(Updated December 7, 2017)
Rea Inducted into MASHF
Larry Rea, host of the award-winning Outdoors with Larry Rea on ESPN 790-AM, was recently inducted into the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame at its 48th annual induction banquet at the Hilton Hotel in East Memphis.
Rea was among 18 inducted in the MASHF's Class of 2017.
An on-air host for Entercom Radio since August 2001, Rea was inducted in the "personal contributor" category. Lynn Alford, MASHF president, said, "Larry Rea has been granted the highest honor for outstanding achievement, sportsmanship and character for his contribution to amateur athletics as a personal contribute.
Rea worked almost 34 years with The Commercial Appeal before retiring in January 2001. After retiring he continued to write as a free-lance reporter for the newspaper. On July 2, 2017 Rea celebrated 50 years of writing/broadcasting in the Memphis area. He is currently the editor of the Mid-South Hunting and Fishing News.
His radio show, which is broadcast weekly from 6-7:30 a.m. on Saturdays, has won numerous local, state and national awards. In August of 2017 he received the first Wade Bourne National Outdoor Communicator of the Year Award by the Legends of the Outdoors.
Gibbs named 2017 SEAFWA wildlife biologist of the year
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's Dan Gibbs has been named the 2017 Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). The presentation came at SEAFWA's annual meeting held in Louisville, Ky. Gibbs serves the TWRA as its Bear Program Leader.
Gibbs established an on-line bear reporting system on the TWRA website so the public can report bear sightings, which adds to the information TWRA bases its bear management decisions. He works closely with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, the city of Gatlinburg, and other communities to deal with bear conflict issues. He coordinates TWRA's efforts with the Appalachian Bear Rescue which cares for orphaned cubs and relocates them into the wild.
Gibbs currently serves as the SEAFWA Large Carnivore Working Group chair and has been an active member of the Southeast Black Bear Work Group for many years. A multistate bear population study using DNA from hair samples and the adoption of a standardized educational outreach program called BearWise are two results of his leadership and engagement.
Beyond his black bear duties, Gibbs coordinates goose and wood duck banding and dove field leasing. In conjunction with the region's wildlife management area managers, Gibbs assists in developing annual hunting season recommendations.
Gibbs joined the TWRA in 1997.
TWRA updates Smartphone APP
For nearly a quarter-million users of the TWRA's 'On The Go 2.0' smartphone app, finding a place in Tennessee to hunt, fish, boat, and view wildlife has become easier than ever.
"We have put a lot of time into improving our app and we are happy to announce it is now available and free to all who enjoy our outdoors and want to learn more," said Michael May, a TWRA assistant director.
"If you want to find a boat ramp, public land to hunt on, a convenient way to check-in big game, places where you can view birds and other wildlife, or keep up with news that pertains to the outdoors, this updated version of our app offers unlimited sources of information," said May.
Smartphone users should visit TWRA's website to install the app at www.tnwildlife.org. If the current version is already installed, Apple users can easily upgrade via their app, while Android users will need to uninstall their current app before uploading the new one.
Paddlefish egg harvest season
The 2017-2018 Mississippi Paddlefish egg harvest season opened on Nov. 20 and closes April 10. Areas open for Paddlefish egg harvest are the Mississippi River (to include all public waters between the main line levees of the Mississippi River along the Mississippi-Arkansas border) and the Yazoo River Basin Harvest Zone.
The Yazoo River Basin Harvest Zone includes Bear Creek, the Sunflower, Coldwater, Tallahatchie, and Yazoo Rivers; however, some public waters within this zone are closed to paddlefish harvest. Fishermen are encouraged to call the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau office at (601) 432-2200 or visit our website at www.mdwfp.com to learn which areas are closed.
Getting it done at 7 years old
As a precocious 7-year-old, Brinlee Usdrowski has already had the kind of hunting experiences that many adult hunters only dream of. It wasn't that just a year ago, during modern gun deer season, then 6-year-old Brinlee took down two deer with one shot. That was only the beginning. She proceeded to down a gobbler in April during the youth hunt weekend. Then a 300-pound black bear this fall, with a crossbow. Only to follow all that up with a nice 8-point buck during muzzleloader season. And before you think it's all about the taking, Brinlee is right there helping with the skinning of the harvested animals, her father says.
