(Updated January 3, 2019)
TFWC issues regulations changes in response to CWD
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) has made regulatory changes in response to the confirmation of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer in Fayette and Hardeman counties. The changes came at a special called meeting of the TFWC on Thursday (Dec. 20) at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency headquarters.
The commission voted to establish a CWD management zone which currently includes Fayette, Hardeman, and McNairy counties. The commission took action to create deer carcass exportation restrictions and a restriction on feeding wildlife within the high risk area of the CWD management zone, exceptions apply. The high risk area of the CWD management zone includes counties within a 10-mile radius of the location of a confirmed CWD positive deer.
Another regulation change for the CWD management zone, is the creation of a new deer hunting season. An archery/muzzleloader/gun deer season was established there for Jan. 7-31, 2019. The bag limit for the season is one antlered deer and unlimited for antlerless deer. All wildlife management areas and other public land on which deer hunting activities are permitted within the three counties will be open during this newly-established season.
On or after Dec. 29, 2018, all hunters harvesting deer on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) are required to check the deer in at a physical check station. The TWRA will publish the locations of these stations on its website (www.tnwildlife.org).
The TWRA is continuing its efforts of targeted sampling for CWD outside of the CWD management zone. Emphasis will be placed on those counties surrounding the CWD management zone.
With the positive confirmation, Tennessee became the 26th state to have documented CWD. There have also been three Canadian provinces to have CWD.
The TWRA enacted the CWD Response Plan last week following the preliminary positive detection. The response involves a coordinated effort between TWRA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and other partners.
Although CWD has no known risk to the health of humans or livestock, it is a contagious and deadly neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family. It is transmitted through animal-to-animal contact, animal contact with a contaminated environment, and with contaminated feed or water sources. It is the most significant threat to the deer population nationwide, as it is 100 percent fatal to deer and elk. Wildlife agencies across the country are working to inform the public about CWD, its deadly results and possible impacts to economies.
More information about CWD, including cervid import restrictions, and videos that explain how to properly dress an animal before transporting it, can be found on TWRA's website at www.tnwildlife.org. (https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/hunting/cwd.html/)
2019 spring turkey quota hunt applications
The application period for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 2019 Spring Turkey Quota Hunts runs through Jan. 16. Applications are available and will be accepted at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office, or online at gooutdoorstennessee.com website. Applications can be accepted until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on Jan. 16. Mailed applications will not be accepted.
The areas available for the hunts are listed on the instruction sheet. Hunters have up to 13 choices, but will be drawn for only one. Applicants may not use the same hunt code more than once. There are a total of 13 hunts listed and five youth-only hunts. No person may apply more than once. A computer drawing will be held to determine the successful applications based on the priority drawing system. Youth hunters (ages 6-16 by the date of the hunt) may submit one application for the regular quota hunt and one application for the youth-only quota hunt.
A permit fee will not be charged to Annual Sportsman (Type 004), Lifetime Sportsman (Types 401-406) license holders or seniors with an Annual Senior Sportsman License (Type 167). For all other license holders, the cost is $12 per permit plus the $1 agent fee. There is a $2 fee if application is made on the Internet. When applying at a license agent, hunters must remain at the location while the application is processed. Hunters will receive a receipt with a confirmation number when the application is complete.
Hunters with Internet access may apply for a spring turkey quota hunt online by visiting https://quotahunt.gooutdoorstennessee.com. (It will be active once the application period begins). Once the Internet site has been accessed, hunters can follow the on-screen directions.
The 2019 statewide turkey season is March 30-May 12. The statewide Young Sportsman Hunt is March 23-24.
Summary of deer management plan presented
The TWRA's five-year strategic deer management plan was presented during the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission's final meeting of 2018. The two-day meeting was held at the TWRA's Region II Ray Bell Building in the Ellington Agricultural Center.
The strategic deer management plan has six major goals. This includes gathering more information about Tennessee's deer herd, about the harvest of deer in Tennessee, and about the desires of Tennessee hunters. It also encompasses the development of support programs for landowners and communities and to address potential deer-related problems. In addition, minimize the threat of chronic wasting disease. Increase communication efforts between the Agency and the public. Identify the resources and funding necessary to improve the hunting, management, and overall health of Tennessee's deer herd. The TWRA hopes to release a final version of the plan in late February.
Also, Joe Benedict, Wildlife and Forestry Division Chief, gave a presentation on how the TWRA plans to increase habitat management on four featured wildlife management areas (WMAs). These WMAs include one each from the four TWRA regions and are Wolf River, Cheatham, Bridgestone/Firestone and North Cumberland.
The TFWC first meeting in 2019 will be held in Germantown at the Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters. It will be a two-day meeting on Jan. 17-18.
Earl Bentz returns to boat building business
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Caymas Boats LLC officials announced that the boat manufacturing company will establish operations in Ashland City. Caymas Boats plans to invest $30.3 million and create approximately 280 jobs during the next five years.
