(Updated April 2, 2014)
A proposal to prohibit the use of drones to conduct video surveillance of outdoorsmen in Tennessee without their permission has passed the Senate. The measure was unanimously approved 31-0.
The legislation would be added to the state's current law that protects hunters or fisherman from harassment to reflect technology changes. Last year, the Tennessee General Assembly passed and the governor signed a measure to ban most warrantless surveillance by unmanned drones in Tennessee.
Some of the world's best competitive shotgun athletes were shooting right alongside the next generation of Olympic competitors at the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF)'s new USA Shooting Certified Training Center March 1 and 2.
More than 50 Olympic hopefuls – many of whom are athletes with TWF's Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program (TNSCTP) – competed in an Olympic Skeet and Olympic Bunker Trap match at the Nashville Gun Club where the Training Center is located. The event came two weeks before USA Shooting's Spring Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas, the competition that determines the makeup of World Cup teams for 2014.
In the Open Bunker Trap division, USA Shooting Team members Jake Wallace and Cory Cogdell of Colorado Springs, Colo., took the men's and women's gold honors for the weekend. Wallace broke 115 of 125 targets and Cogdell, a two-time Olympian, 2012 bronze medalist, and world record holder, logged a 108/125.
Corey Hutto of Lynnville, Tenn. and Samantha Smith of Spring Hill, Tenn. won gold in the Junior Bunker Trap division, with scores of 105/125 and 99/125, respectively.
In the Skeet competition, held at the Maury County Gun Club, Kyle Johnson of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., and USA Shooting Junior Team member Hannah Houston of Columbia, Tenn., won the men's and women's Open Skeet gold medals. In the Junior Skeet division, Will Dunnebacke of Santa Fe, Tenn. and Gracin Anderson of Monroe County, Tenn. finished as the top men's and ladies' medalists, respectively.
TWF's Hunters for the Hungry
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation's Hunters for the Hungry program crossed an eye-opening milestone this deer season - more than a million pounds of venison have been collected and distributed to soup kitchens and food banks across the state.
"Protein is a precious resource for hunger relief agencies as they struggle to find reliable suppliers. Thanks to generous hunters, donors, processors and other supporters, we're able to help address that ever-growing need," says Kendall McCarter, the Federation's chief development officer. "We can do more, but there are significant costs associated with operating the program, processing the deer and distributing packaged meat to the end users."
Over the course of 16 years, Hunters for the Hungry has collected literally tons of venison each deer season, utilizing a network of Tennessee Department of Agriculture-certified processors to package meat that yields hundreds of thousands of meals for hungry Tennesseans. This year, more than 2,300 whole deer were donated and more than 30,000 pounds of smaller meat donations were collected, providing approximately 500,000 meals statewide.
A recent statewide survey of Tennessee hunters and wildlife lovers generated some 3,000 responses along with some important insights. More than 50 percent of hunters take multiple deer each year to eat - some as many as 10. As a result of a booming whitetail deer population, hunters can legally take more than 100 each season, if desired. Nearly 30 percent reported that they'd never donated to the program, as a result of either the cost or the lack of awareness. More than 70 percent said they would be willing to donate one or more deer if the processing was free.
"We have quotas for free processing based on private donations, but they are typically exhausted before the season is over," McCarter explains. "Clearly, hunters and others who care about our natural resources overwhelmingly support the program, and want to find ways to help. Every donation makes a difference."
Between now and April 30, the Feinstein Foundation in Rhode Island is challenging non-profit hunger relief organizations nationwide to a matching challenge. Dollars raised for Hunters for the Hungry could be matched by the Foundation, making now a better time than ever to donate to the program. To learn more about the Federation or Hunters for the Hungry, please visit www.tnwf.org.
AGFC Begins Potential Land Purchase Process
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved the first step in the potential development of an education and recreation area near Jasper. Commissioners approved a budget increase of $10,000 for the real estate appraisal and other real estate costs involving the 42-acre site.
The AGFC will apply for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to help pay for the potential purchase of the land. The land was appraised for $277,000 in September 2007. The land is located on Arkansas Highway 7 north of Jasper.
The potential new facility would feature a diverse ecosystem of the area's unique geography. Plans would include a paved trail, pavilion, fishing piers, wildlife observation blinds, canoe launch areas and other amenities.
Online Registration for Kentucky's Hunter Education Programs
The new online system will help speed up the delivery of hunter education cards to participants.
"This is part of an overall effort by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to improve services to the public," said Jamie Cook, the agency's mentor hunting coordinator. "Online registration makes the process much more efficient."
Successful completion of hunter education is required of licensed hunters born on or after January 1, 1975. Hunters can receive a special one-year, one-time only exemption card if they cannot complete coursework by the start of a season.
Those who wish to take hunter education courses may register online at fw.ky.gov, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website. People without Internet access can visit their local library, where public access computers are available for online registration.
Participants can take the course in person, online or obtain a CD of the material. In-person and CD courses are free. Online courses may cost up to $15. All courses, regardless of method taken, conclude with a live fire exercise at a range. Topics covered in hunter education include hunter ethics, wildlife conservation and identification, field care of game, trapping, first aid, firearm safety, archery and muzzleloading.
People who take classes in person must pre-register online before sessions begin. Those who take the courses online or by viewing the CD need only to register for the range day.
Course and range day schedules are posted online at fw.ky.gov.
Running of Dogs During Spring Turkey Season
It shall be unlawful to run, hunt, chase or pursue with dogs any raccoon, opossum, fox or other wild animals, or wild birds during spring turkey season (youth and regular season), day or night, except as provided herein:
1. In areas that are closed to turkey hunting. 2. In permitted hunting enclosures (all free running dogs must remain inside the enclosure). 3. Bird dog field trials may be held in designated areas after application and obtaining a permit from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. 4. Rabbit dog field trials may be permitted on lands owned or leased by organized beagle clubs provided the club property is posted by signs every 300 feet and the field trial has been approved by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. 5. Raccoon dog field trials may be held in designated areas after application and obtaining a field trial permit from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Visit http://www.mdwfp.com/administration/rules/rules-(final).aspx for complete list of rules for running dogs in turkey season and other Final Rules set for 2014.