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Kentucky Lake Events
"ShortcastS" 

By Steve McCadams


PARIS-HENRY COUNTY DUCKS UNLIMITED BANQUET ARRIVES

The Paris-Henry County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet on Saturday, November 4 at Henry County Fairgrounds.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. A live and silent auction will follow.

Single tickets are $50 which includes DU membership and magazine. Couples are $75. Greenwings, which are members age 17 and under, are free when attending with a paid adult. Bronze sponsor level support membership is $250.

For additional information on the upcoming banquet or ticket purchases contact Justin Rawls at 731-693-8617 or Michael Culley at 731-336-3866.

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COSTA FLW SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP

The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship, which will feature more than 200 of the best regional anglers from around the world, is underway on Kentucky and Barkley lakes Nov. 2-4. The event is highlighted by a top prize of $95,000 in the Pro Division, including a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard, and an automatic qualification to the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup – the world championship of bass fishing.

Competitors qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship through five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – and an International division that features anglers from Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.

The highest finishing pro from each U.S. division and the International division will qualify for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, along with the overall top five finishers not already selected as the highest finisher of a division. A total of 11 FLW Series boaters will advance to the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup.

Weigh-ins will be held at the state park beginning at 3:30 p.m. each day. . For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

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YOUTH HUNT SUCCESSFUL

Last weekend’s first youth deer hunt of the season was a good one. Cold weather coincided with the two-day hunt and it really had deer on the move. Unofficial totals were not available at midweek but from the sound of things the youngsters had one of the best hunts in several years. Watch for updates in next week’s column.

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HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY

Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is open for the season. Participating deer processors throughout the state are now accepting donations of whole deer to feed local families in need.
This year, more than 80 deer processors in 66 counties are accepting deer donations. In Henry County that includes K&J Meat Processing, Yoder Brothers Processing, and Henry County Sheriff's Department. Contact information and additional processors in neighboring counties may be found by visiting tnwf.org/processors.
Hunters for the Hungry is a unique program providing healthy protein to hungry Tennesseans. When hunters harvest a deer, they may donate it to Hunters for the Hungry at a participating processor. The venison is processed for free or at a reduced rate and then provided to area food banks or soup kitchens. One deer provides as many as 168 meals of venison.
“For the first time ever, we have full funding in Tennessee. Every participating processor has funds to accept 10 or more donated deer at no cost to the hunter,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “We were able to expand the program this year thanks to the hard work of high schoolers across the state who raised money as part of the Hunger Challenge.”
Donations above the funded allotment are also accepted. Hunters may redeem Deer Coins purchased from Tennessee Wildlife Federation or pay a reduced, $50 processing fee directly to the processor to cover processing costs.
Both 2015 and 2016 were record seasons for Hunters for the Hungry. Tennessee Wildlife Federation is hoping to continue the trend—making the 2017 season the most impactful yet and providing more meals to those in need.
“Hunters for the Hungry is in its 20th year in Tennessee and has provided nearly 6 million meals in that time,” Simcox said. “The program also connects hunters to their communities, allows them more opportunities to hunt, and helps better control our state’s deer population.”

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WINGS OF WINTER BIRDING FESTIVAL

A unique group of agencies and organizations have teamed up to produce “Wings of Winter Birding Festival” on January 19-21, 2018. The Festival will be focused on the areas around Kentucky and Barkley Lake but will be based at Paris Landing State Park., The many birding field trips include Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge , Kentucky Dam, Land Between the Lakes, Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Harmon Creek Wildlife Management Area. Workshops will also be offered in Wildlife Photography, Beginning Birding, and Journaling / Poetry Writing in regards to Ornithology

An impressive list of agencies and groups have come together to make this first birding festival a memorable one. Those include the Paris/Henry County Chamber of Commerce, Paris Landing State Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Southeastern Avian Research, Stewart County, Tennessee Ornithological Society, and Kentucky Ornithological Society.

The weekend will begin with a special pre-festival half day birding field trip on Friday, January 19th led by the keynote speaker Julie Zickefoose and refuge manager Rick Eastridge to Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge. Birders will get a chance to see the heart of this refuge when it is completely filled with wintering waterfowl and other species. A Friday night reception beginning 5:30 pm at the State Park Inn and will feature Brian Fox Ellis speaking at 7:00 pm as John James Audubon.

