The application period for the TWRA’s computerized drawings for duck pools and blind sites is Sept. 6-27. The blinds are located in the following areas: Bogota and Thorny Cypress WMAs in Dyer County, Gooch Unit E, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, White Oak (Lebanon Pond area in Hardin County), and the four units on the Chickamauga WMA (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek.
Paper applications are available online or at license agencies and TWRA regional offices, but they must be delivered to a license agency and cannot be mailed in. The form resembles those for WMA quota deer hunts, except for group filings; however, each successful hunter may bring up to four guests to the duck blind each day. For those unsuccessful the Priority Drawing System is available for better luck next time.
Five hunters are allowed per pool/blind. Also, parties of up to five are allowed to apply together, instead of only individually. This means that five hunters, who apply as a party, will have five chances of being drawn. For more information go to www.tnwildlife.org and select For Hunters, Migratory Birds and Waterfowl; or telephone TWRA’s Region III office at 800-262-6704.
Proposed changes in the 2018-2019 Tennessee sport fishing regulations were presented to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission on Aug. 30 by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The only changes in the TWRA package will be in Region IV, summarized below. Complete details can be found in the news section at www.tnwildlife.org.
Proposed: Upper Cherokee Reservoir would close to snagging from March 1 – May 31, except during the snagging season April 1-15. The purpose of the closures would be to protect paddlefish before and after the snagging season.
Proposed: The area on the Elk River of Watauga Reservoir that has a hook restriction during January through April would be reduced. This change would allow anglers to use all types fishing gear in this section of the river year round.
Proposed: A delayed-harvest trout fishing area would be created on on Doe River in Carter County, including the entire stretch within Roan Mountain State Park; the dates would be from Nov. 1 through the end of February.
Proposed: A delayed-harvest trout fishing areas would be created on Buffalo Creek in Grainger County, extend from the mill dam downstream to the Buffalo Springs WMA boundary; the dates would be from Oct. 1 through Jan. 31.
The public comment period has begun and your opinions should be received by Sept. 15. Email to email@example.com with “2017 Fish Comments” in the subject line; postal mail can be sent to TWRA, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. The TFWC will announce the changes at its meeting in Gatlinburg on Sept. 26-27. If approved, the sport fishing changes would become effective March 1, 2018.
Incredible. Not only Tennessee gun owners, but citizens in every state should be aware of what Maryland has done. Maryland has banned semi-automatic modern sporting rifles on grounds they are "like" firearms in use by the military. Not only that, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an approval of Maryland’s latest denial of the Second Amendment.
In response, 21 state attorneys general have filed a joint amici curiae, or "friends of the court", brief supporting the petitioning of the U.S. Supreme Court by plaintiffs, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, to take up Kolbe v. Hogan, the case in which the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decided Maryland could ban such semi-automatic military style firearms.
Led by West Virginia's Patrick Morrisey, the attorneys general ask the court to consider whether the lower court inappropriately limited the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by banning certain firearms typically owned by citizens by finding that those firearms would be most useful for military service. Joining West Virginia's effort are the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
"We thank Attorney General Morrissey and the 20 other attorneys general who stand in respect of the rights of their citizens to keep and bear arms," said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for NSSF. "This is demonstrative of a widespread belief that Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overreached in their creation of a unique standard and twisted the guidance and wisdom of the (U.S. Supreme Court) Heller decision. We are encouraged and grateful that with this petition will be an opportunity to establish that our rights don't end at a state's border."
The attorneys general argue in their brief that the Supreme Court's Heller decision established "in common use at the time for lawful purposes" and those "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes," as an individual right, and that Maryland's modern sporting rifle ban "amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of arms." The petition adds the Fourth Circuit adopted a "novel standard" in interpreting Heller and would replace the "common use" standard with a subjective judicial review of military use for firearms.
The attorneys general argue that review of the case provides an opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify the scope of the Heller decision. Lower courts have issued disparate rulings and that has led to confusion concerning how Second Amendment rights are interpreted for citizens in different states.
