(Updated September 28, 2018)
Crappie makes state's record book and made world history
On May 15, Lionel "Jam" Ferguson made fishing history by landing a giant 5-pound, 7.68 ounce crappie on a pond near Philadelphia, Tennessee. This fish vastly exceeded the state's previous record of 4-4 caught in 1985.
Not only did this fish make the state record books, but it also made world history. The previous world record was 5 lbs. even. Therefore, after a genetic and weight confirmation, Ferguson became the new black crappie world record holder.
This Tennessee trophy was caught on a Kalin's 2" Triple Threat Grub using a cast and slow retrieve technique. The pond it came from was roughly an acre in size and 16 feet in depth. With a storm rolling in, and after a series of casts across the pond, Jam picked up the soon-to-be record along the bank.
The fish was weighed and genetically confirmed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It was then sent to the International Game Fish Association where it has officially been added as the new world record.
Trappers to gather at Humboldt
The West Tennessee Fur Takers will host the Mid-South Trappers Rendezvous on Oct. 13 at Bailey Park in Humboldt. The park is located at 400 North 22nd Avenue.
Mark Moore, WTFT president, says not will there be trappers from all across the Mid-South, but landowners, timber companies, 4-H clubs, Scout Troops and conservationist groups. It will be, he says, "a free family event."
Guest registration begins at 7 a.m. with trapping demonstrations starting at 8 a.m. There will vendors located under a pavilion, games throughout the day, a fish fry ($12 per plate) and door prizes Closing ceremonies will be at 4 p.m.
Scheduled demonstrations include:
Jeff Mangus – Everything turtles; Mark June – Strategic Approach 1 (casts and canines); Tim Roper – Lassoing flat tails/beaver snaring; Doug McKenzie – GPS, the 21st century trapper and a second seminar by June. On-going demonstrations will feature Jay Wahlig (skinning/fur handling – bobcat, coyote, fox, beaver and minke) and Bobby Holladay (fur hat making).
For more information go to westtnfurtakers.com or call Moore at 731-693-6330.
Walling named SE wildlife officer of year
Kyle Walling has been named the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Officer of the Year for the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). The recipient of the award was announced by Darren Rider, TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division colonel.
Walling is a wildlife officer in TWRA Region III's District 31 and was selected among other TWRA law enforcement officers to become the state recipient. Walling is assigned to Van Buren County, but works throughout the district's 12 counties. He will be recognized at the annual SEAFWA meeting in October, this year to be held in Mobile, Ala.
Also honored as TWRA region and district selections were Brandon Gavrock, Region I and Chuck Casey, District 11; Rusty Thompson, Region II and Matt Brian, District 21; Joe Pike, District 32; Gene Parker, Region IV and Ryan Rosier, District 42. The officers were selected for their efforts in teamwork, public outreach, innovation, attitude, leadership, achievements and accomplishments.
His law enforcement efforts resulted in 2,018 hunters, fishermen and boaters being inspected for compliance. These duties produced a total of 121 court citations and warnings with 35 of these being big game cases. He also assisted other officers with additional citations and warnings.
Meanwhile, Eric Anderson, of the TWRA has been honored by the Shikar–Safari Club International as its 2017 Tennessee Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Anderson serves as a wildlife officer in Sumner County. The annual award from the conservation-based organization honors the officer whose efforts during the year display outstanding performance and achievement among TWRA law enforcement personnel. Anderson is among a distinguished group of officers nationwide to receive the honor.
One-boating related fatality over Labor Day Weekend
The TWRA reported there was one boating-related fatality over the 2018 Labor Day holiday period from Aug. 31-Sept. 3. The fatal incident occurred on Tims Ford Lake on Saturday evening and involved a personal watercraft. TWRA is continuing its investigation of the incident that claimed the life of 28-year-old Zachary Davis of Christiana.
TWRA boating officers made five boating under the influence (BUI) arrests. Officers investigated other incidents which involved seven serious injuries and three which had property damage. The Labor Day incidents bring the number of fatalities to 22 in 2018. There have been 45 serious injury and 38 property damage incidents documented.
In Perry County, TWRA officers investigated a boating accident that occurred on Sept. 1. An 18-foot boat with two occupants struck a large oak tree seriously injuring both occupants. Officers say around 8:30 p.m., a 2002 18-foot Ebbtide pleasure boat operated by Windall Sanders, 48, of Lawrenceburg, and Kimberly Sanders, 47, of Jackson, were traveling Northbound near the river bank around mile marker 139. The boat struck a large oak tree that had fallen into the water. Both occupants were seriously injured and life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital.