Saturday, January 20th will be filled with four all day field trips that include travel and a box lunch. These field trips will begin and end at Paris Landing State Park and will be led by agency staff and expert birders. The all day trips will include Land Between the Lakes, with a stop at the Woodlands Nature Center, Kentucky Dam with stops at local hotspots along the way.

Two Different trips will go to different areas of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge that include sanctuary areas of the Duck River Bottoms, and the Big Sandy Unit including a stop at the refuge Visitor Center, Big Sandy Peninsula and Pace Point, considered one of the top ten birding locations in the state.

For more detailed information on the festival, or field trips please see the Paris/Henry County Chamber website
 www.paristnchamber.com/wingsofwinter or call
731-642-2091.
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DOVE SEASON REOPENS

The second segment of Tennessee three-segment dove season opens October 14 and runs through November 5. Bag limit remains at 15 birds daily. The third and final segment opens December 8 and runs through January 15, 2018.

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HIGH SCHOOL BASS TEAM SEEKS HELP

The newly formed Henry County High School Bass Team, which is comprised of 16 young anglers from Grove and Henry County High School, needs some assistance during their upcoming tournament trail.

“We are in need of volunteers with bass boats who are willing to captain a team of two students in the upcoming tournaments.,” said Jennifer Nanney. “The students do not have to have the same captain all season, so even if someone could go to only one tournament that would be very helpful. The tournaments are in West Tennessee and are held on Saturdays with Fridays being "practice" days.

“Kandi Ellis is the coach and faculty advisor for the team. The community has been very generous financially and very supportive of getting this team put together,” continued Nanney.

The captain is required to be fingerprinted ($30), pass the background check and provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $300,000.

The team’s tournament schedule is as follows:

September 16 Pick wick

October 7 Pebble Island

March 10 Normandy

March 31 Birdsong

April 14 Perryville


For additional information or to assist the team contact Nanney at 731-363-4707 or via email jennifernanney@hotmail.com. You may also contact Kandi Ellis at ellisk@henryk12.net.

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AMERICA LOVES THE OUTDOORS…HIGH SCHOOL BASS TEAM SEEKS HELP

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching?.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important.”

The survey, the 13th in a series conducted nearly every five years since 1955, shows that the most substantial increases in participation involve wildlife-watching—observing, feeding and photographing wildlife. The report indicates these activities surged 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, from 71.8 million to 86 million participants during that time. Expenditures by wildlife watchers also rose sharply—28 percent—between 2011 and 2016, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Around-the-home wildlife-watching increased 18 percent from 2011, from 68.6 million in 2011 to 81.1 million participants in 2016. More modest gains were made for away-from-home wildlife watchers: 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2016, from 22.5 million to 23 million participants.

More Americans also went fishing. The report indicates an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation—10 percent—were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.

Hunting participation dropped by about 2 million participants but still remained strong at 11.5 million hunters. Total expenditures by hunters declined 29 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $36.3 billion to $25.6 billion. However, expenditures for related items such as taxidermy and camping equipment experienced a 27-percent uptick, and hunting trip-related expenses increased 15 percent.

This year’s survey also gathered two new categories of data: archery and target shooting. Findings show there are more than 32 million target shooters using firearms and 12.4 million people engaged in archery, not including hunting.

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PUBLIC HUNT OPPORTUNITIES LACKING AS DOVE SEASON OPENS

Dove hunters looking for a place to go are once again disappointed in the lack of fields from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency as the season opener arrives.

Rainy skies could dampen the spirits for opening day dove hunters and linger throughout the Labor Day holiday period.

Odds are wheat fields are muddy as are most any grain fields in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey whose backwash has swept over much of Tennessee this week and drenched the region.

Dove season opens on Friday, Sept. 1 at noon. It’s the annual start of one of Tennessee’s most long-standing outdoor traditions.

Tennessee’s 2017 season is again divided into three segments: Sept. 1 through Sept. 28; Oct. 14 through Nov. 5; and Dec. 8 through Jan. 15, 2018. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Although the Volunteer State has a three segment season, the lion’s share of hunters take to the field the first week of season. After that, doves seem to scatter and hunters just don’t congregate with as much enthusiasm as opening week hunts generate.

Unfortunately for regional hunters there aren’t many public hunt opportunities. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has a field at Camden Bottoms Wildlife Management Area but odds are it will be crowded. Too many people jammed into a place because they had nowhere else to go!

