The Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission met last week, and concerns about the impact of Chronic Wasting Disease on the state’s deer population was high on the agenda.
There likely will be no changes in statewide deer hunting regulations this season, although adjustments are likely in five west-state counties in which CWD has been found.
No final decisions have been made, but it is recommended that hunters in the five CWD counties be allowed to take more deer.
Deer killed on weekend hunts in those counties must be checked in physically to provide biologists with tissue samples to aid their CWD study. A harvested buck that tests positive for CWD will not count in the two-buck limit, giving the hunter an opportunity to kill another buck.
One recommendation on ways to combat the spread of the disease is to eliminate deer feeders. Biologists say one infected deer using a feeder can infect all other deer that use it.
If the ban goes into effect, it will include deer feeders used by non-hunting wildlife watchers.
There is no known cure for CWD, which is 100 percent fatal to infected deer. It is not believed to be dangerous to humans, domestic animals or wildlife other than deer, elk and moose.
Writers win awards: Two Lebanon outdoor writers dominated the six categories of writing awards presented at last week’s Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association banquet at Natchez State Park.
John Sloan, writer for the Wilson Post and Carthage Courier, won two first-place awards, two second places and two third places.
Larry Woody, who writes for the Lebanon Democrat, Mt. Juliet News and Hartsville Vidette, received second- and third-place awards.
Carp haul: Since a commercial processing program went into effect at the start of the year, 718,000 pounds of Asian carp have been removed from Kentucky Lake.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency partnered with commercial fishermen and processing plants to offer incentives to harvest the fish for commercial use.
The invasive Asian carp represent a serious threat to native species, including such popular game fish as crappie and bass. The carp feed on plankton and other algae-like food, and removing it from the bottom of the food chain will eventually decimate species higher up the chain.
The TWRA is trying to contain the carps’ numbers where they exist, and slow their spread into other waters. Part of the program includes a regulation against dumping un-used minnows into the water, for fear small Asian carp or other invasive species might be accidentally mixed in with the live bait.
Elk raffle: Raffle tickets are on sale for October’s hunt and can be purchased on the TWRA website, tnwildlife.org.
The tickets cost $10 each, three for $50 or 10 for $100. There is no limit on how many can be purchased. Last year’s raffle generated $255,840 for the state’s elk-restoration program.
Entries for the random drawing of additional elk tags will be taken later. Information will be posted on the website.
Outdoors women: The annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop is set for May 31-June 2 in Crossville.
Participants will receive instruction in firearms safety, fishing skills, archery, outdoor cooking, photography, canoeing, turkey hunting and numerous outdoor activities.
The workshop is organized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The fee is $225, including meals, lodging and a hunting/fishing license.
For registrations or other information contact Don Hosse at [email protected] or 615-781-6541.