(Updated June 8, 2016)
Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge Annual Youth Fishing Rodeo
It's that time of year – don't you just want to be outdoors? What better way to introduce a child in your life to the outdoors than through fishing. National Fishing and Boating Week is designed to introduce people of all ages to the sport of fishing. To celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, TWRA and Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge are hosting the Annual Youth Fishing Rodeo on Saturday, June 11th, 2016. The fishing rodeo will be held on Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge at the pond next to the deer check station, just south of the refuge headquarters off of Hwy. 76. The fishing rodeo is open to kids 12 years old and younger. Fishing will start at 6:30 a.m. and last until 10:30 a.m. The rodeo will be held at Tanner Adams Lake on Highway 76 S just past the refuge Headquarters (three miles south of Exit 56 and one and half miles north of Exit 52 from Hwy 76).
Please bring your own fishing pole. Only live bait will be allowed. Door prizes will be given away to participants at the end of the rodeo. The staff of Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge and TWRA invites you to join us for a day full of family fun. For additional information regarding the fishing rodeo or to obtain directions, please contact Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge (731) 772-0501.
Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System that includes over 150 million acres managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge provides essential habitat for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, as well as other birds, during each winter migration. The refuge also provides year-around habitat to many other species of wildlife and plants.
Canoe on Oneal Lake at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
Start your summer off right by joining Refuge staff at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge for a FREE guided canoe trip around Oneal Lake on Thursday, June 2nd from 9am-10:30am. We will watch for wildlife as we canoe through lily pads, bald cypress trees, and open water. Come explore the refuge by canoe and learn more about your local flora and fauna! Registration is required. A limited number of canoes and lifejackets are provided. Please provide your own life-jacket for youth under 10 years of age. During canoe trips, it is always a good idea to wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc. Bring a snack! For additional information and to register, please call (731) 538-2481. Visit our website www.fws.gov/refuge/hatchie and "Like" us on Facebook!
Tennessee 2016-17 Hunting Seasons Approved at May Meeting
The state's hunting seasons are annually established each year during the TWFC's May meeting. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency made its recommendations during the April meeting. Additional recommendations were made by commission members.
For big game hunting seasons, the TFWC changed the definitions of antlered and antlerless deer. Previously, a deer with antlers less than three inches in length were considered antlerless. With the commission's change, an antlerless deer is now any deer with no antler protruding above the hairline, and antlered deer are any male or female deer with antlers protruding above the hairline.
From now on, a deer harvested with any antler protruding above the hairline will count toward the statewide antlered deer limit of two.
The commission approved two additional deer hunting units, C and D. The antlerless bag limit for archery is four and one during the muzzleloader season in these units. For gun season, the bag limit is one in Unit C for the first 16 days and one in Unit D for the first seven days. Some previous Unit A and B counties are now in other units. (An updated deer unit map is available on the TWRA website).
The Unit D counties are Polk, Monroe, Blount, and Sevier. The Unit C counties are Cocke, Jefferson, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Greene, Washington, and Unicoi.
Four counties were added to Unit L which border the Mississippi River. Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale and Tipton counties are the new additions making all West Tennessee counties now classified in Unit L.
Changes were made to the elk permits. The previous six permits continue but will now also be valid on private lands within the following five counties. The counties are Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan, and Scott. Additionally, five new archery only permits were added, also valid on North Cumberland WMA and private lands within the five counties. Archery hunt dates are Oct. 3-7, 2016.
A significant change came to fall turkey hunting. The TFWC voted to reduce the fall bag limit to one for all counties currently open for fall turkey hunting. A hunter may harvest a turkey in each open county. Also changed was the bag limit for the Young Sportsman from one bird for the two-day hunt to one bird per day.
Chuck Yoest, TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division assistant chief, gave an in-depth presentation on the Agency's Chronic Wasting Disease response plan if the disease was to ever spread to Tennessee. The disease has now been confirmed in 24 states and two Canadian provinces.
Berryville and Greenwood Claim AYSSP Regional Titles
When the smoke cleared at the west regional qualifier of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program Friday and Saturday, Berryville and Greenwood stood out from the crowd as the first-place qualifiers in the junior- and senior-high divisions, respectively.
Berryville Shooting Sports Junior One squad shot an impressive 110 of 125 targets during Friday's competition, while the Greenwood G-Force Inside Straight squad shot 234 of 250 thrown clays during Saturday's competition.