No leased fields were posted in this area on TWRA’s website---www.tnwildlife.org--- at midweek. Each year the agency tells hunters to log onto their website for places to hunt but the agency’s track record on public dove field leases and even on its own WMAs hasn’t been too good in the eyes of most hunters seeking a place to go.

In times past TWRA worked up fields on its open acreage at Harmon’s Creek near Big Sandy and also at Big Sandy and Old Union units. None of those will have hunts this year!

A few fields are scattered across West Tennessee on some WMA acreage but it pales in comparison to what is needed to accommodate a population yearning for somewhere to go and introduce that youngster to the great sport of dove hunting.

The agency’s attempt to lease private fields from farmers or landowners has not worked well in this area for years. Fact is, landowners have never embraced TWRA’s leasing program as payments don’t offer farmers enough to make it attractive.

That’s more the reason TWRA should make an effort to provide hunters with opportunities on its own wildlife management areas, many of which are growing up in weeds and bushes. Deer and turkey are thriving. Quail have all but vanished. Rabbits are somewhat scarce.

The agency ought to be able to put some acreage toward public dove fields and still provide habitat for these other species at the same time.

When people have no place to hunt they no longer buy hunting and fishing licenses!

Not only should the agency devote more attention to this scenario from its budget but it also receives money from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service via excise taxes collected under the Pittman-Robertson Act from the purchase of hunting supplies.

The Pittman–Robertson Act took over a pre-existing 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition. Instead of going into the U.S. Treasury as it had done in the past, the money is kept separate and is given to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the States.

The Secretary determines how much to give to each state based on a formula that takes into account both the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.

States must fulfill certain requirements to use the money apportioned to them. Acceptable options include research, surveys, management of wildlife and/or habitat, and acquisition or lease of land.

Meanwhile, if you’re fortunate to receive an invitation from a private landowner or find somewhere else to hunt the daily bag limit for doves is 15. For additional info log onto www.tnwildlife.org.
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      EARLY SEASON ON GEESE

Tennessee’s early season for resident Canada geese will be open September 1-15. Each year the state holds a couple of segments offering waterfowlers a chance at resident geese, which are continue to expand in numbers.

Another segment will open October 14-31 statewide but only for the dates of October 14-18 in the Northwest Canada Goose Zone. Daily bag limit will be three in both the September and October seasons.

Hunters age 16 and over are reminded to stop by a U.S. Post Office and purchase your Federal Duck Stamp to accompany state licenses before heading out.
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TEAL/WOOD DUCK SEASON

Waterfowlers across Tennessee can get a jump start on the winter duck season when the early wood duck and teal combo season opens September 9 for a five day stretch. Another four days of teal only are tacked on to the end of the combo season.

Dates of the wood duck and teal combo are September 9-13; the teal only segment is September 14-17. Waterfowlers are reminded to obtain the Federal Duck Stamp for anyone age 16 and over. And, make sure you have the proper supplemental licenses if you hunt wildlife management areas.
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SQUIRREL SEASON OPENS

Tennessee’s squirrel season opens at first light Saturday morning. While a few dedicated hunters still partake of the traditional sport, numbers of squirrel hunters have diminished dramatically over the years.

It’s still popular, mind you, but not as much as two or three generations ago when it was indeed a Tennessee tradition. In the old days a lot of folks lived on the farm and for many in the rural areas it was not only a sport but a means of putting food on the table.

It’s always been a great time to introduce a youngster to the sport of hunting and the outdoors in general. That hasn’t changed.

No doubt a few youngsters will make their maiden voyage into the dark woods Saturday morning courtesy of a caring father, grandfather, uncle or family friend. Maybe an older brother who has passed down a family shotgun or rifle which has ventured into the tall timber many times but in many different hands.

Do your part to help introduce that youngster to a quiet woods in the weeks ahead where the bushy tails are cutting acorns while playing their game of hide and seek.

Although season runs all the way through the end of February, the lion’s share of hunting takes place in the first few weeks.

Here’s hoping you take the time and effort to introduce a youngster to great sport of squirrel hunting. The hunt can be quite a field trip and time shared in the outdoors with friends and family is never wasted.
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DUCKS UNLIMITED REACHES MILESTONE

    Memphis based Ducks Unlimited has achieved a conservation milestone with more than 14 million acres of habitat conserved in North America. The groundbreaking number is a cumulative accomplishment of the millions of DU volunteers and partners who have been a part of the organization over the past 80 years.