Typo alert. There is a misprint in the print version of the 2017-18 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. On page 28 there is a chart that indicates hunters will be allowed to use dogs during the Nov. 18-21 gun/muzzleloader/archery hunt in Bear Hunt Zones 1, 2, and 3. Not true. Dogs are not allowed on this hunt, and have not been allowed in the past. The online version of the Hunting and Trapping Guide is correct.
Finally, the leftover quota hunts for wildlife management areas have been announced, after a one-week delay. The winners and losers will be notified by mail; the winners get their permits and the losers get a priority point for next year. There were 12 hunts with some vacancies. The complete results can be found on the TWRA FaceBook page www.facebook.com/TennesseeWildlifeResourcesAgency, or at www.tnwildlife.org on the news page under the Twitter section.
A quick look shows the following WMAs with open hunts: Catoosa (muzzleloader deer), Cheatham (shotgun turkey), Laurel Hill (muzzleloader and gun deer), Oak Ridge (archery deer and turkey), Prentice Cooper (archery deer), and Williamsport (gun deer). The leftovers are served up beginning at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug. 30 on a first-come basis.
Purchases can be done in person at all license agencies, and online at the above TWRA website (no phone calls). The fee for regular license holders is $12. Hunters who have the Lifetime Sportsman (types 401 thru 406), Annual Sportsman (004) or the Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman License (type 167) are exempt from the fee.
It is that time of the year again. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is receiving reports of dead deer in scattered areas of the state. The timing and details of the reports are all indicative of hemorrhagic disease (HD). HD occurs at varying levels of severity each year in white-tailed deer herds. The catch-all term for this disease is hemorrhagic disease (HD); epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue are closely related viruses that fall under the umbrella of HD.
So far this year, reports indicate that HD appears to be moderately severe in East Tennessee, and other states in the Appalachian region are also experiencing the same outbreaks. TWRA offices indicate mortality of deer in at least 20 counties with more expected as the late summer heat progresses. The last major outbreak of HD in Tennessee was in 2007 and involved virtually all of the state. Recently Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has observed about 240 dead or dying deer in 34 of mostly eastern counties. Kentucky also had a severe outbreak in 2007.
HD is caused by a virus that is transmitted to deer from biting midges (gnats) or “no-seeums.” It is not transmitted from deer to deer by contact. The virus causes fever, respiratory distress, and swelling of the neck or tongue. Not all deer exposed to the virus will die, but those that do usually do so within five to ten days of exposure, often seeking water as they try to cool their bodies from the fever; they may appear lethargic and fearless of people. Incidences of HD usually peaks around mid-September and are usually done by mid-October with the onset of cold weather.
Often when HD becomes epidemic – the word is epizootic in animals – it is called EHD. It has been in the United States for more than 60 years; it does not affect people or pets. It should be noted that HD and EHD have nothing to do with chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is caused by a neurological prion and is incurable.
Sept. 1 is the traditional opening day for mourning dove, a Friday this year. The shooting begins at noon and the first segment ends on Sept. 28. The daily bag limit is 15. In addition the exotic collared dove is eligible and it has no limit. Dove season continues Oct. 14 – Nov. 5 and Dec. 8 – Jan. 15. [Photo by Mary Ann Venable]
A list of dove-leased public hunting areas and available wildlife management areas is ready for all four TWRA regions. For more information and locations of fields visit http://tn.gov/twra/article/dove. Remember that in addition to the basic Hunting and Fishing Combination license, the Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit (two dollars) is also required. And remember to install your shotgun’s magazine plug.
The resident Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 – 15 with a daily bag limit of five. Also, Sept. 1 is the opener for moorhens/gallinules and rails (Virginia and sora). The Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit is required to hunt all of these species (as well as later for woodcock and Wilson snipe).
The battle to protect your boat's engine is not over. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking for public comments on the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation's fuel supply for 2018, and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging recreational boaters to speak up and be heard by providing comments at http://cqrcengage.com/boatus/app/act-on-a-regulation?2&engagementId=389053. The deadline is midnight August 31.
