(Updated July 3, 2014)
Carroll Lake Closing
"West Tennesseans are experiencing the final days of fishing at Carroll Lake in McKenzie," said Dave Rizzuto, regional fisheries coordinator for the TWRA's Region IV. "The water control structure for Carroll Lake's dam was damaged June 5 because of an immense amount of rain. The lake has been draining since then and the fish are crowded into the few pools of remaining water.
"When you get 10 to 12 inches of rain in a short period of time, we were shocked. We've never had a dam over-top like that. The state is taking bids to repair the water control structure, with the most recent bid adding up to about $500,000. Once a company is selected to repair the structure the company has 90 days to begin the project. Even if repairs are completed by next fall the lake will need to be restocked with fish and they will need two years to grow before being large enough to be caught. The lake likely will not reopen until 2017 or later."
In the meantime, residents will still have use of the newer Thousand Acre Recreation Lake in Carroll County, which opened in 2013.
Hunting Seasons for 2014-15
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission set the 2014-15 hunting seasons. New Bear Management Units for have been formed and subdivided into five Bear Hunt Zones. New hunts have been set in counties bordering traditional bear hunting counties and the Cumberland Plateau. A total of 15 new counties have been added.
The archery whitetail deer season will begin on Sept. 27. The muzzleloader/archery season is Nov. 8-Nov. 21. The gun season for deer always opens the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving which this year is Nov. 22 continues until Jan. 4, 2015. The Young Sportsman Hunt for deer will again be held on two weekends. They are Oct. 25-26 and Jan. 10-11.
It appears that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow a 90-day dove season divided into three segments. The commission's approval is dependent on what is expected to be set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's federal frameworks this summer.
Spring 2014 turkey harvest stands at 32,495. Fall turkey hunting is to run October 11-24. The 2015 spring turkey season will run for 44 days from April 4-May 17. The Young Sportsman Turkey Hunt is the weekend of March 28-29.
TWRA announced the application period for the 2014 Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Big Game Quota Hunts, the regular elk, youth elk, and WMA Youth will run from June 11 through July 23. Entries must be submitted before midnight (CDT) July 23.
More info at www.state.tn.us/twra.
New Aquatic Center and Hatchery in Gallatin
A new aquatic center and hatchery is under construction along the Cumberland River as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority's plan to upgrade its coal-fired plant in Gallatin. The federal utility is spending nearly $1.5 million to construct the new Cumberland River Aquatic Center. It will replace an older facility that was removed as part of a $1 billion clean-air project.
TWRA will operate the facility and the TVA will provide services including enough river water to care for all the species housed there.
Hunting from Motorized Vehicle
A. It is unlawful to shoot at any wild animal or wild bird from a motorized vehicle or motorized conveyance unless the progress from such vehicle or conveyance has completely ceased.
B. It is unlawful to hunt, chase, take, kill or pursue any wild animal other than squirrels and beaver from a motor boat or other water craft having a motor unless the motor has been completely shut off and its progress has ceased.
C. It is unlawful to discharge any firearm from a boat or other watercraft operating on the public waters of this state during night time hours from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. More info at http://www.mdwfp.com.
Proposed Early Migratory Bird Seasons
The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission recommended 2014-2015 early migratory bird season dates and a lengthening of the dove seasons. All recommendations must be approved by legislators before they become law.
Proposed early migratory bird seasons for 2014-2015 include: mourning dove, Canada goose, wood duck, teal, American woodcock, Virginia, sora rail, common moorhen and purple gallinule, common snipe and sandhill crane.
Other recommendations approved by commissioners included:
• An additional 20 days of dove season for 2014-2015; daily bag limit for the September Canada goose season increased from three to five birds; and daily bag limit for teal increased from four to six birds during the combined wood duck and teal season.
• Changes for the 2015 wild turkey seasons including allowing hunters to use .410-gauge shotguns during any open turkey season, a smaller gauge that is friendlier for youth than is currently allowed. To allow archery and crossbow hunters to take four-bird fall turkey season limit during any fall season for turkeys, beginning in 2015. Currently, archery and crossbow turkey hunters must take two of their four-bird fall season bag limit during the fall firearm turkey season.
• Finally, the commission voted to prohibit the harvest of alligator gar statewide, including by bow fishing. The department will also implement a free online paddlefish harvest permit system in order to gauge the population status of this species. These regulations will go into effect March 1, 2015. More info at http://fw.ky.gov.
Three Rs When Boating on a River
Know which side of the buoys to stay on when traveling up or down a river. Simply remember the 3Rs of boating: "Red right returning." It applies in Arkansas and all over the nation.
Whether you are paddling a canoe, putting along in a john boat, whizzing in a bass boat or cruising on a houseboat, this simple rule will keep you in the right place - in the channel where it's safe.
Returning means coming upstream from the ocean or the mouth of the stream. Keep the red buoys on your right as you travel upstream. That means the green buoys will be on your left. If you are going downstream, just reverse this. The red buoys will be on your left, green buoys on your right. OK, right is starboard and left is port for sailors.
Buoys are found in many sizes and shapes. Just the red and green ones mark channels. Others are white and are for information. This may be directions to a facility, for controlled areas like no-wake zones, and to designation dangers like rocks or dams. A buoy with black and white vertical stripes marks an obstruction; don't travel between it and the shore or bank.
For more details on boating navigation rules in Arkansas, a free publication called "The Handbook of Arkansas Boating Laws and Responsibilities" is available at all Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offices. http://www.agfc.com/Pages/default.aspx
Deer Die-Off at Breeding Facility
A recent die-off at a licensed deer-breeding facility in north Alabama has killed more than 50 whitetail deer. Preliminary tests conducted by pathologists at the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) laboratories have revealed that the contributing cause of the incident is viral in nature; further testing continues. Since the outbreak began in May, the die-off has been contained to the breeding facility and is thought to pose no threat to humans, pets or livestock outside the facility.
Earlier this year, the facility passed its twice annual routine herd inspection. When deer began to die the breeding facility owner reported the deaths. For more information visit www.agi.alabama.gov.
Individuals with knowledge of illegally imported wildlife in Alabama including any species of deer, wild goats or feral pigs are encouraged to contact Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries via its toll-free GAMEWATCH line, 800-272-4263. Rewards for information leading to an arrest may be available.
If you encounter a sick or dead deer, please report the incident to the nearest WFF district office. To learn more about licensed game breeders and Alabama's GAMEWATCH program, visit outdooralabama.com or call 3340-242-3469.