    “As we celebrate our 80th anniversary, this milestone is a fitting tribute to the hard work of each and every volunteer, partner and staff member who has contributed to our mission over the past 80 years,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “If not for their dedication and commitment to conservation, this accomplishment would not have been possible.”

    Such conservation gains did not come easily in the face of ongoing threats to waterfowl and their habitats. Loss of wetlands across North America is a challenge DU volunteers take seriously, and their efforts will continue into the future. Although DU has successfully conserved more than 14 million acres of critical wetlands and associated habitat since our founding in 1937, wetland losses continue.

    In the last 50 years alone, the United States has lost more than 17 million acres of wetlands. As human populations grow, demands for clean and plentiful water for use at home and in many agricultural and industrial processes also increase.

    Ducks Unlimited – working with partners – provides valuable, on-the-ground solutions that benefit waterfowl populations and maximize water resources through the dynamic natural functions of wetlands. In addition to providing habitat for waterfowl, wetlands naturally slow and store water to help recharge watersheds and aquifers, improve water quality through biological and physical processes and provide important wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

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TROUT MANAGEMENT

The deadline is here to submit comments on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division’s latest draft of its Statewide Trout Management Plan. The plan is ready for review on the TWRA website in the “For Anglers” section. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 4.

The scope of this plan is to provide guidance for the conservation and management of Tennessee’s cold water resources on a statewide level and not to address the needs of any specific body of water.

The public is asked to provide comments on the Statewide Trout Management Plan. To provide comments, email TWRA at TWRA.TroutComments@tn.gov.

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BATS GET HELP

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week over $1 million in grants to 37 states to help combat white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed millions of North American bats in recent years. Funds will help states find ways to prevent the spread of WNS while increasing survival rates of afflicted species.

This financial support is part of a Service-led, cooperative, international effort involving more than 100 state, federal, tribal, academic and non-profit partners.

“White-nose syndrome has ravaged bat populations in many parts of this nation. Funding from the Service provides state fish and wildlife agencies with critically important support to manage and mitigate the spread of the disease to new areas of the country,” said Nick Wiley, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “The Association greatly appreciates the Service’s role in coordinating a national response to white-nose syndrome and the funding support for state responses to this wildlife disease crisis.”

First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, the fungus has now spread to 33 states and five Canadian provinces and infects eight of the top 10 agricultural producing states. Insect- eating bats keep agricultural pest populations down, saving farmers at least $3.7 billion per year in lost crop revenue and preventing the need for spraying costly toxic chemicals. Some farmers install “bat box” homes to increase the number of bats protecting their crops.

“Bats are beneficial in many ways,” said Jeremy Coleman, National White-nose Syndrome Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “While state natural resource agencies are on the front lines of bat conservation, many have limited options for responding to this devastating disease without these funds. Activities supported by state WNS grants have been critical to the national response.”

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WILDLIFE COMMISSION UPDATE

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission held its March meeting that featured five new commissioners and the first meeting chaired by Jamie Woodson.

The one-day meeting was held recently in Nashville. The new commissioners introduced were Angie Box (Jackson, TFWC District 8), Brian McLerran (Moss, District 3), Kent Woods (Kodak, District 2), Dennis Gardner (Lakeland, Statewide), and James Stroud (Dyersburg, Statewide).

Frank Fiss, Chief of Fisheries, presented an update on Asian carp that have invaded Tennessee’s waterways. Wild populations of black, grass, bighead, and silver carp have established populations in the Mississippi River, and grass, silver and bighead carp have already entered the Tennessee and Cumberland River systems.

Fiss said during his presentation that TWRA always reminds anglers that these invasive species should never be used as live bait, because this could spread them into additional waters. Control efforts are currently limited to commercial fishing.

TWRA fisheries managers lack some critical information about the movements and population dynamics of these species, according to Fiss. TWRA recently secured federal funding and will be partnering with the Tennessee Tech University to conduct research needed to learn more about future control strategies beyond commercial fishing.

Mike Butler, chief executive officer of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, presented a resolution approved by the federation’s board of directors. The resolution called for the TWRA to formulate a statewide strategic whitetail deer management plan.

