(Updated August 1, 2015)
TWRA Reports Single Boating-Related Over July 4 Holiday Weekend
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported a single boating-related fatality over the July 4 holiday weekend. The holiday boating period extended from July 3-5.
The fatal incident occurred on Kentucky Lake on July 5 when a victim drowned after falling off a boat and is classified as a boating-related incident.
TWRA boating officers made six boating under the influence (BUI) arrests and one additional arrest. TWRA boating officers checked more than 2,900 vessels, issued 94 citations, and 127 warnings during the weekend
There were two boating-related fatalities over the same period last year. Through the July 4th holiday weekend, there have been 11 boating-related fatalities on the state's waterways in 2015 as compared to nine through the same period last year and 14 in 2013.
Region 1 Dove Fields Running Behind
Due to heavy spring rains most corn fields are late and will not be harvested by opening day of dove season. TWRA will try to lease private fields as the corn is harvested.This information will be updated if any fields are leased.
In the meantime, many of the traditional WMA dove fields in the region are looking good and will be ready for opening day. Check the TWRA website for details as the hunt draws nearer.
Mississippi Alligator Hunting Permits Sold Out
For the first time since alligator hunting began in Mississippi, public water alligator hunting permits went on sale on a first come, first served basis July 14 at 9 a.m.; all permits sold within 45 minutes.
"This just goes to show the growing interest in alligator hunting in Mississippi," said Ricky Flynt, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Alligator Program Coordinator. "It is very obvious the people of Mississippi are very passionate about the opportunity to go alligator hunting; it is personally and professionally satisfying for MDWFP to be able to provide this unique opportunity for hunters in Mississippi."
"There were multiple agencies and companies working together today to make this process a success," said Dr. Sam Polles, MDWFP Executive Director. "We would like to thank Mississippi Interactive, Active Network - Outdoors, Department of Public Safety, and our employees at the MDWFP for their hard work to make this event successful today."
The 2015 Mississippi public waters alligator hunting season begins August 28 and runs through September 7. A total of 920 permits were available within seven public water hunting zones across the state.
An Alligator Hunting Training Course will be offered on August 15 at Roosevelt State Park for persons
who purchased one of the special permits. Attendance is no longer mandatory, but highly recommended for persons who obtained a special permit. Course topics will include alligator biology, research projects, legal capture and dispatching methods, skinning and processing, proper documentation, and boating safety.
For more information regarding alligator hunting rules and regulations, visit www.mdwfp.com/alligator or call 601-432-2199.
Game and Fish Foundation Selects Hall of Fame Inductees
The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation has chosen its 2015 Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees: Steve Bowman of Little Rock, outdoor writer and editor.
The late Joel Campora of Waldron, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer first class who died in the line of duty while trying to save two women from floodwaters in 2013.
George Dunklin Jr., of Stuttgart, past AGFC commissioner and current chairman of international Ducks Unlimited.
Jerry Fisk of Nashville, master bladesmith and artist.
The Legacy Award will go to Jim Gaston, who played a key role in establishing trout fishing and promoting tourism in Arkansas. Gaston is a previous inductee into the Outdoor Hall of Fame.
"These inductees were carefully chosen for their sacrifice, contributions and talents and we are proud to add these names to the list of the other 83 past inductees," Chuck Dicus, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, said. "Legacy Award winner Jim Gaston has spent a lifetime working to establish a trout habitat in Arkansas and been a tireless supporter of the minimum water flow management regime."
The Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet will be Friday, Aug. 21, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. Tickets are $100. The reception and silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
"The proceeds from this event support important program initiatives the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation is a part of throughout the year, all of which positively impact outdoor enthusiasts across the state," Dicus said.
Salato Wildlife Center Manager Drowns While on Vacation
Salato Wildlife Education Center Manager Laurie Davison drowned Sunday morning while vacationing with her family near Garden City, South Carolina.
Davison, 52, had managed the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' signature wildlife education facility in Frankfort for more than 15 years. South Carolina officials say Davison was pronounced dead at Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet after being pulled from the ocean surf.
She joined the department in May 2000 and immediately began building the agency's still new wildlife education center into one of the most visited attractions in Frankfort. She opened Salato's doors to more than 100,000 visitors each year.
Davison grew the Center's reach exponentially by inviting volunteers to reinforce her small professional staff. Her passion for wildlife and nature attracted volunteer workers by the hundreds throughout any given year. They constructed and maintained Salato Center exhibits and became lifetime loyal Salato Wildlife Center supporters.
"Laurie shared her love of nature and the outdoors with everyone who loves nature," said former Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Tom Bennett, who originally brought her into the agency. "She had that special and unique ability to speak to diverse groups of people who all love wildlife and nature. She was able to explain complex ecosystems in terms that the average person could understand. Her loss will surely be felt."
Department Veterinarian Iga Stasiak called Davison "one of a kind.""She had a rare way of conveying her passion and sharing her knowledge with the general public and reminding us that wildlife and wild places are essential to our well-being, a vital part of our lives and worth preserving for future generations," Stasiak said. "She had a way of reminding us that things will get better. Her passion for wildlife and the wild places we all cherish was infectious and impacted the lives of the many people who visited the Salato Center."
Davison is survived by her partner, Mary Daniels, and their young children, Cathey and Yakob.
Illegal to Shoot Black Bear in Bama
After allegedly shooting at a black bear seen in Heflin, Ala., on June 16, 2015, a local man has been charged with breaking the state's bear protection laws. While classified as a game animal in Alabama, there is no established black bear hunting season in the state. Black bears are also protected by state law due to low population numbers. The shooter was arrested and released pending a court hearing on August 5.
In Alabama, shooting at a black bear is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential minimum fine of $2,000. Other penalties for attempting to take a black bear include the loss of hunting and fishing license privileges for three years and possible jail time.
The bear in Heflin appeared to be unharmed by the incident and was allowed to find its way back into a wooded area near Sugar Hill Road where the shots were fired.
Capt. Johnny Johnson, Supervising Conservation Enforcement Officer with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) District 2 Office, assisted in the investigation on June 16 and said anyone shooting at a black bear risks serious consequences.
"Shooting a black bear in Alabama is a serious offense that could send someone to jail for up to a year in addition to the substantial fines," Johnson said. "If you see a black bear, leave it alone. We want and welcome them in Alabama."
Historically, a small population of black bear has remained rooted in southwest Alabama, primarily in Mobile and Washington counties. In recent years, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population in northeast Alabama. WFF is currently working with other state and federal agencies to collect data on the state's black bear population and movements.
Black bears are secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. To avoid accidently attracting a bear to your home, feed pets just enough food that they can consume in one meal. Secure uneaten pet food, trash bins, bird and other wildlife feeders, as they are easy pickings for hungry young bears.
The public is encouraged to report black bear sightings online at https://game.dcnr.alabama.gov/BlackBear/. Black bear sightings can also be reported to WFF district wildlife offices, or by email to Thomas Harms at Thomas.Harms@dcnr.alabama.gov.