to push toward Olympic recognition.”
Another important host of the event is the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau. For more information go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At its May meeting in Nashville, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s recommendation to establish a new chronic wasting disease (CWD) deer hunting unit for the counties in which CWD-positive deer have been found (Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison), and counties within 10 miles of a positive CWD deer location (Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby and Tipton).
Also in Unit CWD for the three-day “velvet” deer hunt on August 23-25, guns, muzzleloaders and archery are allowed; and selected public lands will be open to hunting for that August season. The goal of these modified regulations in Unit CWD is to keep CWD from spreading and to keep the number of infected deer to a minimum.
Other major CWD regulations from the TFWC include:
• Earn-A-Buck Program - Hunters are entitled to additional antlered deer through a new “Earn-a-Buck Program” in Unit CWD. A buck may be earned by harvesting two antlerless deer in Unit CWD and submitting both for CWD testing. This may be done twice for a total of two earned bucks to be harvested in Unit CWD during the 2019-2020 season.
• Replacement Bucks - Unit CWD hunters are entitled to replacement bucks if they harvest a CWD-positive buck and the lab result is confirmed by TWRA.
• Extended Seasons - Unit CWD muzzleloader and gun season dates have been extended from the traditional statewide season dates. Archery-only dates will be Sept. 28 – Oct. 25. Muzzleloader/archery will be Oct. 28 – Nov. 8 and gun/muzzleloader/archery will be Nov. 9 – Jan. 5, 2020.
• During the January private-lands-only hunt on Jan. 6-10, antlered harvest, in addition to antlerless, was authorized.
• Mandatory Check Weekends in Unit CWD will be Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 9-10.
Few Tennesseans have ever experienced the secluded Buffalo River, but it is the longest un-impounded river in Middle Tennessee. Its waters are clear and clean and its shores are pristine: No towns, no industries and practically no homes or structures on most of its 125-mile length. Hence the Buffalo is popular with many kayakers and canoeists.
That said, anglers will be amazed at the smallmouth bass fishing in the small, shallow and overlooked Buffalo River. Trophy “bronzebacks” are not hard to find from the entire length of Perry County to the headwaters. The daily creel limit is five black bass with no minimum length.
Located mostly in Perry County midway between Nashville and Memphis, the Buffalo flows north to become the largest tributary of the Duck River, just before it empties into the Tennessee River. Small flat-bottomed boats with jet-drive motors are ideal for negotiating the sometimes-shallow waterway; and of course kayaks and canoes will excel in maneuverability.
The best access to the Buffalo is off Hwy 412 near Linden, the Perry County seat. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has a public ramp there and it is open year round. For those spending more than one day on the Buffalo, the historic Commodore Hotel in Linden has excellent accommodations and welcomes sportsmen, both anglers and hunters (phone 931-589-3224 or email email@example.com).
Pictured above is Wess Ward, the mayor of Linden, with a typical smallie taken after work just a couple of miles from his office.
Have some fun with this great idea from the state’s largest conservation organization. “We want your litter photos!” Litter is not at all a new problem. But, as study after study shows, the problem is far worse than we knew—for us and for wildlife.
With the start of summer, Tennessee Wildlife Federation wants your photographs of litter in our great outdoors to raise awareness about Tennessee’s big litter problem. Whether it’s in the woods, on the lake, along a river, or by the road, send us your snapshots of the cans, bottles and outright trash that harm wildlife and takes away from the beauty of nature. Submit your best of our worst at https://tnwf.org/litter/.
There is more opportunity to hunt crows beginning this year. There will be a split season, opening June 1 – Aug. 18 on Fridays-Saturdays-Sundays only; then hunting will be daily from Oct. 5 – Jan. 1, 2020. The idea is to give crow hunters more cool weather shooting. Crows are regulated through the Migratory Bird Treaty because some of them in our southwestern states cross our border with Mexico.
Spring squirrel season continues and closes on June 9. After that, squirrels will breed a second time and wean their broods before the regular season opens on the fourth Saturday of August, the 24th this year.
Mating season has ended for wild turkeys and hens are preparing their nests by mid-May. In most areas nests are located in a shallow dirt depression surrounded by moderately woody vegetation for concealment. Hens look for locations close to food and water and with ample cover to safely conceal themselves and their poults once hatched. Hens have to avoid many predators such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons, snakes, opossums, and skunks; but they must leave the nest unattended for brief periods to feed and drink.
