(Updated May 3, 2019)
Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop set
The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Workshop is set to celebrate its silver anniversary. The 2019 workshop will be held May 31-June 2 near Crossville at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center. The popular annual event is hosted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere. The BOW workshop is an opportunity for those 18 or older to learn outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing. However, the workshop provides useful for other outdoor pursuits and interests. Workshop participants will have a chance to select from a variety of courses over the three days and the classes are taught by experts in their respective fields.
The workshop fee is $225 and includes lodging at the Clyde M York 4-H Center, meals, T-shirt, and a 2019-20 Tennessee Hunting and Fishing License. Registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications may be obtained from the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org, or any TWRA regional office. For more information contact Donald Hosse, Wildlife Education Program Coordinator, at [email protected] or telephone (615) 781-6541
Tennessee elk hunt raffle begins
An elk tag for the 2019 Tennessee elk hunt will be available again this year through a raffle to be held by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF). A single ticket is $20, three tickets are available for $50, and 10 can be purchased for $100 and are on sale now until August 2. There is no limit to the number of raffle tickets that can be purchased. The grand prize winner will have the opportunity to participate in the October 2019 rifle elk hunt in the premier Elk Hunting Zone within North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. In addition to the elk tag, the grand prize winner will also receive a Best of the West Mountain Scout Rifle, with a Huskermaw Blue Diamond long range scope and the option to have it filmed for an episode of The Best of the West Outdoor television series. In addition to the grand prize, the TWRF has secured four other prize packages. A complete list of the prizes can be found at www.twrf.net.
Raffle tickets may be purchased online directly from the TWRF website at
https://www.twrf.net/store/2019-elk-tag-raffle. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Friday, August 2 at 11:59 p.m. (CDT). The electronic drawing will be held Aug. 5 and the winners will be announced at the commission's Aug. 16 meeting.
Riverdale claims high school title at NASP
Murfreesboro Riverdale High School slipped by defending champion White County High School to earn the top spot in its division, while Stewarts Creek Middle School and East Lincoln Elementary School each claimed their third straight championships in their divisions at the 2019 Tennessee National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Championships. About 2,000 students were registered at the event. Riverdale was runner-up to White County last year and shot 3,324 to win while White County had a 3,301.
East Lincoln shot a 3,128 to win its second straight elementary division championship with a score of 3,192. Wilson Elementary was second with 3,046 followed by Christiana with a 3,028. Buchanan was fourth with a 2,966 and Dibrell fifth with a 2,897.
Meigs County High junior Caleb Smith and Siegel Middle School seventh grader Brody Harrison each shot a 294, but Caleb earned first place honors as he had 25 10s to Brody's 24. Carson Collins from Stewarts Creek Middle was third with a 292 and Taylor Parks and Zach Knowles, both from White County High, rounded out the top five overall male shooters with each shooting a 291.
Resident trout stamp fee raised to $10
With the signing of Senate Bill 486, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas General Assembly have started the ball rolling to maintain the fantastic trout fishery that draws thousands of anglers from across the country to The Natural State each year. The act will increase the cost of Arkansas's resident trout stamp from $5 to $10, with the additional proceeds devoted to trout management and hatcheries in the state.
The increase is the first for resident anglers in 32 years, and would be the first for nonresident anglers in the last 16 years if passed by the Commission. In that time, costs of operation for hatchery work, trout management and increased access for anglers have increased. The increase will enable the trout program to continue providing the world-class trout fishing experience for anglers that has made Arkansas a bucket-list destination for many fishing enthusiasts.
"The rainbow trout most anglers catch in Arkansas don't reproduce well here, so they have to be stocked through hatcheries," said Melissa Jones, manager of the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Trout Hatchery in Mammoth Spring. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery and the Norfork National Fish Hatchery for Arkansas anglers, and the AGFC supplements that with fish from our facility here in Mammoth Spring."