The fact is that E10 fuel (10 percent ethanol blend) is tolerable in marine engines, but E15 will damage them. And federal law prohibits E15 use in marine engines. Most recreational boaters refuel their boats at roadside gas stations. E15 and higher ethanol blend fuel can now be found in at least 23 states, often at the very same pumps as E10 gasoline. A single sticker on the dispenser pump mixed in with all the other labels may be the only warning of E15 gasoline. This creates a dangerous potential for mis-fueling and puts boaters at risk of using fuel that will damage their engines.
Signed into law in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into the gasoline supply. When it was written, RFS assumed that America's use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecasted, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.
Go to BoatUS.com/gov/rfs for more information on the Renewable Fuel Standard. BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition.
After the squirrel’s season opener and free hunting day on Aug. 26, it is time for hunting to take center stage. The September parade of hunting seasons is lined up and just a block away. It begins on Friday, Sept. 1. Don’t miss a single float: Dove’s first segment is Sept. 1-28; resident Canada goose is Sept. 1-15; wood duck and teal is Sept. 9-13; teal only is Sept. 14-17; statewide raccoon/opossum begins at sunset on Sept. 15; and, last but not least, archery deer begins on Sept. 23, as does archery bear. More details as each season arrives.
See some exciting Tennessee duck hunting on this month’s Ducks Unlimited online videos. DU has a unique film series presented in the spring and summer, six films in six months. Each production features exciting hunting footage with a genuine story about waterfowl hunters who are passionate about hunting and giving back to the resource.
This month’s film features calling legend Buck Gardner and some DU college volunteers in some West Tennessee flooded timber. Retriever trainer Mike Stewart explains how to be prepared for canine emergencies in the field. And Ducks Unlimited magazine Shotgunning Columnist Phil Bourjaily gives tips for hitting crossing shots.
Watch the film at www.ducks.org/dutv as well as the previous timeless films, and check in each month for the next offering. The current film is also shown on The Pursuit Channel. Ducks Unlimited, www.ducks.org, is the world leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet in Nashville on Aug. 29-30 at the TWRA Region II Ray Bell Building. Committee meetings begin at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and the regular meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The public is invited to attend. On the agenda:
A preview of the commercial fishing and sport fish proclamations (changes) will be presented; after a public comment period, the regulations for both will be set at the September TFWC meeting to be held in Gatlinburg. Winners of the 14 drawn elk permits and one auctioned elk permit will be announced for the hunt on North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area or private lands within the Elk Restoration Zone. David Roddy, TWRA’s Hatchery and Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator will present an overview of the new Florida largemouth bass spawning facility in Humboldt. The TWRA will also present its fiscal year 2018-19 budget recommendations to the commission.
September is Treestand Safety Month. Treestands are by far the most dangerous part of deer hunting, of all kinds of hunting. Sadly, 75 percent of the people who had treestand accidents in recent years were not wearing a harness or any form of fall restraint. That is an appalling statistic, given that every manufactured treestand since 2004 has been sold with a full body harness; and there are more than a million sold every year.
Before you hunt check your stand’s belts, chains, bolts, and attachment cords for damage and wear. Set up the stand once at home before opening day. Hunt with someone nearby and have a cell phone and/or radio for communication. Select a proper tree for your stand. Use a full-body safety harness properly at all times, especially when climbing up or down (most falls occur during these times). Never carry anything as you climb – use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
Here is a good treestand safety course online: www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/. Also, check out these excellent YouTube videos on how to correctly use treestand equipment, created by Hunter Safety Systems: "How to safely use a lifeline" and "How to use the climbing belt". See them at www.youtube.com/HunterSafetySystemTV.
If you enjoy social media, then you should check out the new Tagboards from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Here you can share your outdoor experiences by using #tnwildlife, #tntrophyroom or #tnboating on your favorite social media site. Whether you prefer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine, or Flickr, by using one of these hashtags, you can share memories with the TWRA, your friends and family. Make sure your posts are public; private posts will not make it to the board. Go to twra.state.tn.us/tntagboard/tntb/index.html and visit one or all three tagboards.