Hens will lay a clutch of a dozen eggs or more during a two-week period, usually laying one egg per day. She will incubate her eggs for up to 28 days, occasionally turning and rearranging them, until they are ready to hatch.
A newly-hatched youngster must be ready to leave the nest to feed within 12 to 24 hours. For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. They will eat insects, berries and seeds; the adults will eat the same plus acorns and small reptiles. Turkeys usually feed in early morning and in the afternoon. The mother turkey will roost on the ground with her brood until they can fly, and they flock together all year, even through the winter.
A report on the 2018-19 Tennessee’s big game hunting seasons will be among the agenda items for the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its May 23-24 meeting. It will be held in Nashville at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Region II Building. Thursday’s committee meetings will begin at 1 p.m. The regular commission meeting starts at 9 a.m., Friday. The public is invited to attend.
A summary of the 2019-20 big game hunting seasons will be given. Revised agency recommendations for hunting regulations for CWD positive and high risk counties will be presented to the commission. The spring turkey season concluded May 12 and up-to-date harvest numbers will be announced.
An overview of the state’s biodiversity program will be presented. The discussion will include the aquatic, avian and terrestrial wildlife that makes Tennessee the nation’s most diverse inland state. The state’s diverse ecological regions and habitats will also be described.
A preview to the Fish Dealer Rule which regulates fish farmers, bait dealers, and catch-out operations will be revisited. The changes would address invasive species issues and specify fish species by scientific name. An assessment of the Tennessee 111th General Assembly will be provided on legislative matters relevant to the agency and commission.
Wildlife Alert: At certain times of the year drivers need to be extra vigilant for wild animal movements. In February it is skunks; early autumn is white-tailed deer. In May and June it is turtles. This is their season for breeding and nesting. In Tennessee box turtles and snapping turtles are most common.
The eastern box turtle is the most likely transient encountered crossing roads. This species is EPA-listed as threatened, due mostly to loss of habitat but also due to capture by people for pets – a practice both unwise and illegal. Box turtles can carry diseases (salmonella for one) and parasites for people; and, when wild turtles are kept in captivity for a while, then released, they can carry other diseases back to the wild population.
For a turtle on the road, feel free to intervene. Check for traffic, then help it on its way; do not return to the side from whence it came. Do not move it far from that area. Turtles have specific territories and moving them too far away can cause more harm than good. Some species, such as snapping turtles, lay their eggs on land, so moving a pregnant female to water can impact her ability to lay eggs.
Handling turtles should be done with caution, especially snapping turtles, which can inflict a serious bite. The animal should only be picked up gently using two hands, with your thumbs on the top of the turtle’s shell and other fingers supporting the underside of the shell. Handle the turtle only as long as needed to get it to safety. Wash your hands afterwards. By the way, the eyes of the male box turtle are red, and the female’s eyes are brown or yellow.
The 2019 spring turkey harvest has rebounded from last year’s sub-30,000 performance, a mark that was surpassed for the previous 15 years. The season opened with cool weather, which appeared to suppress the early activity of gobblers. The 2019 total (including the youth hunt) is 31,212, comprised of 30,966 males (3,655 were jakes), 246 female, and 255 unknown.
As usual, Middle Tennessee was the most productive region for turkey (and deer for that matter). The county with the highest harvest this year was again Maury (1,034), followed by Dickson (837), Greene (810), Giles (672), and Montgomery (637).
This year’s spring turkey kill was 2,926 more than 2018’s total of 28,286. Superlative harvests rank thus: 37,110 (2010); 35,885 (2006); 34,538 (2017); 34,027 (2011); and 33,700 (2012).
In 2017 the U.S. Coast Guard counted 658 deaths in the U.S. from boating incidents, with 75 percent of those deaths caused by drowning. Of those deaths, 85 percent are reported as not wearing their life jackets. For more details see the National Safe Boating Council at www.safeboatingcouncil.org.
Memorial Day weekend is May 25-27. Be sure that all of your boat operators have a boating safety certificate. The certificate is required for any operator born after 1988 and is at least 12 years old. This includes personal watercraft. The certificate is issued by the TWRA and here is the procedure to follow.