Five-person squads compete during each AYSSP event, with each junior high division athlete shooting at 25 clays and each senior high division athlete shooting at 50 clays.
"We saw some heavy winds, especially Saturday, which made shooting extremely difficult," said Chuck Woodson, AYSSP coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. "But all shooters showed excellent sportsmanship and made their best efforts during tough conditions."
Only one perfect score was recorded all weekend. Gunner Butler from the God's Great Outdoors Team scored a perfect 25 during Friday's competition.
The top 16 teams in each division will compete at the AYSSP State Championship, June 3-4, against 48 other regional qualifiers to be determined in the next three weeks. All student athletes who shoot perfect scores also will be invited to shoot in a Champion of Champions event during the state competition.
To learn more about AYSSP or to become a coach, visit www.agfc.com/ayssp or contact Chuck Woodson at 501-230-4738.
DeSoto County Man Sentenced for Headlighting Deer
Donald Wayne Hensley, 49 of Hernando, was found guilty this week of five separate counts of headlighting deer in a Tunica County courtroom. Hensley was charged $11,174 in fines, sentenced to four months of house arrest, and loss of hunting privileges through 2019.
In January, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Conservation Officers apprehended Hensley along the Mississippi River levee in Tunica County with five recently killed whitetail deer in the back of his truck. Officers confirmed that the deer had been illegally killed during night hours with the aid of a light.
Record high floodwaters along the Mississippi River forced the MDWFP to close deer season in several counties this past hunting season. Such floodwaters cause whitetail deer to move from their natural habitat into areas with little cover, food, or protection from illegal hunting.
"This individual showed a blatant disregard for the law that will not be tolerated" said Colonel Steve Adcock. "We will continue our efforts to protect Mississippi's natural resources."
How Was Your Spring Turkey Season?
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) encourages turkey hunters who hunted for at least 10 days during the 2016 spring turkey season to participate in the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey. To participate in the survey, contact WFF at 334-242-3469.
In addition to contributing directly to the conservation and management of wild turkeys, survey participants will receive a copy of Full Fans & Sharp Spurs.
Data to be collected from survey participants includes information on statewide and regional trends in gobbling activity, hunter effort, harvest rates, age structure and sex ratios. This knowledge ultimately helps WFF make management decisions that link the interests of sportsmen with the wise use of the state's turkey resource.
"The more hunters from different parts of the state who participate, the better the data will be," said Steve Barnett, leader of the WFF Alabama Turkey Project. "It is extremely important that the hunt information submitted is accurate so we can develop the best turkey management practices possible."
For more information about the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey, contact Steve Barnett or Joel Glover by email at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Names New Director of Law Enforcement
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gregory K. Johnson announced today the appointment of retired Menifee County Sheriff Rodney Coffey as the new director of the department's Division of Law Enforcement.
"It is an honor to serve the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife," said Coffey, who assumed his command on May 1, 2016. "I come from a smaller county, and have been fortunate to be able to travel the state as a member of the Sheriff's Association board of directors."
Coffey, 45, served four terms as sheriff before retiring in 2014. His background includes serving as president of the Kentucky Sheriff's Association and eight years in the United States Navy Reserve.
Coffey earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Pacific Western University. He furthered his training as a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy at Eastern Kentucky University.
Named Sheriff of the Year by the Kentucky Sheriff's Association in 2003, he also served on the organization's board of directors from 2007-2013.
Coffey began his law enforcement career in 1994 with the Morehead State University Police Department before being elected as Menifee County sheriff in 1998. He served in that role for the next 16 years.
"Much of Kentucky's hunting, fishing and boating activity happens far off the major highways and away from big population centers," said Johnson. "Rodney brings vast experience to the job from his time serving as sheriff of a smaller county and statewide work with multiple law enforcement agencies. He will greatly serve all those who relish Kentucky's natural outdoors."
Coffey, an Indiana native, grew up in Florida. Twenty five years ago, he returned to the family farm in Frenchburg, where he lives with his wife, Beth, and family.
CWD Surveillance Increased in Southern Missouri
The discovery of a deer disease in Arkansas has increased surveillance efforts by Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff in the southern part of the state.
This spring's finding of 86 cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in northern Arkansas (82 in deer, four in elk) has caused MDC staff to ramp up sample collection for a CWD testing process that has been ongoing in Missouri since 2002. CWD is a disease that is spread from deer to deer and is fatal to all deer it infects. This neurological disease infects only deer and other members of the cervid family by causing degeneration of brain tissue.