Limited Sandhill Crane Hunting Season Approved by Commission
KNOXVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to approve the state’s first sandhill crane hunting season during its August meeting which concluded Friday.
The inaugural season will be held from Nov. 28 through Jan. 1, 2014. It is more conservative than what is allowed by the USFWS.
Hunting hours will be sunrise daily until to 3 p.m. There will be 400 permits available and each permit will carry a limit of three birds. Hunters receiving a permit will be required to pass a crane identification test before their permits become valid. Details of the drawing will be available at a later date.
During the process leading to the final commission vote, various presentations were made to the commission providing as much information possible to determine if Tennessee should move forward with implementation of a sandhill crane hunt.
Presentations were also made by individuals both for and against the hunt during Thursday’s committee meeting. After the establishment of the season was approved unanimously by the Wildlife Management Committee on Thursday, the full commission unanimously voted to approve the hunt during Friday’s meeting.
Concerning the other waterfowl seasons, the statewide season will open Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) and run for 60 days.
For late waterfowl seasons, the possession limit has been increased from two times the daily limit to three times the daily limit. This does not change the daily bag limit.
The TWRA’s Fisheries Division presented its proposed changes in the sport and commercial fishing regulations for 2014-15. The complete changes with comment period dates for both the sport and commercial fish regulation proposals will be available on Monday, Aug. 26.
The commission also voted Friday to approve the TWRA’s budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter presented the recommended budget during the committee meetings Thursday.
Special presentations on Friday included a resolution honoring Sen. Lamar Alexander for his support of the TWRA and the sportsmen and sportswomen of Tennessee. He was actively involved in helping prevent the permanent closing of access on tailwaters below dams on the Cumberland River system and helped gain the continuation of funding for federal fish hatcheries in Tennessee and Georgia.
Bill Swann III and Keith Watson of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Safari Club International presented a check of $4,000 to the TWRA to be used in the elk restoration project.
The commission will hold its next meeting Sept. 19-20 (Thursday-Friday) in Nashville at TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Committee meetings will begin at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 and the formal session starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 20.