First, go online or go to a license agency and buy a Type 600 permit for $10; this is your ticket to the exam. Be sure it is purchased in the student’s name.
Second, take a study course (usually no charge) from the TWRA Boat Tennessee Home Study Course, the U.S. Power Squadron, or the U.S. Coast Guard. Many classes are held locally that combine a study course with testing. Boating regulations for Tennessee can be found at www.tn.gov/twra/topic/boating-safety.
Third, take the TWRA’s monitored exam at the appointed time. The statewide list of scheduled classes can be found here, or by calling 800-837-6012. Registration is often required. The exam can be challenged without taking the study course but it is not easy.
Cut the cost of using your boat this season. The high cost of gasoline doesn’t have to limit your lake outings. Get more out of each gallon of precious fuel. Each one of the following tips can save a significant amount in fuel consumption, and that can really add up.
1. Tune the engine. This is a big one. Fouled spark plugs, dirty air filter, poor timing, a maladjusted carburetor or fuel injector, and weak compression – all of these waste gasoline. A tune-up can pay for itself quickly and performance is enhanced.
2. Tune the prop. Another biggie. Has it ever been done? A propeller with poor pitch or dings can waste as much as 10 percent of the engine’s power. And that translates to four miles-per-hour off of a 40-mph rig.
3. Clean the boat’s bottom. A not-smooth surface means drag, and drag is friction. Slime and mineral deposits have got to go.
4. Leave the extra “junk” at home. Unnecessary or never-used stuff in the boat’s lockers and storage areas can be a lot of unnecessary weight to be pushed through the water.
5. Trim your load. This one is easy. Help the boat plane off easily by balancing the load or by using trim tabs.
To prevent problems with your boat that could ruin your outings and cost you dearly, Boat Owners Association of the U.S. (BoatUS) is offering an excellent guide to help you prepare your watercraft for another excellent season on the water.
The BoatUS spring commissioning checklist is at www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy/spring_checklist. It is nicely illustrated and organized into logical categories. First there is the “Out of Water” inspection of cables, wiring, hoses, zinc fitting, valves (seacocks), and the condition of the hull. Other category headings include: Engine and Fuel Systems, Outdrives and Outboards, In the Water, Battery and Electronics, and Trailers.
BoatUS is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters, providing more than a half-million members with many services, information, safety training, and government representation. Take a look at www.BoatUS.com.
In 2019 Tennessee Lakes will host two of the fastest-growing youth and collegiate fishing circuits in the country. On Aug. 1-3 the Bassmaster College Series National Championship will be held on Chickamauga Lake at Dayton. The event is sponsored by Carhartt and presented by Bass Pro Shops.
In addition, on Aug. 8-10 the Bassmaster High School Championship will return to Kentucky Lake at Paris, for the fifth time. Also, on Aug. 6-7 the Bassmaster Junior Championship for grades 2-8 will be held again on Carroll County 1000-Acre Recreational Lake at Huntingdon. The event is sponsored by Mossy Oak Fishing and presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
The College National Championship will field as many as 130 teams of anglers representing colleges and universities across the nation. The event will crown the 2019 Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year. On Aug. 27-29, the top four teams from the championship go on to the College Classic Bracket tournament on Watts Bar Lake at Spring City. In that competition, the four teams are split and the eight anglers compete individually for a coveted invitation to the Classic.
In the high school championship, 300 teams are expected to compete on Kentucky Lake on Aug. 8-10 for the high school championship crown. Each two-angler team is accompanied by a coach who runs the boat and can give advice on fishing techniques and patterns. These are the best of 13,000 high school B.A.S.S. members representing more than 1,300 high school fishing clubs nationwide. For more on all of the tournaments go to www.bassmaster.com/.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has identified two websites that sell fake fishing licenses. Do not fall for their scam. You will lose your money and will not have a valid Tennessee license. The sites are https://fishinglicense-usa.com and https://fishinglicense.org/index.html .
The correct places to go online for Tennessee fishing and hunting licenses are www.tnwildlife.org and http://gooutdoorstennessee.com; or visit practically any sporting goods store (license agency).
