(Updated November 7, 2017)
TWRA updates Smartphone APP
For nearly a quarter-million users of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's 'On The Go 2.0' smartphone app, finding a place in Tennessee to hunt, fish, boat and view wildlife has become easier than ever.
"We have put a lot of time into improving our app and we are happy to announce it is now available and free to all who enjoy our outdoors and want to learn more," said Michael May, a TWRA assistant director. "If you want to find a boat ramp, public land to hunt on, a convenient way to check-in big game, places where you can view birds and other wildlife, or keep up with news that pertains to the outdoors, this updated version of our app offers unlimited sources of information."
The upgrade is easier to navigate. Users can buy licenses, check big game while afield, view interactive maps, apply for quota hunts, and visit the TWRA website. One new feature includes a "Stay Connected Page." It provides easy access to TWRA's social media, Tennessee WildCast podcast, newsroom, outdoors and event calendar, and more.
Smartphone users should visit TWRA's website to install the app at www.tnwildlife.org. If the current version is already installed, Apple users can easily upgrade via their app, while Android users will need to uninstall their current app before uploading the new one.
Fisheries division announces annual awards
Duane Oyer and Rob Theurer have been honored by being named the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's Fisheries Division's biologist of the year and fisheries technician of the year. Oyer serves as the manager of Buffalo Springs Hatchery in Grainger County in TWRA Region IV. Theurer serves on the Tellico Hatchery staff in TWRA Region III.
A native of East Tennessee, Oyer began his career with TWRA in 1975 following graduation from the University of Tennessee with a degree in forestry and wildlife management. He worked as a fish culturist at Buffalo Springs for five years before becoming a wildlife manager in 1980 working in both fisheries and wildlife programs.
Theurer joined the TWRA in 1994. His years of experience in hatchery operation enables him to perform and teach other staff members the processes necessary to produce and maintain healthy fish populations in a cold water hatchery.
Fishing regulations established
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has established the state's 2018-19 sport fish and commercial fishing regulations. An amendment made during the presentation allows a no creel or size limit on crappie taken from Herb Parsons Lake to alleviate an overabundance of small crappie. The goal is to improve the size structure of the crappie population. Herb Parsons Lake is located in Fayette County.
In regard to commercial fishing, a proposed proclamation would allow commercial fishermen to harvest Asian carp from Open and Chisholm lakes in Lauderdale County adjacent to the Mississippi River. Fishermen would need landowner permission and have to tend their gill-nets at all times. The proclamation also allows commercial fisherman to harvest Asian carp from Willow Chute and Rhodes Lake in Moss Island Wildlife Management Area.
Funding available for Mississippi delta producers
The United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The funding is through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and is a stewardship partnership between NRCS, USA Rice Council and Ducks Unlimited. The RCPP program will assist landowners and rice producers that voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that help to improve irrigation water management, control sediment and nutrient runoff, and provide waterfowl habitat on rice production lands.
This financial assistance program is targeted for rice production acreage in 10 Delta counties and part of Delta counties over the alluvial aquifer that produce rice. These counties include Bolivar, Coahoma, Humphreys, Leflore, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, and Washington. The project will provide an investment of $560,000 in 2018 to Mississippi Delta rice growers.
The deadline to sign-up to be considered in the RCPP first ranking period is Nov. 17. Additional ranking deadlines may be established if additional funding becomes available. Applicants can sign up at their local NRCS office.
Keeping track of MDWFP updates from around the state
• You will be able to submit applications for waterfowl draw hunts October 30 - November 12. Participating WMAs include Charlie Capps, Howard Miller, William C. "Billy" Deviney, Mahannah, Muscadine Farms, Trim Cane, and Tuscumbia. There will also be a youth only waterfowl draw hunt at Pearl River WMA.
• To address the ever-changing needs of the state's wild turkey flock, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) recently completed development of a Comprehensive Wild Turkey Management Plan. This 42-page document is the first all-inclusive roadmap for the statewide management of the Mississippi's premier game bird. The plan reviews past major conservation actions, evaluates the current status of turkeys and turkey hunting, uses scientific studies and expert opinions to gauge the bird's primary limiting factors, and outlines strategies and actions necessary to better manage the state's flock.
• The MDWFP conducted a camera survey on a 6,000-acre tract of land in the south delta. This survey is designed to estimate the number of black bears on the tract, which is known to have a high concentration of bears. In the past, bait station camera surveys have proved to be ineffective in gathering accurate information for bears. With various wildlife species visiting the sites, the bait is only effective while it remains. Once all the bait is gone, there is no reason for a bear to visit the site. We are using a scented lure that will remain in place for a longer period and remains effective throughout each interval of when the cameras are checked, roughly every 10 days.
• Select Mississippi State Parks are offering discounted lodging rates to sportsmen during the hunting season. Many parks are conveniently located near Wildlife Management Areas and National Wildlife Refuges providing an affordable hunting camp experience. Discounted lodging rates will be offered to hunters through February 2018.
Biologists collecting deer and elk samples
Since chronic wasting disease was discovered in Arkansas in February 2016, biologists have collected thousands of samples from deer and elk taken by hunters, from targeted animals showing signs of the disease and from road-killed deer throughout the state. In addition to samples taken to establish the disease's spread and prevalence, the AGFC is offering a convenient way for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD at participating taxidermists and veterinarians.
Cory Gray, manager of the AGFC's Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division, and Jenn Ballard, the AGFC's veterinarian, reached out to taxidermists to collect samples last year from hunters turning in heads for mounts.
"Most deer turned in to taxidermists are going to be older age-class bucks, which typically have the highest prevalence of CWD of any segment of the population," Gray said. "So this was a good source for us to look for the disease throughout other portions of the state. This year we've worked with taxidermists so that hunters can get a CWD sample taken from any deer, young or old, buck or doe."
Gray stresses that heads and samples from deer taken in the 11-county CWD management zone must stay within the zone, so hunters interested in having their deer tested should plan ahead to find which sample site best fits their needs.
"We also will be manning 17 free CWD testing stations on the opening weekend of modern gun deer season," Gray said. "If someone wants to wait to have their deer tested until then, they can freeze the head, and then let it thaw and bring it to one of these stations."
MDC stocks trout in southeast Missouri lakes
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is continuing the annual winter trout program in southeast Missouri, stocking rainbow trout in Perryville's Legion Lake, Jackson's Rotary Lake and Farmington's Giessing Lake.
Legion Lake will receive 3,760 rainbow trout, Rotary Lake will receive 1,900 and another 1,200 will be stocked in Giessing Lake. In addition, each lake will receive a number of 'lunkers'. The cities of Jackson, Farmington, Perryville, as well as Perry County, the Perry County Sportsmen's Club and the Missouri Department of Conservation, purchased the trout to be stocked.
The annual winter trout fishing program begins Nov. 1, marking the opening of Missouri's winter trout season in lakes around the state. Anglers can fish for this popular cold-water fish through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis. Anglers may harvest trout as of Feb. 1, 2018.
For more information about trout stocking in southeast Missouri, contact MDC's Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at (573) 290-5730. For more information about fishing in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov/fish.