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Tennessee Wildife Resources Agency news

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Fishing items discussed
at commission meeting

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) heard several fishing-related items, including an update on Tennessee’s statewide trout fishing programs, during business conducted at its September meeting in Crossville.
The commission, which will approve the 2011 sport fishing regulations at its October meeting, heard an update on a pair of changes. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) decided to keep its original recommendations concerning the size limit on crappie at Whiteville Lake in Hardeman County and the closed fishing zone on Cherokee Lake.
As was discussed during the August commission meeting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that shovelnose sturgeon be listed as a “similarity of appearance” species with the federally endangered pallid sturgeon.
Proclamation 10-12 amends the commercial fishing proclamation to prohibit the harvest of this species by commercial fishing activities in Tennessee. In addition, due to the action taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on shovelnose sturgeon, the agency is proposing to prohibit the harvest of this species by sport fishing methods as well. If sturgeons are accidentally captured, they should be released immediately.
Frank Fiss, fisheries division assistant chief for the TWRA, presented an overview of the state’s trout program, which included the species stocked, number produced, status of trout hatcheries and future management plans for various trout fisheries. The TWRA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services annually stock 2.1 million trout in Tennessee waters. The stocking program supports an estimated 640 miles of trout fishing.
The TWRC approved TWRA’s proposal to lease approximately 4,100 acres of land in an area known as Dry Creek in southern Hardin County as a wildlife management area. Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) contacted the TWRA with an offer to lease the land. The five-year lease agreement starts with the current hunting season. In July 2013, the agency will pay a $3 per acre lease fee for two years. In 2015, TWRA and PCA will evaluate the conditions of the lease and negotiate new lease terms as appropriate.
Ed Carter, executive director of the TWRA, briefed the commission on a state initiative to file a petition with the Federal Office of Surface Mining, seeking to declare certain lands along the ridge tops in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Areas as lands unsuitable for cross-ridge mining and mountain-top removal mining. The agency was asked to participate in a committee that is formulating the language for the proposed petition.
The meeting concluded Thursday (Sept. 23). The TWRC will hold its October meeting at Pickwick Landing State Park on Oct. 27-28.

Bear season now
open for archers

Tennessee’s archery-only hunting season for black bears opened on Sept. 25 and runs through Oct. 22, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
Counties open to this archery-only season are Blount, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Jefferson (east of Hwy. 411), Johnson, Monroe, Polk (east of Hwy. 411 and north of Hwy. 64), Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.
In addition, archery-only bear hunting is open on the North Cherokee WMA from Oct. 16-22. Foothills WMA in Blount County is open Sept. 25-Oct. 22.
For specific regulations on black bear hunting, refer to page 32 of the 2010 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Deer, turkey kills may be
checked in over the Internet

Deer hunters are gearing up for what looks to be a promising season.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has made it easier to accommodate hunters who may have difficulty finding an open checking station by allowing those hunters to check in their deer and wild turkeys over the Internet. The new system can be accessed by visiting www.tnwildlife.org.
“The system is open to everybody who harvests a deer or wild turkey,” said Daryl Ratajczak, big game coordinator for the TWRA.
“Although we do want our hunters to utilize our check stations, we understand it’s not always a viable option, especially on those late-night retrievals. The new system is really easy to use, but it does require that you print out your permanent kill-tag and your next temporary kill tag.”
Bears cannot be checked in over the Internet. Bears must be reported through the county checking stations. All big game animals, except wild hogs, must be checked in the same calendar day as the harvest.
A listing of county big game check-in stations can be found at www.tnwildlife.org.