(Updated November 27, 2015)
Four Elk Taken During 2015 Hunt
Three of the five participants recorded harvests in the Tennessee Elk Hunt held Oct. 19-23 at North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.
In the Tennessee Youth Elk Hunt, held the weekend of Oct. 24-25, the participant had a harvest for the fourth time in as many years since the hunt was established. Jacob Parker, a 15-year old from Sparta, harvested a 5x6 bull elk that field dressed at 547 pounds. It marked the second straight year that the heaviest elk came from the youth hunt participant.
During the regular hunt, Knoxville resident Trevor Childs had this year's first harvest. It came in the evening on opening day and was a 4x5 elk that field dressed at 350 pounds.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation received this year's Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) permit. The permit was auctioned on eBay with the proceeds going to benefit the Tennessee Elk Restoration Program. Successful bidder Nichols Nelson of Fayetteville, N.C. had the next harvest which came on the third day as he took a 6x6, 474-pound elk.
The final harvest of the regular hunt was by Roy Bivens of Tellico Plains. He harvested a 3x5 elk weighing 266 pounds.
Each hunter was assigned a hunting zone through a random hand-held drawing. As the winner of the youth permit, Jacob Parker was able to choose any of the open zones for this year's hunt.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has worked to make elk habitat improvements at North Cumberland WMA. The first arrival of 50 animals came in December 2000, the first wild elk to be in Tennessee since they were last reported in Obion County in 1865.
2016-2017 Fishing Regulations Set
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2016-17 state sport fishing regulations at its October meeting.
The 2016-17 regulations will go into effect March 1, 2016. Several of the changes that will be on tap for anglers include size and creel limits on rivers and reservoirs across the state. Changes also will include state and agency lakes in West Tennessee.
The TWRA recognized the Tennessee Valley Authority, a long-time partner with the TWRA and TFWC. Recent significant topics include the financial assistance on access areas, birding trails, and the funding for two federal fish hatcheries in the state. On hand representing the TVA to receive a resolution noting the federal agency's contributions and assistance to the TWRA, was Rebecca Tolene, TVA Vice-President of Natural Resources.
2016-17 Sport Fishing Changes
Pin Oak Lake (Natchez-Trace State Park)-Black bass: 12-16 inch PLR (slot limit), creel limit of 10 bass per day.
Beech River Watershed Lakes
Pine Lake: Largemouth bass - Creel limit of 10 bass per day
Dogwood and Redbud lakes: Largemouth bass – 12-16 inch PLR (slot limit), creel limit of 10 bass per day.
Reckless Boating Concerns Prompt New Permit Requirement at Bayou Meto
Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today approved a regulation requiring all users to sign a permit and have it in their immediate possession while participating in any hunting-, fishing- or boating-related activity on Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area. The permit is free and can be found in the AGFC's 2015-16 Waterfowl Hunting Guidebook and on the AGFC website.
The regulation is in response to concerns involving reckless operation of boats on the WMA. With the exception of meeting oncoming boats, all boating traffic on the WMA must proceed in single-file with no passing allowed, except when boats have exited the current direction of travel or are no longer under power. All boating traffic on the WMA must maintain a minimum distance of 50 feet (approximately three-boat lengths) between boats proceeding in the same direction of travel. Hazardous and negligent boating activity is strictly prohibited and conviction can include points assessed toward revocation of a license and a one-year ban from the WMA where the violation occurred.
Bream and Catfish Stocked in Northeast State Park Lakes
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) recently stocked bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish into two Northeast state park lakes. Approximately 31,850 bluegill and 13,650 redear sunfish were stocked into Tombigbee State Park Lake near Tupelo. Trace State Park Lake, a 565 acre lake located in Pontotoc County, received 38,750 bluegill; 21,125 redear sunfish; and 10,000 channel catfish.
"Bream and catfish are very popular among anglers for their excellent table fare. Bream also serve as the primary prey species in these lakes for largemouth bass and crappie, so increasing their numbers will benefit other sport fish species as well," says Tyler Stubbs, MDWFP Fisheries Biologist .
The fish were reared at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery in Tupelo.
Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities in North Mississippi
Multiple Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in northeast Mississippi offer public hunting opportunity to pursue waterfowl during the 2015 - 2016 hunting season. Canal Section, Graham Lake, Upper Sardis, and Tuscumbia WMAs have a variety of managed and natural wetlands that attract wintering waterfowl.
Most of these WMAs have special waterfowl regulations, so hunters should be sure to read individual WMA regulations thoroughly before hunting. Of the four WMAs listed previously, Tuscumbia WMA is the only one that offers waterfowl hunting by special draw permit. The first application period for Tuscumbia WMA waterfowl draw hunts begins November 16. Draw hunt applications can be submitted at www.mdwfp.com/draws.
Regional waterfowl habitat appears to be average to above average. Frequent rains through the first of August created great conditions for moist-soil vegetation. However, more rain is needed to fill natural and managed wetlands after two months of virtually no rainfall. Prolonged snow and ice cover in the northern reaches of the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways is needed to push waterfowl south.
Duck Blinds Removed at Doug Travis WMA
Three new seasonal blind locations for waterfowl hunting at Doug Travis Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Carlisle County will not be available for hunting.
The blind locations were initially added to the Town Creek Moist Soil Unit during the August 2015 meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission. This area had been designated as a waterfowl resting area in previous years and had not been hunted.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission members at a Nov. 6 special called commission meeting voted to maintain the waterfowl resting area at the location and remove the blind locations. The Town Creek Moist Soil Unit will not be open to any waterfowl hunting.
Hunters who were initially assigned to the new blinds were shifted to other locations on the WMA.
Don't Shoot Orange-Collared Deer
As part of a research project on two state wildlife management areas and two private land sites, 90 deer in Alabama have been fitted with either VHF or GPS collars. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) asks hunters not to harvest deer with orange collars. The orange-collared deer also have yellow ear tags and should be easy to spot, according to department officials. Hunters are permitted to shoot a deer with a brown collar if they would normally do so.
Auburn University researchers, with funding from ADCNR, began this research project in 2013. Deer were collared at two private land sites in Marengo and Pickens counties, at Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area in west Alabama and at Barbour Wildlife Management area in the east-central part of the state. To accomplish this, deer were darted with a tranquilizer gun at a range of less than 20 yards. Once immobilized, researchers recorded appropriate biological data on each deer and attached either a VHF radio or GPS collar.
The VHF collars in use are brown leather collars placed around the deer's neck along with a small metal tag in one ear. Hunters are allowed to harvest deer wearing this type of collar. Researchers hope to learn more about survival and mortality rates from these collars. Deer hunters are advised to take these deer if they would normally harvest them and pass them up if they would normally do so. This guidance is provided in attempt to negate any influence that might exist simply because of the presence of collars.
The GPS collars are bright orange and the deer wearing these collars have yellow ear tags in each ear. Hunters are asked not to harvest these deer. Researchers are hoping to get two full years of movement data from the GPS collars. These collars send a location fix every hour. At the end of the two-year period, the collars are programmed to fall off the deer and researchers will be able to locate and retrieve them. At that time, the information can be downloaded and analyzed. This data should provide valuable information about deer movement, how deer react to hunting pressure and how their movement patterns change in response to the weather, breeding season and other factors.