Fish and Wildlife Commission Approves 2013-14 Hunting Seasons
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission set the state’s 2013-14 hunting seasons at its May 30-31 meeting which concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Ray Bell Region II Building.
TWRA staff had presented the recommendations on upcoming hunting seasons at its April meeting with few changes for 2013-14. Tennessee deer hunters will again see an increased opportunities for harvest in the coming year.
Tennessee’s deer hunting is divided into three units, with Unit L being the most liberal. Crockett County in West Tennessee was approved to be moved to Unit L. Numerous counties in units A and B were recommended for increases in antlerless opportunities.
In regard to the bear hunting seasons, there were minimal changes proposed. To avoid a conflict with the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday, the main bear gun season is will open on Friday, Nov. 29 rather than Thursday.
During fall turkey season, several counties in southern Middle Tennessee are having their bag limits reduced. The bag limits in Giles, Wayne, and Lawrence counties will be one while Lincoln County will be three. The fall turkey season counties included three expansions to include Meigs, Rhea, and Roane counties to have bag limits of one. Bag limits in the West Tennessee counties of Carroll and Weakley were increased from one to three.
The statewide changes to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) include cave closures (to assist in the control of white nose syndrome) on all areas unless authorized by TWRA. All WMAs open to statewide seasons would have a Jan. 15 closure for quail hunting.
In regard to manner and means, the boating and law enforcement division proposed that the air rifles regulation wording be changed to air guns, with a maximum caliber of .25.
The commission voted to approve its “Moment of Freedom” campaign which began with discussion late last year. The project includes making available no less than five new wheelchair accessible facilities in each of the TWRA’s four regions over a three year period within the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system.
The facilities would provide opportunities for those who are wheelchair-bound to enjoy the outdoors via hunting, fishing, shooting sports or observing the state’s wildlife in its native habitat. Funds to purchase and/or construct the facilities would be the responsibility of the TFWC through seeking corporate or individual donations.
Where construction is required, the TFWC will undertake these projects using volunteers in keeping with the “Habitat for Humanity” approach for home construction.
TWRA celebrates its 20th anniversary this year as a participant in the Tennessee Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Grant Program. The commission heard a report from Ed Poolos statewide CVA, Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) Coordinator. The TWRA has funded 181 projects totaling $3.6 million to help protect the state’s waterways.
A budget expansion for a grant for more than $1.3 million was approved that will be awarded to the City of Chattanooga. The grant was made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service BIG program. The grant is to build or extend dockage at four prominent locations along the downtown south shore of the Tennessee River.
In addition, there was a $65,000 grant approved that will be used for transient dock facilities on the Cumberland River in the town of Ashland City.