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By Steve McCadams
NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK
The 2017 National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26 and the Tennessee
Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating to promote the wear of
life jackets as the summer boating season begins.
The Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day is Friday, May 19 with the goal of
demonstrating how easy it is to wear a life jacket. Participants wear a
life jacket to work, demonstrating how easy to wear one, even while at
work. Those who wear a life jacket to work are asked to have a
photograph taken and message the Wear IT! Facebook page. Group photos
are also welcome.
On Saturday, May 20, Ready, Set, Wear It! will enter its eighth year in
trying to bring awareness on the importance of life jacket wear by
holding a world record day.
The worldwide event kicks off the start of National Safe Boating Week.
Participants will again be part of the attempt to break a world record
for the most life jackets worn at one time.
Both events help usher in National Safe Boating Week which is annually
held the week prior to Memorial Day Weekend. Boating partners across the
United States and Canada are teaming to promote safe boating practices,
including the wear of life jackets for National Safe Boating Week and
throughout the 2017 boating season.
The goal of National Safe Boating Week is to educate the public about
the importance of safe boating practices and wearing life jackets while
on the water.
The second annual Bluegill Blowout fishing tournament, hosted by Henry
County’s Covenant Ranch, will be held on Saturday, May 27. Anglers can
fish anywhere on Kentucky Lake and can weigh in their best twenty fish.
The stringer may consist of bluegill, shellcracker or other sunfish.
Entry fee is $75 for a team which may consist of to three fishermen.
There is a $500 first place prize. Hours of fishing will be 7 a.m. until
3 p.m. Weigh-in will be held at Covenant Ranch, 8759 Highway 79,
Proceeds will be used for scholarships and kids bowhunting camps. For
info call 642-2099.
PRANK AT BASS PRO
A prank at a Denver Bass Pro Shops is making waves on social media,
after a teenager turned a giant fish tank at the sporting goods store
into his own personal dunk tank.
According to The Denver Post, a teenager went for a swim at a Bass Pro
Shops in Stapleton, Colorado, and the Denver Police Department is
currently investigating the incident.
“Yes, a juvenile thought it was a good idea to jump into the tank,” said
Officer Marika Putnam of the Denver Police Department.
The boy jumped from a bridge down into the fish tank, which sits right
in the middle of the store. An employee reportedly saw another teenager
filming the stunt and stated the suspect “cracked his skull on the
rocks.” The boy was not taken to the hospital for his injury, but
hopefully it knocked some sense into him.
Police have stated if there is any damage to the tank or the fish, the
boy could potentially face legal charges.
So this got us thinking, who would actually do something like this? And
a quick YouTube search would reveal this is apparently a pretty popular
“prank” to pull.
LBL SPRING SQUIRREL
Land Between the Lakes spring squirrel hunting season will open May
13-June 11 in Tennessee and May 20-June 16, in Kentucky. Hunters must
have a valid Kentucky or Tennessee state hunting license for the state
in which they are hunting. Hunters age 16 and older must also have a
Land Between the Lakes Hunter Use Permit.
These are available online, 24/7 at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/reservations/.
They are also available during regular business hours at North and South
Welcome Stations, Golden Pond Visitor Center, and wherever Kentucky and
Tennessee state hunting licenses are sold.
RECORD TURKEY TAKEN IN HENRY COUNTY?
Last Monday morning Cord Maddox of Huntingdon was hunting in Henry
County and bagged what may well be a new state record gobbler.
According to Henry County TWRA wildlife officer Greg Barker, the bird’s
weight, spurs and beard may just exceed the existing state record by a
“We don’t score turkey like we do deer as the National Wild Turkey
Federation does that,” said Barker who saw the bird and did some
measurements anyway and took some photographs.
The gobbler weighed 25.37 pounds and with all the formula figured in the
way NWTF does it this bird may well set a new record if only by a slim
margin. Barker says the existing record scored 89.50 on the NWTF listing
but Maddox’s bird appears to score 89.5625 by the NWTF formula.
Stats of the gobble showed its beard measured 12 and 7/16-inches long
with a left spur of 1 7/8 inches and a right spur at 2 1/16 inches.
Stay tuned for more on the potential record as NWTF officials weigh in
on the decision in the days ahead.
FISHING GUIDE AVAILABLE
The annual TWRA Fishing Guide, a 4-color brochure filled with
interesting info and updated regulations, is now available at license
agents and various sporting goods stores across the state. The agency
was several weeks late in getting the brochures printed and distributed
this year as all fishing regulation changes start out on March 1 each
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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).
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
HUNTER ED SIGN-UP REQUIRED
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
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
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.