The last strategic plan for whitetail deer has expired. The resurgence of whitetail deer is regarded as one of the state’s greatest conservation restoration stories.
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YOUTH TURKEY HUNT GIVES YOUNGSTERS FIRST SHOT

Young boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 will get the first shot at a Tennessee turkey when a special two-day opens this weekend just for them.

Each year youngsters get a couple of days to kick-start their season before the regular statewide season opens.

Tennessee’s 2017 spring turkey season opens on Saturday, April 1 and continues through Sunday, May 14.

Weather is on the minds of adults and youngsters as thunderstorms and high winds are in the forecast for opening morning. Although it will be warmer the unstable weather could be a factor.

Spring turkey harvest numbers have been consistent for a number of years in Tennessee. Tennessee turkey hunters have passed the 30,000 harvest mark for 14 consecutive years during the spring hunting season.

Hunting hours for turkeys are 30 minutes prior to legal sunrise until legal sunset. Legal hunting equipment includes shotguns using ammunition loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller. There is no restriction on number of rounds in magazine. Longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows are permitted.

Firearms and archery equipment may have sighting devices except those devices utilizing an artificial light capable of locating wildlife. Night vision scopes are illegal.

Bag limits are one bearded turkey per day, not to exceed four per season. Any turkeys harvested during the young sportsman hunt count toward the spring season limit.

More information on the 2017 spring turkey season can be found in the 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide. The guide is available at TWRA offices, license agents, and online at www.tnwildlife.org.

TURKEY SEASON TAKES FLIGHT

Tennessee’s statewide turkey season opens Saturday and it appears nice weather will help kick off the first morning on the right foot.

After the Saturday opener season runs all the way through May 14, giving hunters a wide window of opportunity.

Last weekend kicked off the season for the annual youth hunt, a two day event for youngsters to have the first shot of the season. However, high winds did not work in favor of the youngsters and it was a tough weekend to hunt.
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TWRA OFFERS SEED

Mixed seed for food-plots are now available. Each year the agency offers a limited supply free of charge. For see in this area contact TWRA’s Henry County wildlife officers Greg Barker at 731-336-9665 or Steve Brewer at
615-308-5775.
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LEAVE WILDLIFE IN THE WILD

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials notice an increase in illegal removal of wildlife each spring. Not only is taking wildlife from nature unlawful, it can have harmful effects on humans, pets and overall wildlife populations. Animals most often taken include squirrels, fawns, turtles and even baby raccoons. Sometimes the intent is to care for a seemingly abandoned animal. Other times, it is simply out of the selfish intent of making the animal a pet.

Removing any wild animal without proper permitting is illegal and it is most often to the detriment of wildlife. Negative effects on humans and pets include the transmittal of parasites, bacteria such as salmonella, fungi and other wildlife diseases. Additionally, pets can pass these things to wildlife making it impossible for an animal to be returned to the wild.

Moving wildlife or taking it into a home can even affect overall wildlife populations. One animal significantly affected is the, Eastern box turtle. “Turtles are long-lived, slow to reproduce animals. Removing just one can impact the population of an area. Distressed turtle populations take much longer to recover than other faster breeding animals,” stated Chris Simpson, Region III Wildlife Diversity Biologist. Additionally, some wildlife also have breeding site fidelity, meaning they will not reproduce unless they are in the area where they were born or typically reproduce.

If someone finds an obviously sick or injured wild animal they should contact a wildlife rehabilitator or call TWRA. TWRA maintains a list by county of rehabilitators that can be found at tnwildlife.org. Individuals that find what they believe to be an orphaned animal should leave the animal alone. The vast majority of the time, mothers collect their young.

Even animals that have apparently fallen from a nest or tree are most often cared for by their mothers. In addition, laws forbid the movement of wildlife. A property owner that traps a nuisance animal cannot move the wild animal to another location. This law is in place to keep wildlife disease from spreading to unaffected populations.

Should someone know of an individual removing wildlife or harboring wildlife illegally, they should call their regional TWRA office. “There is absolutely no reason for anyone to have a wild animal in their home,” stated wildlife officer McSpadden. “Please help us with our mission and leave wildlife where it belongs.”

For more information regarding wildlife rehabilitators visit: http://www.tn.gov/twra/article/wildlife-rehabilitators-educators.

