(Updated August 7, 2019)
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is hosting two CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) workshops in West Tennessee in August. There will be a short presentation at each of the sessions, followed by a question and answer session. TWRA and University of Tennessee staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding CWD from the public.
Six meeting locations were set in the newly formed CWD Zone in West Tennessee. Meetings will start at 7 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
The August meetings:
• August 1, in Haywood County at the Haywood County Justice Complex. 100 South Dupree, Brownsville, TN 38012
• August, 2019, in Chester County at the Henderson City Hall. 121 Crook Avenue, Henderson, TN 38340.
AGFC working with private landowners to plant seeds
Waterfowl season may be months away, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is busy working with private landowners to plant the seeds for food ducks, geese and other migrating birds will need during their migration. While much of the work on public land focuses on management of beneficial native food sources and planting of cover crops as a secondary option, a program offered by the AGFC is working to increase the amount of leftover crops available to ducks when they arrive in The Natural State.
The Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation Enhancement is a pilot program, now in its second year, developed by AGFC biologists to keep remnants of agricultural foods available for ducks as they make their way south.
According to AGFC Waterfowl Program Coordinator Luke Naylor, fall tillage is becoming increasingly popular with Arkansas rice growers.
"By tilling their fields in fall, farmers are hoping to get a head start on their next year's field preparation," Naylor said. "But it can have a lot of impact on the amount of food left for ducks on their land."
29 to participate in the "hunt of a lifetime"
Twenty-nine Arkansans will have the hunt of a lifetime this fall as they chase elk on public land in The Natural State. Their names were chosen during the 22nd Annual Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper.
Representatives from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission oversaw the drawings for this year's elk hunt. Permits were drawn from a squirrel cage in front of an anxious crowd throughout the day.
Twenty-six of the permits were drawn from the 3,812 applications submitted online in May. Three other permits were selected from 680 applications submitted on site during the festival. Winners of the three on-site permits had to be present to win during the final drawing of the festival.
All public land hunts occur on the Buffalo National River, Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area and Bearcat Hollow Wildlife Management Area. Hunters are assigned to specific zones within these public lands. Public land permit holders are required to attend an orientation before the hunt and will be notified of the time and location.
Hunt dates are Oct. 7-11, Oct. 26-Nov. 1 (youth hunts), Oct. 28-Nov. 1
Doramus appointed to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the appointment of Anne Marie Doramus of Little Rock to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. She is the first woman appointed to a full term on the commission in the state's history. Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners are appointed to serve 7-year terms. Anne Marie will replace outgoing commissioner Ford Overton and begin her 7-year term in July.
Doramus, graduate of the University of Arkansas, is Vice President of Special Projects and Sales for Arkansas Bolt Company, a fastener distributor and OEM supplier based in Little Rock. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show and the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and is a founding member of the Arkansas Outdoor Society, a group for young adults who are passionate about conservation and outdoors in Arkansas and directly support the mission of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and Commission.
New Disabled Veteran Lifetime Combination License OK'd by AGFC
The AGFC voted unanimously to create a new Disabled Veteran Lifetime Combination License that would be available at a reduced rate for resident military veterans meeting certain criteria. The new license will cost $52.50 and will give full hunting and fishing privileges to any disabled veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher or a service-connected disability rating of 50 percent or higher and is a recipient of the Purple Heart medal.
This license is in accordance with Act 729, which was passed during the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly. This license does not replace previous disabled veterans licenses offered by the AGFC that required a veteran to be 100 percent disabled to qualify. Those licenses still are available at their previous cost. This new license simply enables more disabled veterans to qualify for reduced rates.
According to AGFC Director Pat Fitts, the new license will extend these reduced rates for hunting and fishing privileges to more than 14,000 disabled veterans in Arkansas.
The Commission also created a single 5-day Nonresident Waterfowl Hunting Permit that would be valid on all AGFC WMAs in response to public comments received last waterfowl season. Previously, a nonresident waterfowl hunter on many of the AGFC's WMAs was required to purchase a separate permit for each WMA they hunted. The new universal permit enables hunters to move to different WMAs within the 5-day window when the permit is valid.
Coopman elected MDWFP chairman
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, (MDWFP) announced Commissioner Scott Coopwood, of Cleveland has been elected to serve as chairman of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for the coming year. Coopwood is the founder and publisher of the magazines, Delta Business Journal, Delta Magazine, the Delta Ag Journal and The Welcome Guide. He is also the owner of Coopwood Communications, a full-service advertising, marketing, public relations, and digital media firm.
Governor signs bill increasing fines on poachers
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri legislature and governor have taken actions to increase penalties for those caught poaching Missouri game animals and other native wildlife species.
Governor Michael Parson signed HB260 into law in mid-July. Called the Poaching Bill, it significantly raises fines for those convicted of illegally taking Missouri game species and other native wildlife. HB260 was sponsored by Representative Jered Taylor (Republic) and Senator Mike Bernskoetter (Jefferson City).
New fine amounts include $10,000-$15,000 for each elk or black bear killed illegally, $1,000-$5,000 for each white-tailed buck, $500-$1,000 for each wild turkey, and $500-$1,000 for each paddlefish.
The fines are considered restitution payments for poaching game animals and are ordered by a judge. Monies from the fines go to the state's school moneys fund. The restitution payments are in addition to other fines and penalties for violating the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The new fines will go into effect Aug. 28.
Supporters of the bill said that previous fines for poaching were too low in Missouri. The bill also gained support in part from five Missouri elk that were illegally killed by poachers in the past few years. None of the cases has yet been solved.
According to MDC records, 547 wild turkeys, 58 paddlefish, and 4,731 deer were illegally taken, or poached, in 2017 and 2018. MDC is also investigating the poaching of five elk over the past several years. Black bear poaching incidents are a growing concern as well.