Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency news

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Deadline is tonight to apply for elk hunt 

Sportsmen have until midnight (Central Time) on May 31 to submit their application for Tennessee’s annual elk hunt.

The hunt will be held Oct. 15-19 at the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area where there will be five elk hunting zones designated.

Hunters may apply anywhere hunting licenses are sold or online at www.tnelkhunt.org.

As in the previous three hunts, five people will be selected to participate. Four will be selected through a computer drawing conducted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). 

Nonresident applicants will be restricted to no greater than 25 percent of drawn permits. 

The fifth participant will be the recipient of a permit that is donated to a non-governmental organization, which this year is the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation.

Also this year, there will be a newly added Young Sportsman Elk Hunt. After completing the regular elk hunt draw, a special computerized youth drawing will take place for resident applicants who will be between the ages of 13-16 on opening day of the elk hunt. The lucky recipient will be awarded a special youth elk tag. 

Dates of the youth hunt will be Oct. 20-21, and the participant would be able to hunt on any of the five elk hunting zones designated at the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. A youth entering the draw must designate if he or she would prefer to participate in the youth hunt or regular hunt, if drawn.

There is no application fee for current Tennessee Annual Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders or an Annual Senior Citizen Permit (Type 167). All other applicants will be charged a $10 non-refundable permit fee, and an Internet usage fee (if applying online or by telephone). For those applying at a license agent, there is a $1 agent fee in addition to the $10 non-refundable permit fee. 

The successful applicants will be announced at the June meeting of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission in Nashville. Successful applicants will not be allowed to reapply for an elk quota hunt permit for 10 years following a successful draw.


Spring turkey harvest ranks as fourth highest

Tennessee turkey hunters posted another successful spring season, as the harvest nears 34,000 birds. The statewide spring turkey season came to a close on May 13. The harvest number stands at 33,789 birds, which is just shy of last year’s total of 34,026. This year’s harvest currently ranks as Tennessee’s fourth highest on record. The record harvest of more than 37,000 birds came in 2010.

“The 2012 spring turkey season was another successful year for turkey hunters in Tennessee,” TWRA Turkey Program Coordinator Chris Hunter said. 

“Current figures for the spring season stand at almost 34,000, which is right in line with the third best ever season from 2011.

“Tennessee seems to have hit a stable point in the turkey population, and this is where we want to be. During the spring season, we harvested over 30,000 birds for the last 10 years, and, although small fluctuations have occurred, this is expected in a long-term stable turkey population.”

Maury County again was the top county with 1,036 birds harvested, up from the 2011 total of 949. Greene County was again second with a total of 936, an increase of 40 birds from the 2011 season.

Dickson County, a past leader for the spring season, was again third with 798 birds. 

Rounding out the top 10 counties: Montgomery, 771; Sumner, 706; Henry, 696; Rutherford, 680; Bedford, 670; Lincoln, 670; and Giles, 629. Wilson County just missed the top 10 with a harvest of 623 birds.