For those concerned citizens who would like to beautify their communities, here is some state money to help. The TWRA has grant dollars available to assist community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups with riparian tree planting projects. The best tree planting season in Tennessee is December through March. The TWRA will accept proposals through Dec. 1, 2019.
Five grants of $500 each are available for each of TWRA’s four regional Aquatic Habitat Protection projects, a total of $2,500 per region. The grants require the group to have a nonprofit tax number. The projects are to be completed, the money spent, and a report submitted by June 30, 2020.
Applicants should have complete contact information in their request, including the leader’s tax number. The proposal should also include the name of the stream, county or counties involved, and the project area and description. For more information contact Della Sawyers at 615-781-6577 or by e-mail at Della.Sawyers@tn.gov.
Consider joining the Anglers for the Bahamas campaign as it races toward $4 million in support of the island nation devastated by Hurricane Dorian; plus, there is an additional $1 million personal donation and challenge from Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.
In its first four days alone, 81,000 anglers have donated through Anglers for the Bahamas to help the people of the Bahamas by uniting with worldwide relief leader, Convoy of Hope, a highly regarded 501(C)(3 not-for-profit charity with emergency responders currently on the front lines throughout the Bahamas.
At all Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores, customers can round up their purchases or make an additional donation at registers. To encourage even broader support, customers who donate at least $5 or more in Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores will receive a limited-edition Anglers for the Bahamas bumper sticker. Johnny Morris will be adding to these contributions at 25 percent. To donate directly to relief efforts, please visit www.AnglersForTheBahamas.org.
The 2019 autumnal (September) equinox occurs on Monday, Sept. 23 at 3:50 a.m. EDT, when the Sun is positioned directly over the Earth’s equator and moving south. In other words, the Earth’s rotational axis is perpendicular to the Sun.
Daylight is waning rapidly every day. In late September the Sun rises (due east) nearly one minute later every day, and the Sun sets (due west) about one-and-a-half minutes earlier every day. For East Tennessee sunrise will be at 7:24 a.m. and sunset will be at 7:31 p.m. The actual “equinox” or equal periods of day and night does not occur in this area until Sept. 26.
The animals sense autumn instinctively. It triggers mating in deer, migration in waterfowl and other birds, and hibernation activities in bears and groundhogs.
The Labor Day holiday, the last hurrah of the 2019 summer boating season is Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI), not using life jackets, and other reckless operation.
In 2019 on Tennessee waters there have been six boating-related fatalities, 15 fewer than at the same time last year. There have been 36 serious injury incidents and 40 property damage incidents. TWRA officers have made 53 BUI arrests.
During the 2018 Labor Day boating weekend, there was a single fatality which involved a personal watercraft on Tims Ford Lake. TWRA boating officers made five BUI arrests. Officers investigated other incidents which involved seven serious injuries and three which had property damage.
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. Click here and visit one or all three tagboards.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will have its monthly meeting on Aug. 15-16 in Greeneville at the General Morgan Inn. Committee meetings begin at 2 p.m. (EDT) Thursday, and the regular meeting starts at 9 a.m. Friday. The public is invited to attend.
On Friday morning the 2019 winners of the 14 drawn permits to hunt Tennessee elk will be announced. This will include seven quota permits for the archery only hunt Sept. 28-Oct. 5, one permit for the youth hunt Oct. 5-11 and six permits for the Oct. 12-18 general hunt with gun, muzzleloader and bow. The winners of Tennessee elk raffle, sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, will also be announced.
A summary of the August handheld duck blind drawings will be presented. The format for this year’s drawing changed Also, a recap of recently-held public listening sessions will be given. A preview of proposed changes to the sport fishing and bait proclamations will be made, including the changes requested by the Commercial Fisheries Advisory Committee.
The TWRA’s Biodiversity Division will give an update. To remain in compliance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Agreement and to avoid state audit findings, the Biodiversity Division must review the State Threatened and Endangered Species list every two years. The list is scheduled to be reviewed in November 2019.