Her dad, Pat Usdrowski, who lives near the Brady Mountain area off Lake Ouachita, surely has heard from other dads reminding him, "She's daddy's girl now, but just wait until she's a teen-ager." In this case, Pat Usdrowski might have the female version of the new "American Sportsman" on his hands. Wait until the national reality TV channels hear about this one. Move over, "Duck Dynasty."
"Brinlee can still dress up and be a princess girl, but she's all country when she's with me," Pat said.
"Last year she killed her first deer. She got two deer, a doe and a nubbin buck, with one shot, using a 20-guage with 3-inch buckshot," Pat recounted. "That's how the big game stuff started."
That's also how the practicing started. It's nothing, Pat said, for Brinlee to want to practice shooting her .22 with hundreds of rounds, as well as shooting the 20-guage with bird shot. For the turkey season, she was hauling around an 11-87 camouflaged turkey gun.
At Pat's homestead on Brady Mountain Road, they have seen bear around, though he adds that when the acorns begin to fall, the bear leave. Paul keeps a deer feeder filled with food. Brinlee and Pat were in his deer stand late in the afternoon this season, hoping a bear might wander past. At about 6:40 p.m., one did, coming as close as about 15 yards, Pat estimated. Brinlee, ready with a crossbow, took aim and hit the bear behind the shoulder.
"We have pictures of the bear coming up on the game camera, a 300-pound female. It didn't have any cubs, so I had assumed it was a big male. After Brinlee shot, it ran, but it didn't make it 100 yards before it fell down," Pat said. "We gave it until 7:20 before going to it, and it was laying up there dead."
Pat fixed a Thompson Encore muzzleloader with a scope so Brinlee could be ready this fall for a bigger deer than the two she brought down last year.
Invasive species found near Sulphur River WMA
Another big, scary monster has been spotted near Boggy Creek in southwest Arkansas, but this one is green, lives in the water and has been knocking on Arkansas's door for years. Giant salvinia, an invasive species of plant, was discovered on Smith Park Lake in Miller County, and biologists are scrambling into action.
Giant salvinia is a free-floating South American plant, similar in appearance to duckweed but much larger. It stays at the water's surface and can rapidly cover a large area and choke out all life in the water beneath if left unchecked. According to Sea Grant Louisiana, under ideal conditions, a single plant of giant salvinia can multiply to cover 40 square miles of surface area in only three months.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff has done an extensive search throughout the lake's watershed, and so far the only areas where the plant has been found are in Smith Park Lake and a swampy area on private land directly downstream of the lake.
Jason Olive, AGFC assistant chief of fisheries, says the most likely source of the plant's appearance was during recent floods.
Olive says the lake and swampy area are adjacent to Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area, a popular duck-hunting WMA in southwest Arkansas, for now. The plant already has grown to cover nearly 100 acres of the 150-acre Smith Park Lake, which is filled with cypress trees.
Former Commissioner Ralph Griffin dies at 84
Ralph B. Griffin, 84, of Jonesboro, a former commissioner with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, died in November in Memphis. He was born in Jonesboro April 8, 1933, and lived there his entire life. Griffin, appointed by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, was a member of the Commission from July 11, 1969-June 30, 1976. Among other projects, he was involved in stocking eastern wild turkeys on St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area.
Corps seeks comments on documents related to water supply storage
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Little Rock District is seeking public comments on documents related to water supply storage reallocation at Greers Ferry Lake. The comments period will be open until Dec. 18. The Little Rock District is conducting this project under the authority of the Water Supply Act of 1958.
The documents for review are a draft water supply reallocation storage report including the draft environmental assessment and a draft finding of no significant impact. The proposed work would cause no significant adverse effects to the human environment, and an environmental impact statement will not be required.
Hunters check 2,899 turkeys during Missouri's fall firearms turkey season
Data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that hunters checked 2,899 turkeys during Missouri's fall firearms turkey season, Oct. 1-31. Top harvest counties were Greene with 100, Texas with 95, and Dent with 94. Last year's fall firearms turkey harvest total was 3,698. MDC's turkey biologist says this year's low fall firearms turkey harvest total can be attributed to several factors, including a poor turkey hatch, a decline in hunter participation, and above-average acorn production.
"This year's fall firearms turkey permit sales total of 10,243 was the lowest on record since the season started in 1978. During the state's peak year in 1987, nearly 53,000 permits were purchased.