Caymas Boats is a new company founded by Nashville-based marine executive Earl Bentz, who has a successful record of building boat companies in Tennessee. Beginning in 2019, Caymas Boats will manufacture a new line of premium fiberglass saltwater and freshwater fishing boats in Ashland City.
Elk hunting season was a record-breaker
The 2018 Arkansas elk hunting season set a record with 67 taken on public and private land. The previous record was 55. An elk or two may still be taken by hunters outside of the Core Elk Management Zone (Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties), during the remainder of deer seasons with archery tackle, muzzleloading weapons, and modern firearms of at least .24 caliber legal for those seasons. However, only one elk has been taken outside the zone this year, a lone bull in Stone County.
All hunter-harvested elk have been tested for chronic wasting disease; none was positive. Two elk showing signs of the disease were targeted and removed from the herd by biologists; those two did test positive for CWD.
The first week of the season was Oct. 1-5, with a youth hunt Sept. 29-30. Forty-one elk were harvested – 18 bulls and 23 antlerless. Thirty-six of those came from private land; five were taken on public land.
The second week of the season was Oct. 29-Nov. 2, with a youth hunt Oct. 27-28. Twenty-five elk were taken during this period – five bulls and 20 antlerless, with 14 from private land and 11 from public land.
The core elk management zone hunt quota was 12 either-sex elk and 40 antlerless elk. Hunters are required to check each day during the season to see if the quota has been reached.
Winter trout program releasing hundreds of rainbow trout
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Family and Community Fishing Program is kicking off winter in style by releasing hundreds of rainbow trout in program ponds throughout the state.
Each year, rainbow trout raised at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs are delivered to community ponds in Arkansas once the water temperatures have cooled enough to accommodate the cold-water fish. According to Maurice Jackson, AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program Coordinator, the fish were delivered in mid to late November.
Let's hear it for the deer hunters
Deer hunters in Arkansas have voluntarily provided more than 5,300 biological samples from harvested deer to the AGFC so far this hunting season, helping AGFC to continue monitoring the distribution of chronic wasting disease in the state. With almost a month of the firearms deer season and two additional months of archery season left, new samples are still coming in on a daily basis.
The increase in samples has come despite a reduced number of manned testing locations during opening weekend of modern gun deer season this year. In 2017, the AGFC operated 17 temporary CWD sample stations on opening weekend, which garnered 459 samples to help investigate the prevalence and spread of the disease. This year only five such sites were manned by AGFC personnel, all in areas which recently had been added to the agency's CWD Management Zone.
Mandatory harvest reporting for spring turkey season set
The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has passed as final Rule 3.4, which establishes mandatory harvest reporting for spring turkey season. Mississippi will now join many states in requiring hunters to report their turkey harvests to the state wildlife agency. This step forward in turkey conservation and management will allow for a more detailed look at our turkey populations throughout the state.
There will be three ways to report your turkey: the MDWFP Hunting & Fishing app, www.mdwfp.com, and a phone number. Of these, the MDWFP strongly encourages hunters to take advantage of the app because it will be the quickest and easiest. Once you have a profile setup in the app, you will be able to complete the reporting process in under a minute.
UPDATE: Second Issaquena County White-tailed Deer Confirmed for CWD
The MDWFP received confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory that the hunter-harvested 2.5-year-old, female white-tailed deer voluntarily submitted in Issaquena County on November 1 tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). "This deer was harvested by a hunter on Mahannah Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and voluntarily submitted to our drop-off station located on site," said Russ Walsh, Executive Wildlife Director. "We have seen great participation so far this season, but we still need hunters to continue providing samples as part of our state wide monitoring effort."
Young hunters harvest more than 2,500 deer
Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that young hunters ages 6 through 15 harvested 2,556 deer during Missouri's late youth portion of the 2018 deer hunting season, Nov. 23-25. Of the 2,556 deer harvested, 1,140 were antlered bucks, 336 were button bucks, and 1,080 were does.
Top counties for the late youth portion were Wayne with 47; Ripley with 46; and Franklin, Macon, and Osage with each having 45 deer checked. Last year's harvest total for the late youth portion was 3,115 with 1,299 being antlered bucks, 453 button bucks, and 1,363 does. Archery deer hunting continues through Jan. 15, 2019.
Warsaw man catches state-record walleye on a jug line
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports Jason Reynolds of Warsaw became the most recent state-record-fish breaker in Missouri when he caught a walleye on a jug line on Truman Lake in Benton County. The new "alternative method" record fish caught by Reynolds weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Reynolds' recent catch broke the previous state record by 1 pound, 1 ounce.
Reynolds was using bluegill for bait and trying to catch blue catfish when he caught the new state-record walleye. He said he didn't know the walleye was a state record until he checked MDC's website when he got back to Osage Bluff Marine. Reynolds also currently holds the spotted bass alternative method state record for a fish taken by jug line.