Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency news

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TWRA addresses use of bait for hunting

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has been receiving inquiries concerning hunting with the use of bait. The statute concerning the use of bait (TCA 70-4-113) has not been changed.

However, in response to questions from hunters concerning hunting with the aid of bait, the TWRA has adopted an internal law enforcement procedure aimed at providing uniform enforcement of these regulations statewide for deer, turkey and elk. Due to a greatly different response to bait, the procedure does not apply to bear and other wildlife.

For the purpose of enforcing TCA 70-4-113 and Proclamation 10-11, a baited area shall be enforced by the following procedure:

No person may hunt wildlife while using bait or may hunt any baited area where he or she knows or reasonably should have known that the area is or has been baited. Shooting into or entering into “a baited area” for the purpose of hunting is prohibited. “A baited area” is defined as a 250-yard radius of the placement of the bait. “A baited area” will no longer be considered to be baited 10 days after all bait has been removed.


Wildlife commission sets waterfowl seasons

The 2011-12 waterfowl hunting seasons were established by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) at its August meeting.

The TWRC approved the proposals made by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The seasons reflect only calendar date changes from recent years. There will again be a 60-day season for duck hunting, with one split. The season will end Jan. 29, 2012, and there will be a bag limit of six ducks. The maximum number of days allowed for goose hunting seasons under the federal framework will also be utilized.

The Statewide Zone duck hunting seasons to be held are Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3, 2011-Jan. 29, 2012, while the Reelfoot Zone will be held Nov. 12-13 and Dec. 3, 2011-Jan. 29, 2012. The seasons will maximize the number of weekends open to duck hunting and will end on the latest date allowed (the last Sunday in January). TWRA Waterfowl Coordinator Tim White said officials report that habitat conditions in the Prairie Pothole region of the United States and Canada are reported to have been observed as the second wettest ever seen by officials. Based on these conditions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has offered a full season with no closed or partial seasons on any species. The TWRA recommendations follow the maximum USFWS frameworks regarding duck bag limits. A daily bag limit of six ducks may include no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be a hen), three wood ducks (during the late waterfowl season only), two scaup, two pintails, one canvasback and one black duck. The daily bag limit of mergansers would be five, only two which may be hooded mergansers.

Season dates for Canada geese are Oct. 8-Oct. 19, Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3, 2011-Jan. 29, 2012 in the Statewide Zone. In the Northwest Zone, the dates are Dec. 3, 2011-Feb. 12, 2012. The daily bag limit is two per person.

The white-fronted goose season runs statewide from Dec. 3, 2011-Feb. 12, 2012. The daily bag limit is two per person.

Season dates and bag limits for light geese (snow, blue, Ross) are similar to last season with a shift for the calendar. The standard season will run from Nov. 25, 2011 through Feb. 12, 2012 (standard regulations apply). Federal Conservation Order provisions allow the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns for the Feb. 13 through March 10, 2012 portion of the season. The daily bag limit of light geese is 20 per person, per day during the conservation season.

The youth waterfowl season would indicate only a calendar shift from last year. For young people ages 6-15, the Statewide Zone dates are Feb. 4-5, 2012, while the Reelfoot Zone would be Feb. 11-12, 2012.

On Wednesday, the committee meetings included information concerning wild hog management. TWRA Forestry and Wildlife Division Chief Daryl Ratajczak and Assistant Chief Gray Anderson updated members on the progress made toward the goal of controlling the state’s nuisance wild hog population. The commission heard from members of the audience who support a bigger role for hunters in this effort. All were in agreement that the new tools afforded landowners were a positive step toward better cooperation between the agricultural and wildlife communities. Some hunters expressed an interest in returning to the hunting regulations in place last season. The commission encouraged future dialog and continued discussion on the matter. Also in attendance were state representatives Jim Cobb, Jeremy Faison, and John Forgety.

TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13. He said the budget reflected virtually zero growth from the previous year and is well within the agency’s projected revenue. The commission approved the proposal following the presentation.

TWRA Fisheries Division Chief Bobby Wilson gave a preview of the 2012-13 sport fishing regulations which features only slight changes. The complete proposals for next year will be outlined in a release early next week. Sport fishing regulations are usually established during the October meeting of the TWRC.


Hunter education class set Sept. 20 at Cove Lake

Ken Cutsinger will teach a Tennessee Hunter Education Course beginning Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at Cove Lake State Park.

State law requires anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 — beginning at age 10 — possess proof of satisfactory completion of an approved hunter education course before hunting in Tennessee. In order to enroll in a hunter education class, students must be at least 10 years old. Persons age 6-9 may participate in Young Sportsman and wildlife management area hunts without hunter education, but must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old. Participants need to bring a pencil and their Social Security number to class.