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LABRADOR RETRIEVER TOP DOG

The Labrador Retriever does it again! In a press conference today at its new pet care space, AKC Canine Retreat, the American Kennel Club (AKC®), the nation’s largest purebred dog registry, is announcing that the intelligent, family friendly Lab firmly holds on to the number one spot on the most popular list for a record-breaking 26th consecutive year.

The Lab's eager to please temperament is just one of many reasons why this ideal family dog takes top honors year after year. They also excel at dog sports (like dock diving), make fantastic K-9 partners, and have even been known to save lives. On top of all that, they're also pretty cute.

While the Labrador Retriever continues its reign as America’s dog, the Rottweiler has been slowly but surely rising up the list over the past decade. The confident, loyal and loving Rottie was the eighth most popular breed in 2016, its highest ranking since landing at number two in 1997. The Rottweiler has risen nine spots over the past decade and is poised for a comeback.

“The Labrador Retriever has a strong hold on the top spot, and doesn’t show signs of giving it up anytime soon,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. “The Lab is such a versatile dog that it’s no wonder it makes a great companion for a variety of lifestyles. Keep your eye on the Rottweiler, though. It’s been quietly winning hearts over the past decade.”
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DUCKS UNLIMITED FILMS

Ducks Unlimited is launching another season of its acclaimed online film series, “DU Films,” in March. Watch a preview of this year’s series, as well films from previous seasons, at www.ducks.org/dufilms.

This series is a departure from traditional outdoor shows. Each film features thrilling hunting footage but also tells a story about waterfowl hunters who are passionate about hunting and giving back to the resource. DU Films presents all of this through breathtaking waterfowl footage and intimate conversations with hunters across North America.
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REFUGE AREAS REOPEN TO BOATERS, ANGLERS AND WILDLIFE VIEWERS


The seasonally closed roads and bays at the Tennessee and Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge will re-open as of Thursday, March 16th. These areas have been closed from November 15 – March 15 to lessen disturbance to wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds on both these refuges.

You’re encouraged to visit the refuges to enjoy a variety of wildlife-dependent recreational activities including fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, and wildlife photography. Please keep in mind that the refuge is open during daylight hours only.

Locally, popular areas reopening on the Big Sandy unit will be Swamp Creek and the Sulphur Well basin up Big Sandy River, along with Bennett’s Creek over on the Tennessee River sector.
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BIG DOG PREDATOR HUNT RESULTS

Last Saturday’s 17th Annual Big Dog Predator Hunt had a big turnout. There were 90 teams participating and several ventured to the Paris area from distant towns.

Taking first place team honors with three coyotes weighing a total of 105.4 pounds was the team of Randy Coe and Mike Catlett of Camden. Prize for the biggest coyote went to Jimmy Jackson and Shane Koch of Paris for one weighing 42.8 pounds. The small dog prize went to Jamie and Jessica Bethune of Munford for one weighing 22.2 pounds.

“This was our largest turnout ever so we were glad to see the participation level increasing,” said event spokesman Randall Bowden. “It was a windy day and that works against coyote hunters but they still managed to take 40 coyotes and one was a solid black coyote, which is unusual!”
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BOAT SALES INCREASE

The National Marine Manufacturers, representing the nation’s recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, says it expects unit sales of new powerboats to increase between six and seven percent in 2017, reaching an estimated 250,000 boats sold last year as consumer confidence soars and manufacturers introduce products attracting younger boaters. In addition to unit sales of new boats, recreational boating industry dollar sales are expected to rise between 10-11 percent from $8.4 billion.

In fact, as one of the few original American-made industries – 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S. – recreational boating is seeing some of its healthiest gains in nearly a decade, a trajectory the NMMA expects to continue through 2018.

“With the U.S. boating industry having one of its strongest years in the last decade, and manufacturers saying, ‘we’re back!’, it’s likely we will reflect on this period as a golden age for our economy and our industry,” notes Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Economic indicators are working in the industry’s favor—a continuously improving housing market, strong consumer confidence, growing disposable income and consumer spending, and low interest rates all contribute to a healthy recreational boating market. Looking ahead, 2017 is likely to bring new dollar and unit sales gains on par with or better than 2016, and this trend will likely continue through 2018.”
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SQUIRREL TAILS OR FISH TALES?