The fifth Calendar Photo Contest (for the 2020 calendar) for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has an entry deadline of Aug. 31, 2019. The TWF wants photos that represent the beautiful landscapes, natural resources and wildlife of Tennessee. Tip: It is good to focus on the Tennessee state parks, wildlife management areas and national forests; and, again this year, winter scenes and aquatic species are in short supply. So, if not this year, plan now for next year.
Winning photographers will receive a display copy of their photo, a $20 gift card and TWF apparel; the two top 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.
Are you having trouble scheduling the time for a hunter education class? For many years there has been an online alternative with an online written exam and a required field day for live shooting; but, now there is an exemption to the field day for those 21 years or older. The following steps are required:
Complete the online class at www.huntercourse.com/usa/tennessee or at www.Hunter-Ed.com. These courses costs $29 and they are interactive, narrated, and offer daily (including weekend) live customer service via email or telephone. For those age 21 or older, complete the form provided for the field day exemption and mail, fax or email it with required documentation and payment to the address listed on the form. To request a form contact the Hunter Education Coordinator at 615-781-6538. Your certificate will arrive in three to five business days after submission.
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the best natural fireworks shows in the northern hemisphere, but this year its peak nights will be competing with a waxing full moon, washing out many of the smaller shooting stars. So, this year begin your viewing the weeks before the peak.
The Perseid climaxes each year on the nights of Aug. 11-12 and 12-13, building steadily the preceding three weeks 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.
The best viewing times are after midnight, but any time after dark will do. 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 Perseid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through the debris from the orbital path of the comet Swift-Tuttle, last seen in 1992 and anticipated again in 2126 ( 133-year cycle). The flight paths of the shooting stars will appear to originate in the constellation Perseus in the northeast, but they will occur all over the sky.
For those who want to help wildlife in Tennessee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has these suggestions:
1. Buy a fishing or hunting license (even if you don’t fish or hunt): License dollars are the main source of revenue for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency that conserves and manages more than 1,400 species of wildlife in Tennessee. Especially for those who don’t hunt or fish, there is now a “Friend of Wildlife” license package available at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com that is a good investment in wildlife conservation. Your purchase will help continue wildlife conservation and development of recreational opportunities for future generations.
2. Let wildlife stay wild: Some animals might seem like they need help, but they don’t need rescuing. Babies of some species are left alone all day and rely on camouflage for protection. If you do happen upon a truly injured animal, there is a list of wildlife rehabilitators at www.TNwildlife.org.
3. Avoid feeding wildlife: Feeding wildlife can lead to serious problems. Human food is not healthy for wild animals and they do not need it to survive. Wild animals have specialized diets and can become malnourished or die if fed the wrong foods. Also, animals cannot distinguish food from wrappers or foil and can get sick eating these items.
4. Do not litter: Most people know litter is bad for the planet, but it is also bad for unsuspecting wildlife. Everyday items such as drink cans and plastic bottles can be deadly for animals, even dogs and cats. Animals of all kinds often mistake trash for food or shelter. Harm to animals can be avoided if litter is disposed properly.
5. Turn your yard into good habitat: Creating habitat in your home’s yard is beneficial to wildlife. Habitat is a combination of food, water, shelter, and space arranged to meet the needs of wildlife. Even a small yard can be landscaped to attract birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and small animals. Trees, shrubs, and other plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
6. Appreciate the biodiversity of Tennessee! We are blessed in Tennessee with lots of wildlife to see. We have than 300 bird species to the 320 different types of fish; we are the salamander capital of the world (56 different kinds), and 22 different frogs and toads. Get outside and look and listen for all of these Tennessee residents.
The TWRA is a diverse operation. From hunting, fishing, and boating, to protecting non-game species and creating watchable wildlife opportunities, the TWRA serves the citizens of Tennessee. The Wildlife section of www.tnwildlife.org is a great reference point for more in-depth information on what people can do to benefit our wildlife resources.
Skinner Mountain Wildlife Management Area, located in Fentress County on the northern part of the Cumberland Plateau, has nearly doubled in size. The Conservation Fund, in partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, announced on July 10 the protection of 3,041 acres that have been added to the state’s WMA.
The newly conserved forestland will be open to the public for hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing, and other recreational activities, while continuing to support the local economy through sustainably harvested timber production.