The fourth Saturday of August is the traditional opening of hunting season, with squirrel beginning on Aug. 26 and ending next year on Feb. 28 – the longest season on the calendar. There are three hunted species of squirrels: Gray (most plentiful), fox (largest) and red (smallest, called “boomers”). The daily bag limit for all species combined is 10.
Aug. 26 is also Free Hunting Day in Tennessee. All hunters who are Tennessee residents are exempt from hunting licenses and wildlife management area permits that day. This is an excellent opportunity to initiate a new hunter, treat an ex-hunter to an outing, or treat yourselves to a relaxing day afield. In addition to squirrels, those species that have a year-round season will be open as well; the year-round species include armadillo, beaver, coyote, groundhog, and striped skunk. More details are at www.tnwildlife.org. Hunter education requirements still apply.
Waterfowlers, great news. It appears that the 2017 Fall Migration is going to be another excellent one. On Aug. 15 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its report on 2017 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June in the northcentral U.S. Pothole Region (USFWS) and the Canadian central provinces (Canadian Wildlife Service).
Overall duck numbers in the survey area remain high. Total populations were estimated at 47.3 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is similar to last year’s estimate of 48.4 million and is 34 percent above the 1955-2016 long-term average (LTA). The projected mallard fall flight index is 12.9 million birds, similar to the 2016 estimate of 13.5 million.
The main determining factor for duck breeding success is wetland and upland habitat conditions in the key breeding landscapes. Conditions observed across the U.S. and Canadian survey areas during the 2017 breeding population survey were generally similar to last year with a few exceptions. The total pond estimate for the United States and Canada combined was 6.1 million, which is 22 percent above the 2016 estimate of 5.0 million and 17 percent above the LTA of 5.2 million.
Although mallard numbers in the survey declined by 11 percent, overall, the mainstay mallard populations remain in great shape, and the USFWS estimates the mallard fall flight will be similar to last year. However, the survey indicates a concern for pintails and scaup, as both species remain below their LTA. Following are the 2017 statistics for all species:
Mallards: 10.5 million, 11 percent lower than 2016 and 34 percent above LTA.
Gadwall: 4.2 million, 13 percent above 2016 and 111 percent above LTA.
American wigeon: 2.8 million, 19 percent below 2016 and 6 percent above LTA.
Green-winged teal: 3.6 million, 16 percent below 2016 and 70 percent above LTA.
Blue-winged teal: 7.9 million, 18 percent above 2016 and 57 percent above LTA.
Northern shovelers: 4.4 million, 10 percent above 2016 and 69 percent above LTA.
Northern pintails: 2.9 million, 10 percent above 2016 and 27 percent below LTA.
Redheads: 1.1 million, 13 percent below 2016 and 55 percent above LTA.
Canvasbacks: 0.7 million, similar to 2016 and 25 percent above LTA.
Scaup: 4.4 million, 12 percent below 2016 and 13 percent below LTA.
Black ducks (Eastern Survey Area): 0.5 million, similar to 2016 and 12 percent below LTA.
If your bucket list includes fly fishing in some fantastic places, here is a book that will help bring those dreams to fruition. Stonefly Press has published "The 25 Best National Parks to Fly Fish" in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The book is a how-to manual on the best fly fishing in every park from Maine to Alaska.
The book was researched, written, and edited by Terry and Wendy Gunn and Bennett Mintz. Individual park chapters were researched and written by local guides, fly shop owners and outfitters that have intimate knowledge of the waters inside and outside their park. Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, wrote the forward.
Each park has its own chapter; and each park chapter contains driving directions, entry and access information, fish species, recommended tackle, fly patterns, and mile markers for river and lake entry, along with detailed maps and photos. Accompanying each chapter is a "sidebar" of travel information including highways, airports nearest the park, fly shops, campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, lodges, outfitters, must-see attractions, and nearby emergency medical services. Yellowstone National Park has so much area to fly fish extending beyond the park boundaries that it has four chapters.