How does a squirrel’s tail turn into a fishing tale?

Wisconsin based Sheldon’s, a lure manufacturer of the poplar Mepps spinners continues to ask hunters to save their squirrel tails. The tails are used for their hand-tied, dressed hooks of their world-famous, fish-catching lures. They've been recycling squirrel tails for over half-a-century.

“Squirrels are good eating and we can reuse their tails for making the world's #1 lure,” explains Mepps Communications Director, Josh Schwartz. “Consider harvesting squirrels for the 2016 hunting season.”

Mepps buys fox, black, grey and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for tails, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.

Schwartz reminds everyone, "We do not advocate harvesting of squirrels solely for their tails."

For details on the Squirrel Tail Program, either visit our web site www.mepps.com/squirrels or call 800-713-3474.

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TURKEY SEASON 2016

    Turkey time is about over for Tennessee sportsmen, at least as far as the spring season goes.

    The statewide season began back on the first Saturday in April. Young turkey hunters got an ever earlier start when the special youth hunt allowed for a two-day hunt the last weekend in March.

    It has been a pretty good season overall according to local turkey hunters. According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency harvest numbers are similar to last year as the season winds down.

    Tennessee turkey hunters have surpassed the 30,000 harvest mark for the 14th consecutive year. With less than a week remaining total harvest numbers stood at 30,376 as compared to 30,002 for the same period last year. 

    According to TWRA data Maury County is on pace to be the top harvest county again this year with its current harvest at 895. Rounding out the current top 10 counties are Montgomery (828), Greene (715), Dickson (700), Sumner (653), Wilson (605), Stewart (553), Henry (548), Robertson (546), and Rutherford (506).
   
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COUGARS IN TENNESSEE

Cougars in Tennessee you say? The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced that it has created its page on its website with information on cougars for the public.

Recent cougar sightings have been confirmed at four locations in Tennessee and the TWRA is taking a proactive stance in making information available. The cougar has not been seen in Tennessee since the early 20th century until recently. Cougars primarily inhabit the western region of the United States and extend to the east as far as the western edge of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and close to the eastern borders of Colorado and Texas.

The information can be viewed on the TWRA website (www.tnwildlife.org0 and click on the “Cougars in Tennessee” icon located on the top of the front page.
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  HUNTER ED SIGN-UP REQUIRED ONLINE

Registration for a Tennessee Hunter Education course will be required to be made on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.

On the TWRA website, those wishing to register for a class will click the “register for a hunter education class” link. Once clicking the link, there will be directions to search for hunter education classes closest to your area.

Registration must be completed prior to the starting date of a class to ensure a spot in a particular class. For those persons without computer access, they are encouraged to visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance.

Advance registration provides more time for instructors to devote to students. It also provides a quicker method for the registration process.
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 FIRST FALCON TRAPPING IN 50 YEARS

The first Peregrine falcon has been trapped in Tennessee in more than 50 years on the banks of the Mississippi River by a Carroll County resident. Tennessee was awarded one permit by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing the trapping of one Peregrine falcon for the use in falconry beginning in 2011 in selected West Tennessee counties.

Brian Brown, of Clarksburg, made the historic capture. He used a Dho-ghazza net and lured the Peregrine he has named “Belle.” He brought the bird to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Nashville for the proper processing.

Peregrine falcons were the primary bird used in falconry for hunting in the 1800s. The population of Peregrine falcons, through state and federal conservation efforts, has recovered enough since their near-extinction in the early 20th century to allow for a limited take of these birds for the use in falconry. Tennessee was allowed to issue a pair of permits this year.

“This is a true mark of success in our conservation to reestablish the population of these birds,” said Walter Cook, TWRA Captive Wildlife Coordinator. “Once again, this was an effort supported and carried out by falconers.”

Belle is believed to be one of the few trapped recently in the southeast. A Peregrine was trapped in the Jonesboro, Ark. area during the prior week. Brown plans to have Belle go through a brief training period prior to her being used as his hunting bird.

Belle weighed just under two pounds on her visit to the TWRA. Peregrines have a body length of 13 to 23 inches and a wingspan ranging from 29 to 47 inches. The Peregrine is famous for reaching speeds of more than 200 mph during its characteristic high speed dive.

The Peregrine's range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It is the world's most widespread raptor.
  

   Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.

 
 


 


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