This new area of Skinner Mountain WMA is located within a dramatic landscape of gorges, cliffs, waterfalls, and caves. It includes frontage on the East Fork of the Obey River and provides significant habitat for a variety of endangered and declining species of bats, mussels, migratory songbirds, and plants. The Mountain Eye Cave system is located within the newly conserved lands, providing critical habitat for 11 bat species of concern.
“The addition of these new lands at Skinner Mountain WMA is a conservation win for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Ed Carter, Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “It provides permanent protection to an area of high biological and recreational value.”
The entire Skinner Mountain Forest plays a major role in sustaining the water quality of the Obey River watershed, including Dale Hollow Lake and 43 miles of streams, filtering nearly 18 billion gallons of water annually.
The Conservation Fund makes conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, it is redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Check it out at www.conservationfund.org.
The TVA-sponsored PBS series “Tennessee Valley Uncharted” is back with Season Five. Fishing, hiking, exploring caves, sampling tasty treats, hiking with llamas – it’s all here in TVU’s brand new season. Take a journey through the Tennessee Valley as hosts Erick Baker and Ariel Nicole explore its unique natural wonders, urban secrets, recreation destinations, and hidden gems. Check your local station guide for listings, or go here to play the episodes.
Congratulations to 17-year-old Erica Brock from LaFollette, Tennessee. Erica won Best of Show in the 2019 Tennessee Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest. Her creation has become the 2019 Tennessee Junior Duck Stamp, a collectible state waterfowl stamp that is produced annually and sold for conservation education.
The program is an art contest managed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and designed to teach students the importance of conserving wetlands habitat and waterfowl. It pairs science, the arts, and other core subjects to creatively teach greater awareness of our natural resources. The Tennessee program is sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation.
Erica’s winning entry is a pair of redheads created with mixed media using a combination of colored pencil, acrylic and pastel. Erica received the $1,000 Jeanette Rudy scholarship provided by the TWRF, along with other prizes, including a framed 2019 Federal Duck Stamp Print. The national contest winner’s artwork is used for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp each year.
The public is invited to purchase the collectible stamp for $11 each; they are not required for hunting. Each state stamp is numbered and printed in full color, measuring 1 3/8 by 2 inches. In addition all previous stamps are available. Funds from the sale of the stamp will be used for habitat improvement. Go to the Programs section of www.twrf.net, or contact the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge by telephone at 731-642-2091.
Heads Up! Be advised that on the weekend of July 5-7 “Operation Dry Water” will be underway nationwide. The TWRA will be participating. Originally, Operation Dry Water was the weekend before the Fourth of July, used by law enforcement agencies to focus boaters’ attention on Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement. The intention is to reduce alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water.
This year it will be ON the Fourth of July weekend. TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with promoting life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the enhanced effects of alcohol use on the water. Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that alcohol is the leading contributing cause to fatal accidents. Keep your pilot dry. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
Forewarned is forearmed. Be advised that on the weekend of June 28-30 the TWRA will be participating in Operation Dry Water. Nationally, the weekend before the Fourth of July is used by law enforcement agencies to focus boaters’ attention on Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement. The intention is to reduce alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water.
TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with promoting life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the enhanced effects of alcohol use on the water. Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that 15 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Keep your pilot dry. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
Warning to boaters: E15 (15 percent ethanol) fuel has been approved for sale nationwide this summer. This fuel is big trouble for marine engines, older automobiles and many other small engines. What’s more, the E15 warning label is easy to overlook at the gas pumps.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently waived Clean Air Act provisions and eliminated the summer blackout period on the sale of E15 fuel, permitting the fuel to be sold year round. Objections to the move came from a wide coalition of American citizens and environmental, conservation, food producer, fuel retailer, taxpayer advocate, and outdoor recreation industry groups.
The fuel had been banned at the pumps from June 1 to September 15 over concerns that it contributed to smog on hot days. As a result of EPA’s action, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is advising boaters that they will need to be very cautious at the gas station to ensure they are not filling their boats with fuel that’s bad – and illegal – for boat engines. Go to www.BoatUS.com/gov/rfs.asp for more information.