"The 25 Best National Parks to Fly Fish" costs $34.95. For more information or to purchase the book, go to www.stoneflypress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hunt in North Carolina? Our next door neighbor is dramatically modernizing its game laws. Governor Roy Cooper recently signed the bipartisan legislation called Outdoor Heritage Enhanced, which improves upon the Outdoor Heritage Act passed in 2015 and creates additional opportunities for North Carolina sportsmen and women.
In addition to the general expansion of Sunday hunting on private lands, the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission will begin the process which could open more than two million acres of public land for Sunday hunting. The bill enables migratory bird hunting on Sundays as well. It removes prohibitions on hunting within 500 yards of a residence, removes the blanket prohibition of hunting within counties having a population greater than 700,000 people, and it requires any county wishing to “opt-out” of Sunday hunting to do so by a county-wide voter referendum.
Consider this special, personal way to view the upcoming solar eclipse: Au naturel. The 2017 transcontinental solar eclipse will treat Tennessee to several minutes of astronomical excitement on Monday afternoon, Aug. 21. There will be countless scientific studies of the event nationwide, from NASA to local high school science departments; but only you can record your own personal observations of nature during the event.
Listen to the sounds of the eclipse. The animal world, especially birds and insects, will react dramatically as the rays of the afternoon sun fade into “sunset”. Minutes later they will react again to the “sunrise”, or the increase in the sun’s rays. Birds – especially watch small songbirds – will change to their evening songs, go silent and stop flying. Many will actually go to roost. The natural world will get quiet and still. Daytime insects will cease their chatter. Honey bees will leave the flowers and head for their hives. A short time after the occultation birds will begin their morning songs.
See and feel the physical effects of the eclipse. The air temperature will drop 10 to 15 degrees, chilling your skin. Dew may form on the grass. The sky will be dark enough for streetlights to turn on. Stars may appear in the darkened sky. Stand under a tree with a piece of white paper; the foliage will act like a pinhole camera and show you a collage of eclipse images indirectly and safely.
Choose a quiet place in nature far from the city noise; a state park or your own backyard may be a good spot. Activate the recorder on your smart phone early to capture the before-during-after effect. You do not have to be in the center of the totality path for a good experience. Maximum totality will be about two minutes, forty seconds; but 25 miles away, totality will be about one minute, forty seconds.
For Tennessee the central path of totality will occur from approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT in Clarksville (just north of Nashville), to 2:35 p.m. EDT in Athens (just north of Cleveland). Note that the elapsed statewide travel time is only five minutes. Total occultation of the sun will last almost three minutes along this line. Total occultation will be experienced for about 34 miles north and south of that line, but a shorter blackout period.
For a detailed map of the Tennessee path of the eclipse, go to www.eclipse2017.org/2017/maps/ky-tn-nc.gif. For more information, including a live view of the eclipse, should weather make that necessary, go to www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/eclipse-2017-nasa-supports-a-unique-opportunity-for-science-in-the-shadow.
Hunters that are fortunate enough to harvest a banded duck, goose or dove next hunting season will see a change in the way they report those bands to the United States Geological Survey. The call-in center that has been in place for decades to record information has been replaced by an online service at www.reportband.gov.
According to the USGS Patuxent Bird Banding Laboratory, which administers the bird-banding program in the United States, the toll-free number engraved on bands will still function, but will redirect callers to the website. In the past few years, the online tool has been responsible for 60 percent of reported bands; and the system has proved faster and more accurate.
Federal and state biologists and researchers band thousands of birds each year as part of ongoing efforts to monitor bird population dynamics and learn more about their distribution and survival. Much of the information biologists use come from encounters by hunters, so the success of these efforts depend primarily on hunters to report banded birds they harvest.
Millions of people, including hunters and anglers, are taking advantage of the right to legally carry concealed firearms. This is confirmed by John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center in its recent report "Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2017". Lott, whose first bestselling book was “More Guns, Less Crime”, has the full report on his website https://crimeresearch.org/. Here are a few tidbits:
In 11 of the 50 states, ten percent or more of the adult population is licensed to carry;
omitting New York and California (extremely restrictive gun and carry laws) from the statistical equation, about eight percent of the entire United States' population is licensed; in many areas of the country the number of women getting licenses far surpasses the number of men; and, during the eight years of the Obama administration, the number of concealed carry permits and licenses increased by 256 percent.