Attention, primary and secondary school teachers (and students): Here is an excellent lesson plan on conservation and the environment for grades K-12. The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is releasing the fourth edition of the Project WILD K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide, an expanded and updated curriculum on environmental topics.
The guide contains six new activities with a focus on the ecology and conservation of bees, bats, reptiles, and monarch butterflies, as well as stewardship activities relating to changing plant and animal life cycle events, and the reduction of light pollution, and includes information on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Every activity includes an outdoor component.
For more information about Project WILD curriculum resources or to learn about attending Project WILD professional development training, visit www.projectwild.org or www.fishwildlife.org.
Does your boat need a fire extinguisher? No? Yes? More than one? Legally, in Tennessee a boat under 26 feet must have a fire extinguisher if it has any of these features: Inboard engine, built-in fuel tank, enclosed storage area for portable fuel tanks, enclosed living space, or a double bottom not sealed to the hull. The extinguisher must be in serviceable condition and stored in an accessible place, not necessarily on a wall bracket but not buried at the bottom of a storage locker.
There are many misconceptions on this subject. Modern fire extinguishers do not have to be shaken periodically to stir the chemicals inside. They do not have to be replaced every few years; they do not expire, unless the gauge registers below the green zone. And not just any extinguisher is suitable for your boat; it must be marine rated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Logically speaking, ANY vessel that has gasoline on board should have a fire extinguisher in an accessible place. For more on marine safety equipment, go to tnwildlife.org/article/boating-equipment or BoatUS.org/equipment.
In addition to the state’s online lottery drawing for elk licenses, the TWRA grants one license to be raffled off by a non-governmental organization. This year it is again the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF) and all proceeds go to the Tennessee elk program. This year’s raffle has begun and ticket sales will end on Aug. 2. The drawing will be Aug. 5.
A single ticket is $20, three tickets for $50, and 10 for $100; no limit. The grand prize winner will get to purchase a license for the 2019 rifle elk hunt, plus win a hunting rifle and other prizes. A complete list of the prizes can be found at www.twrf.net. Although there is only one elk tag up for grabs, participants will have five chances to win valuable prizes. Last year’s raffle netted $224,840 for the Tennessee elk program. To purchase tickets for the raffle go to www.twrf.net/store/2019-elk-tag-raffle.
TWRF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting habitat conservation, responsible land stewardship, and Tennessee's hunting and fishing heritage for the benefit of TWRA and Tennessee's outdoor enthusiasts.
Like the moon phases, spring squirrel season is waxing and turkey season is waning. But take care! Turkey hunters and squirrel hunters will be in the woods at the same time. Spring turkey season goes through Sunday, May 12 and spring squirrel begins Saturday, May 11; squirrel continues through June 9. Neither discipline requires blaze orange so all those active in the woods for those two days need to be careful (An orange hat or vest for squirrel hunters would be wise).
Squirrels are plentiful again this year. These three species are legal: Gray, red and fox squirrel. The daily bag limit is 10 combined. Squirrels breed early in the spring and their first brood is now weaned and on their own; their second brood will be weaned before the regular squirrel season begins on the fourth Saturday of August, the 24th this year.
Actually there are five species of tree squirrels found in Tennessee. Two species, the southern flying squirrel and the northern flying squirrel, are not hunted. They are small, nocturnal and rarely seen.
Time running out: The Tennessee Outdoors Youth Summit (TOYS) is set for July 14-19 (Sunday – Friday) for students in high schools across Tennessee, conducted by the TWRA. Students will spend a week in hands-on classes that will teach all kinds of outdoor skills and the importance of the natural resources and their management.
The deadline to apply is Friday, May 17. Activities will take place at the Clyde York 4-H Center in Crossville and lodging will be in modern cabins onsite. The fee for the weeklong experience is $350, lodging, meals and beverages included. Scholarships are available based on financial need. Applications can be downloaded at www.twrf.net/toys/ or go to www.tnwildlife.org and select Upcoming Events. For more information contact Lacey Lane at telephone 615-831-9311 ext.114, or email LLane@twrf.net.
For those planning to put in a food plot for wildlife, take a look at www.growingdeer.tv for some good videos on how – and what and when – to do it. The same website has dozens of helpful videos on many aspects of hunting (all kinds of species), fishing and trapping.