Jones says all AGFC hatcheries are in need of renovations, but the Spring River hatchery is the only state hatchery for the coldwater species. Aging infrastructure and recent flood damage have caused the hatchery to run at only about 50 percent of its historical production capability.
"We've had to close sections of the hatchery that had deteriorated, but before that, we were stocking about 51 percent of the trout stocked in the entire state," Jones said. "Now we're down to producing about 34 percent of the trout in the state. With a renovation, we hope to be back above that 50 percent mark."
In addition to hatchery renovations, the increased funding also will help the AGFC's Trout Management Program improve habitat and access for anglers on the White, Norfork and Little Red rivers as well as many of the smaller seasonal trout fisheries around the state.
Fishing Challenge returns to lakes Hamilton and Catherine
The eighth annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge on Lakes Hamilton and Catherine begins May 1 and runs through July 31. Sponsored by Visit Hot Springs in partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery, the challenge will feature 71 orange-tagged fish, and participation is free for anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license, according to Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs.
"One of those fish, which we always call "Big Al," will be worth $15,000 cash to anyone who can reel him in," Arrison said. "In the history of the Challenge, Big Al has only been caught one time — on June 22, 2017, by Pete Clark of Malvern. It was a largemouth bass in Lake Hamilton."
Largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, white bass and bream all will have tags, so anglers of all species can join in the fun. There's no telling what species Big Al is from year to year. Big Al has been so elusive that clues to his whereabouts are given out if he's not caught by June 1. Clues will be given June 1, July 1 and July 26, Arrison said.
McIvor Shooting Facility opens
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has opened the new McIvor Shooting Facility, located at the Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Panola and Tallahatchie counties. The new range is close to Sardis.
The McIvor Shooting Facility is a 300-acre, multi-discipline shooting sports facility representing approximately six years of effort in the planning and execution to place a state-of-the-art shooting facility in North Mississippi, just a short drive from Oxford.
The facility is the result of several individual efforts on behalf of the MDWFP, the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and Olin Chemical, the parent of Winchester Ammunition, acting through one of its charitable foundations.
The idea for such a facility had its beginning when Olin (Winchester) built and began operating an ammunition plant on the outskirts of Oxford in rural Lafayette County.
"McIvor provides a public facility where people in the northern part of the state can have a place to go and shoot and feel comfortable doing it," said Capt. Scottie Jones of MDW-FP Law Enforcement division and McIvor project manager. "Our key goal is to provide facilities where people go out and enjoy shooting sports. Some of the big programs we have in shooting sports are the Mississippi Scholastic Shooting Program, where schools can compete in the shotgun sports—sporting clays, skeet, trap, and five stand. We also have archery programs within the agency. We're hoping that youth will one day want to take the next step and go hunting and fishing."
The facility features a 3D archery range that simulates real-world hunting situations. Visitors can engage animal targets such as deer on a trail through a forested area. Facility managers can move the targets and make adjustments to the trail on the fly, which keeps the experience fresh for visitors.
With parking for more than 200 vehicles, plus several spots to accommodate pull-behind trailers, MDWFP officials expect McIvor to be a top draw for hunters and target shooters across the region.
Young turkey hunters harvest 2,540 birds during youth weekend
According to preliminary data from Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), young turkey hunters harvested 2,540 turkeys during the 2019 spring youth season, April 6 and 7. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 61 turkeys harvested, Laclede with 56, and Texas with 52. Warm weather and sunny skies helped increase this year's youth-weekend harvest over last year's where young hunters checked 1,729 turkeys.
Augusta angler snags state-record gizzard shad
The MDC reports Brian Rehmeier of Augusta became the record-breaking angler in Missouri when he snagged a gizzard shad on Bigelow Creek in St. Charles County. The new "alternative method" record fish caught by Rehmeier weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces with a length of 17.9 inches. Rehmeier's recent catch broke the previous state-record of a 2-pound, 6-ounce caught in 2017.