More than ever Americans are saying, "I'd rather be fishing." With 1.5 million more participants than the previous year, fishing now has more than 47 million Americans hooked. That's the key finding of the 2017 Special Report on Fishing, now published by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).
"There's a reason that fishing is the second most popular outdoor activity for adults in the nation," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "It's a pursuit for people from all walks of life to enjoy – whether for getting exercise, being with family and friends, enjoying nature, escaping the usual demands of life, or experiencing excitement and adventure."
Nuggets from the report: Americans took 855 billion total fishing trips in 2016; 2.5 million new participants tried fishing for the first time, and they tended to be young and female; 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing, an 11-percent increase; 11 million youth participated in fishing, a three-percent increase; 83 percent of fishing trips resulted in a catch. See the full report and much more information at www.takemefishing.org.
The 2018 Calendar Photo Contest for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has an entry deadline of Aug. 3, 2017. The TWF wants photos that represent the beautiful natural resources and wildlife of Tennessee. This year the focus is the wonderful scenery of our public lands: Our state parks, wildlife management areas and national forests.
Winning photographers will receive a display copy of their photo and TWF apparel; two winners will receive gift cards of $200 and $100. Go to https://tnwf.org/photocontest for more details, helpful tips and to enter the contest.
Tennessee Wildlife Federation is one of the largest and oldest organizations in Tennessee dedicated to the conservation of the state’s wildlife and natural resources through stewardship, youth engagement, and conservation policy. TWF sponsors Hunters For the Hungry, Scholastic Clay Target Program, TWF Youth Hunting and Fishing, and other conservation programs. Learn more at https://tnwf.org.
NASCAR legend Richard Childress wants you to take The Pledge. Childress is the 2017 honorary chair for National Hunting and Fishing Day, Saturday, Sept. 23. The Pledge is simple: “I hereby pledge to take someone hunting, fishing or shooting between now and Saturday, Sept. 23.”
Forty-five years ago the U.S. Congress designated the fourth Saturday in September to honor America’s hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife conservation. Go to www.nhfday.org to sign up and see many other activities planned nationwide.
The Perseid meteor shower of 2017 is likely to be good but not great. Normally it is the best natural fireworks show in the northern hemisphere. It peaks each year around Aug. 11-12, building steadily the preceding week and dropping off rapidly after Aug. 13. On a dark night expect to see 60 to 100 shooting stars per hour over the entire sky, and more large “fireballs” than any other meteor shower.
However, viewers of the Perseid this year will have to contend with a waning three-quarter full moon, which will rise about 11 p.m. and whose light will wash out many of the smaller meteors. Expect to see about 30-60 shooting stars per hour this year, but all of the fireballs.
The Perseid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through the debris from the orbital path of the comet Swift-Tuttle. Their flight paths will appear to travel from the constellation Perseus in the northeast, but they will occur all over the sky. Binoculars are not necessary. Find a dark sky and clear horizon far from city lights and get comfortable (lounge chair, snacks, insect repellant, etc.). It is a great time to go night fishing, too.
The fifth Tennessee sandhill crane hunt will have its in-person permit drawing on Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Birchwood Community Center (formerly the Birchwood School) in north Hamilton County. The 2017-18 season dates for the Southeast Crane Zone are Dec. 2 – Jan. 11 and Jan. 15-28.
Registration for the permit drawings begins at 8:00 a.m. and the drawings will follow at 10 a.m. Applicants must have a current Tennessee hunting/fishing license (Type 001) and a waterfowl license (Type 005) or equivalent. There will be 400 permits issued, with three birds per permit allowed. Any leftover permits will be included in the computerized waterfowl drawing on Sept. 6-27, which will offer 1,100 more crane tags (one bird per hunter) for the statewide season on Dec. 2 – Jan. 28.