(Updated November 28, 2018)
Santa Is Coming to Town ...
... and MSHFN contributing writer Ron Wong has compiled a list of some of the best stuff you can put on your Christmas list for this year.
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Wisniewski named TWRA chief
Jenifer Wisniewski has been named Chief, Communications and Outreach for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. She comes to the TWRA after serving as the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.
In her new position, Wisniewski will be leading a new division which comes after a reorganization of the Information and Education Division. Among her duties, she will be responsible for all of TWRA's marketing efforts, social media, and R3 (recruitment, retention, reactivation) efforts. She will also oversee the agency's magazine, all other publications, and supervise the staff of four regional information and education coordinators.
"I look forward to hitting the ground running and serving Tennessee hunters, anglers, boaters and all those who love wildlife and the great outdoors," Wisniewski said. "I am excited about the opportunity and the future of TWRA."
Her role will be similar to the one she had for the Georgia DNR over the past five years. She helped develop and implement marketing strategies that helped Georgia become one of the few states see an increase in hunting and fishing license sales, an accomplishment that occurred every year since 2013. Tennessee has followed a trend of many states across the country where license sales have declined.
Don King, who has served as Information and Education chief, will now be the Multimedia Division chief. The division will include live streaming, video production, distribution, and other related efforts.
Agreement to allow continued funding for federal trout hatchery
An agreement between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to provide funding for trout production and stocking in TVA dam tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are included in the partnership which began in 2013. The agreement provides partnership funding through fiscal year 2021.
Since the partnership began, TVA has been funding trout production by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service at three national fish hatcheries, Dale Hollow and Erwin in Tennessee, and Chattahoochee Forest in Georgia. The trout are then provided to the tailwaters Apalachia (Hiwassee River), Blue Ridge, Boone, Cherokee, Fort Patrick Henry, Normandy, Norris, South Holston, Tims Ford, and Wilbur. Trout-stocked reservoirs include Fort Patrick Henry, South Holston, Parksville, Watauga and Wilbur.
Last year, the partnership provided more than 1.1 million brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout to TVA waters. More than 256,000 anglers are estimated to fish for trout in Tennessee and Georgia waters each year, spending about $73 for every $1 invested in the hatchery program, and producing an economic impact of about $45 million.
Major revision to AGFC's mobile app
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission completed a major revision to its long-standing mobile app last week to catch up with recent changes to the AGFC's licensing and checking procedures.
"Our app was originally developed in 2009, and although we've had many updates to it over the years, it was time to give it an overhaul," said Spencer Griffith, marketing coordinator for the AGFC.
Location-based weather and forecasts and a hunting area locator feature help hunters find likely places to pursue their game, while updated sections on wildlife observation, hiking and water trails offer a richer outdoor experience for app users seeking adventure. Feeds for the AGFC's waterfowl report, fishing report and latest news also are available at the press of a button, so people can stay up to date with the AGFC from any location.
Since March of 2018, Arkansas hunters and anglers could carry a digital copy of their hunting and fishing licenses via phone, but it required a photo of the license on the phone or an emailed document saved to the phone's files. With the latest app revision, all of a person's license information is available underneath the heading "Licenses" at the bottom of the phone's screen. Once a person has created an account on the app and logged in using the customer ID number on their license, the app will store the information to the phone, so it will be available whether the user has a phone signal or not.
One thing new app users may notice missing from the new app is the data and images stored in the "Trophy Room" feature. With the old app, which was built in 2009, these images were stored on the phone used to upload them to the app. There was no way to automatically transfer them to the new app because it would give access to a user's personal files. However, they should still exist in the photo library files of the phone used to initially load the images.
CWD found in Johnson County
Chronic wasting disease has been found in Johnson County. A hunter-harvested white-tailed deer harvested north of Clarksville recently tested positive for the disease, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The 2½-year-old buck was confirmed as CWD-positive by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison. Johnson County was previously placed within the CWD management zone after deer tested positive in surrounding counties. This latest detection will not add any counties to that CWD zone. The CWD management zone includes Benton, Boone, Carroll, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy, Sebastian, Van Buren, Washington and Yell counties.
CWD was first detected in Arkansas Feb. 23, 2016, when a hunter-harvested elk in Newton County tested positive. The first Arkansas deer with CWD was verified March 3, 2016, also in Newton County. Since the first detections, AGFC has sampled and tested over 10,000 deer and elk from around the state. To date, there have been 391 deer and elk have tested positive for the disease in Arkansas.
Visit www.agfc.com/cwd for more information.
CWD suspected in second Issaquena County
A free-range, 2.5 year-old female white-tailed deer collected on November 1 in Issaquena County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from initial testing. This is the second animal to test positive for the disease in Issaquena County. A sample will be sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa for an additional, definitive test.
The MDWFP encourages hunters to assist with CWD monitoring efforts by voluntarily submitting samples for testing. A list of CWD sample collection locations can be found on www.mdwfp.com/cwd. MDWFP has set up 21 drop-off freezers across the state for hunters to deposit deer heads for testing. Instructions and materials are on-site and MDWFP staff checks the freezers weekly. In addition, MDWFP will operate check stations for hunters to bring their harvested deer for CWD sampling. All hunters who submit a sample will complete a uniquely numbered biological sample card that will assist them in accessing test results online. For more information regarding CWD, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/cwd or call the MDWFP at (601) 432-2199. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.
Persistent Flooding Causes Closure of Mahannah WMA for Deer Hunting
Heavy rainfall resulted in extensive flooding in the south Delta region of Mississippi. The Mahannah Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was being closed to public access except for waterfowl hunting on Nov. 18. After the Nov. 17 youth waterfowl day, all waterfowl hunts were by permit only.
Discounted lodging rates will be offered to hunters through February
• Cabin that sleep four or less - $50.00 / night
• Standard RV sites - $18.00 / night
• Full RV sites - $20.00 / night
Participating State Parks:
• Clarkco State Park
• George P. Cossar State Park
• Hugh White State Park
• J. P. Coleman State Park
• John W. Kyle State Park
• Lake Lincoln State Park
• Lake Lowndes State Park
• Legion State Park
• Leroy Percy State Park
• Natchez State Park
• Roosevelt State Park
• Tombigbee State Park
• Trace State Park
• Wall Doxey State Park
MDC continues voluntary CWD sampling statewide all season
Hunters who harvest deer anywhere in Missouri throughout the entire deer hunting season -- Sept. 15 through Jan. 15 -- can have their harvested deer sampled for free CWD testing at select MDC offices around the state and through participating taxidermists and meat processors located in the CWD Management Zone. Sampling is voluntary.
MDC asks hunters to field dress and Telecheck deer before taking them for sampling. Hunters can bring the entire field-dressed deer, or just the head with about six inches of neck in place. Heads that have the cape removed for taxidermy can be sampled.
MDC reports 99,567 deer harvested during firearms opening weekend
Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that deer hunters in Missouri harvested 99,567 deer during the opening weekend of the November portion of the fall firearms deer season. Of the 99,567 deer harvested, 55,887 were antlered bucks, 9,573 were button bucks, and 34,107 were does. Top harvest counties for opening weekend were Franklin with 2,057 deer checked, Callaway with 1,971 and Benton with 1,875. Last year, hunters checked 94,886 deer during the opening weekend of the 2017 November portion of firearms deer season.