The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission passed an amended proclamation that sets a split statewide waterfowl season for 2014-15.
The action came at the commission’s August meeting which concluded Friday afternoon at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center.
The statewide duck season will be Nov. 22-23, (weekend prior to Thanksgiving) and Nov. 29 - Jan. 25, 2015. The change this year comes after last year’s statewide duck season began on Thanksgiving Day and ran for 60 consecutive days. The Reelfoot Lake Zone duck season dates remain unchanged from previous years, only corrected for this year’s calendar. That season this year is Nov. 15-16 and Nov. 29-Jan. 25, 2015.
Other dates affected to match the duck season opening are the statewide Canada goose (statewide second phase), snow goose, white-fronted goose, gallinules and moorhen, sora and Virginia rail.
The second year of the three year experimental sandhill crane season will also be held this year. The sandhill crane season will be open on the weekend before Thanksgiving, resume on Nov. 29 and end on Jan. 1, 2015.
Tennessee and other states select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. According to the USFWS’s 2014 Waterfowl Population Status Report, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season.
The waterfowl hunting frameworks are set using annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys that produce the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world. They guide the service’s waterfowl conservation programs and provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations.
The TWRA’s Fisheries Division presented proposed changes in the sport and commercial fishing regulations for 2015-16. Agency recommendations will be distributed for public comments after the August meeting. The commission will discuss and vote on the commercial fishing proclamations at its Sept. 18-19 meeting in Nashville. The sport fishing proclamations for 2015-16 will be discussed and voted on at the Oct. 29-30 meeting in Greeneville.
The winners of the drawing for the 2014 Tennessee elk hunt were announced during Thursday’s committee meeting. This included the four main drawing winners, the youth elk hunt tag winner, and the winner of the tag auctioned by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation.
The 2013 Boating Officers of the Year were introduced to the commission. Announced earlier, Joe Campbell is the Boating Officer of the Year while Greg Barker is the part-time award winner. Both officers serve in West Tennessee.
The commission also passed the agency’s 2015-16 budget recommendations.