Can today's boaters learn anything from the RMS Titanic tragedy? On April 15, 1912, less than one year after commissioning, the “unsinkable” ocean liner hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank. Let’s look at several timeless lessons for anyone that takes to the water.
Speed: Excessive speed at night in dangerous, iceberg infested waters was a major factor in the Titanic’s demise. You should proceed cautiously when boating in the fog, at night or in unfamiliar waters. You need time to react to surprises.
Communication: The radio on the Titanic had a limited range of only 200 miles, not acceptable for an oceangoing vessel. Today cell phones are commonplace, but many remote areas do not have cellular service. Take along a marine radio just in case and get the phone numbers of some nearby marinas.
Safety: The Titanic did not have enough life jackets or lifeboats for its passengers, and the ship’s crew was not trained in emergency procedures. You should have suitable life vests for all on board and several people should know the location and proper use of your boat’s safety equipment, such as fire extinguisher, distress flares, radio, and inflatable life jackets.
The summer or June solstice, the first day of summer, will arrive on June 21 at 11:54 a.m. EDT (15:54 GMT or UTC). The sun will “stand still” (solstice) in its apparent progress north in the sky and then begin moving southward.
This day has the longest period of daylight of the year in the northern hemisphere and the shortest period of daylight in the southern hemisphere. For this latitude and longitude (Maryville, Tenn.) the sun will rise at 6:19 a.m. and it will be on the northeastern horizon; it will set at 8:56 p.m. on the northwestern horizon.
Even though the solstice is the longest period of daylight of the year, it is not the latest sunset, nor is it the earliest sunrise. Those exact dates vary with latitude, but the sequence is always the same: Earliest sunrise before the summer solstice; longest day on the summer solstice; latest sunset after the summer solstice.
Tennessee boaters have until July 1 to renew their boat registration before the first fee increase in 12 years goes into effect, pending approval by the Government Operations Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly. Any boating vessel operated by a gas engine, electric motor or sail is required to be registered. The increase is in line with the rise of the consumer price index since the last fee increase was made.
The current fee for a boat up to 16 feet is $13 for one year, $24 for two and $35 for three; the new fees will be $15, $28 and $41 respectively. Vessels up to 26 feet will increase from $25 to $29 for a year. Those up to 40 feet increase from $38 to $44 and vessels more than 40 feet move from $51 to $59 for a year.
Boat owners have the option to have their vessels registered for one, two, or three years. The registration term may not exceed three years and 30 days. Boat owners will not see the increase until their current registration expires. Vessels that are powered only by paddle such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and rafts are not required to be registered. Tennessee has about 264,000 vessels registered.
Boat registration can be done online at any time at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com, by mail or at Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency regional offices in Jackson, Nashville, Crossville, and Morristown.
As the summer camping season gets underway, here is an important warning: Do not travel with firewood! Forestry biologists are battling the spread of myriad tree diseases and infestations, but the fight is hopeless without the public’s help. No longer merely wind borne, these pests travel the highways at the speed limit. To help the most, burn local wood, either gathered there or purchased there. If you have moved firewood, burn it all up, especially the bark.
Tennessee has its share of infestations that can be spread by moving firewood, including the pine beetle, emerald ash borer (all ash trees), wooly adelgid (hemlocks), Asian longhorn beetle, and the Sirex woodwasp. Our black walnut trees are succumbing to the “thousand cankers disease” (called TCD). TCD is a fungus spread by the walnut twig beetle.
How far is too far to move firewood? What kinds are safe to move (None)? Get more information at www.dontmovefirewood.org; also, there is the USFS website at www.na.fs.fed.us. Be proactive. Inspect your own trees for diseases. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has a website and phone number to help you, www.protecttnforests.org and 800-628-2631.
June 6, 1944 – D-Day. The Allied invasion of Europe, codenamed “Operation Overlord”, began 75 years ago at Normandy Beach, France. The assault beach codenames were Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. The troops of the United States, Great Britain and Canada participated. Allied casualties numbered 209,000, including the deaths of nearly 37,000 ground troops and 16,700 air forces. It turned the tide of World War II.
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.
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.
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/.