Zebra mussels confirmed in portion of White River
Biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Fisheries Division confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in the portion of the White River just downstream of Bull Shoals Dam. Zebra mussels are an invasive species that can cause an extreme nuisance to fisheries managers by displacing native mussel populations and clogging infrastructure such as pipes and valves in dams, boats and water-control structures.
Zebra mussels have been present in Bull Shoals Lake for more than a decade and saw a large population increase in 2014 and 2015. However, this is the first sighting of the species beyond that lake.
"The species has been present in the lake since at least 2008, so their spread to the river is not a complete surprise," said AGFC Trout Management Supervisor Christy Graham. "The number of zebra mussels appears highest directly below the dam, but we have already found them up to 8 miles below the dam."
Graham says it is unclear how the mussels will impact the trout population in the White River, but district biologists have not documented any negative effects on fish populations in the lake from the species.
When will AGFC begin holding water on greentree reservoirs?
Duck hunters are already turning their eyes to duck hunting, which inevitably means more attention to Arkansas's famous greentree reservoirs. Many already are asking when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will begin intentionally holding water on these areas. Staff will capture water on about 20 percent of moist-soil units in the coming weeks to provide habitat for early migrants, but, similar to last season, intentional flooding of greentree reservoirs on AGFC wildlife management areas will not begin until Nov. 15.
Jason Jackson, wetland program coordinator for the AGFC says the shift is slow, but undeniable.
"The red oaks are still being replaced by less desirable species," said Jason Jackson, wetland program coordinator for the AGFC. "But it's happening slowly, and many hunters don't recognize the change. Two noticeable symptoms of the damage hunters may recognize are large dead branches in the trees and swelling at the base of the trunk."
Jackson says historic flooding and drying cycles ebbed and flowed and were much later in the year. This allowed the red oak species to become established as part of the forest.
Revised Chronic Wasting Disease regulations adopted
The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has adopted regulations for the revised Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zone for the 2018-2019 hunting season. Regulations were approved after the 30-day comment period and take effect immediately. The new zone includes portions of Issaquena, Sharkey, and Warren counties and is identified as all areas south of Highways 14 and 16, areas west of the Yazoo River, all portions of Warren County, and all areas east of the Mississippi River.
The supplemental feeding ban and permitted hog trapping are lifted in Claiborne, Hinds, and Yazoo counties. Within the revised zone, supplemental feeding is banned and hog trapping must be permitted through Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP). Also, no portions of cervid carcasses may be transported outside of the zone.
Be on the lookout for banded doves
Hunters should be on the lookout for banded doves in their harvest and report them by calling the phone number listed on the band. Information from band returns is shared with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to estimate trends in dove populations and harvest rates that will aid conservation efforts.
Jones named Area Conservationist
The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is pleased to announce that Dennis Jones has been named Area Conservationist. Jones and will oversee 24 NRCS Field Service Centers in the southern counties of Mississippi.
"I am very humble, grateful and excited to serve as the Area Conservationist in Area 3," Jones said. "I look forward to continuing working with our partners and the landowners in fulfilling NRCS's mission of Helping People, Help the Land."
Jones, a native of Waynesboro, Miss., has been involved in agriculture all his life. As a child, he worked on his grandmother's beef cattle farm and frequently assisted his father, who worked with the Mississippi State Extension Service as a county agent and district program director. Throughout high school and college, he worked as a farm manager on a horse and beef cattle farm in Wayne County.
Jones, a 1999 graduate of Wayne County High School, received a scholarship to play football and pursue a degree in General Agriculture at Alcorn State University. He graduated cum laude from Alcorn in 2003.
MDC asks deer hunters to help limit CWD spread
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds deer hunters that properly disposing of carcasses of harvested deer is important in limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). MDC also reminds hunters who harvest deer, elk, or moose outside of Missouri and bring the animals back to follow related regulations to help limit the spread of CWD.
CWD has been found in Missouri and is slowly spreading. MDC needs the help of hunters to help limit its spread.
Also, the MDC wants deer hunters to know that it is offering free chronic-wasting-disease (CWD) sampling and testing of deer harvested anywhere in the state throughout the entire deer hunting season through Jan. 15. The sampling is voluntary and hunters can also get free test results for their deer.
Hunters can have their deer sampled at 11 select MDC offices around the state. Hunters can also take their deer to 64 participating taxidermists and meat processors located in the 48 counties of MDC's CWD Management Zone. (See map for CWD Management Zone counties.)