TFWC Commission Sets 2017-18 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons; Elects New Officers

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established the 2017-18 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting seasons at its February meeting. The TFWC also elected its new officers for the coming year.

The actions occurred at the TFWC’s two-day meeting which concluded Friday afternoon at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.

The TFWC approved the TWRA’s recommendation to establish an operational sandhill crane hunting season. For the past four years, an experimental sandhill crane hunting season has been held in a limited area in East Tennessee. TFWC also approved the TWRA’s recommendation to expand the season statewide.

For the East Tennessee sandhill hunting zone, there will be 1,200 tags issued to 400 hunters. For statewide, there will be 1,119 tags available at one tag per hunter. The East zone will have hand-held drawing in early August while the statewide season tags will be issued by computer drawing at a date to be announced later.

The commission approved the TWRA’s proposal for a two-week shift in the American Woodcock season. The change moved the season from an October start to the second Saturday of November. Other traditional migratory game bird seasons will remain intact with only date changes and these will be posted on the TWRA website in early May.

There is a change in bag limits for northern pintails. There will be a reduction from two to one pintail daily. The black duck bag limit will see its first increase in more than 30 years going from one bird to two per day.  

The commission had asked the TWRA to investigate the potential cost of implementing a big game harvest survey, and a tagging program that was once used statewide. The agency presented four tagging options with no action being taken.

The Information Technology Division’s 2016 Professional of the Year, Zainab Latiff, was introduced to the commission. She serves as a lead programmer analyst for the division and was chosen from three other quarterly winners.

Joe Benedict, assistant chief of Wildlife and Forestry, provided an overview of several alternative big game harvest tagging options and a harvest survey along with cost estimates that could be considered to achieve the goals of improved game check-in compliance and more precise harvest data.  The commission chose not to take action on any of the options.

Budget expansions passed by the commission included a five-year contract with the University of Tennessee for services of an extension wildlife veterinarian to address the growing demand of professional wildlife disease work. Also approved was a two-year increase in funding to Ducks Unlimited/Canada for wetlands restoration work that helps breeding waterfowl that migrate through Tennessee. In addition, other expansions were a black bear research project expansion in the Gatlinburg-Great Smoky Mountains National Park area, and another to accept funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for private lands habitat improvement for species of conservation concern.

The TFWC elected its new officers for 2017-18. Jamie Woodson (Lebanon) will now serve as chair. David Watson (Lookout Mountain) moves from secretary to serve as vice chair. Kurt Holbert (Decaturville) was elected as the TFWC’s new secretary.

Chair Woodson replaced Harold Cannon (Lenoir City) who served in the role this past year. He was presented a plaque of appreciation for his service as chairman.  

The February meeting was the final for five commissioners who were recognized near the conclusion of the meeting. Along with Chairman Cannon, also concluding their appointments are Jim Bledsoe (Jamestown), Dr. Jeff McMillin (Bristol), Jim Ripley (Sevierville), and Trey Teague (Jackson).



Research Continues To Be Conducted On Pygmy Rattlesnakes In Tennessee

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is once again assisting wildlife biologists at Tennessee State University in research to determine the distribution of pygmy rattlesnakes in Tennessee. The pygmy rattlesnake is listed as a threatened species in Tennessee and the research will help in conservation efforts to preserve the species in the state. Native to Tennessee, pygmy ... (click for more)

Permit Drawing For Sandhill Crane Hunt Aug. 11; Any Leftover Permits To Go Statewide Draw

A hand-held permit drawing for the sixth sandhill crane hunt in Tennessee will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Rhea County High School in Evensville. Tags at this draw are valid only for use in the Southeast Crane Zone. This will mark the first time that the draw will be held at Rhea County High. The previous draws were held at the Birchwood Community Center in north Hamilton ... (click for more)

Juvenile Girl Shot On Doolittle Street Early Sunday Morning

A juvenile girl was shot early Sunday morning on Doolittle Street. Chattanooga Police responded at approximately 12:55 a.m. on to a person shot on the 2500 block of Doolittle Street.   Police were able to make contact with the victim at a local hospital where she was suffering from a critical, but non-life threatening gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Just Recuse Yourself

Pam Fleenor, have you ever heard the terms “conflict of interest” or “appearance of impropriety”? It’s a foregone conclusion that Robin Smith will be victorious in Chancellor Fleenor’s courtroom. Here’s another term you may want to re-examine, recuse yourself.   Rusty Munger (click for more)

Not My University: Why I’m Not Okay With Mike Pence Coming To Lee University - And Response (6)

As a student of Lee University, who is well-aware of the Lee administration’s more conservative stance in politics, I am upset about Mike Pence visiting the university and being welcomed on our campus. Although I respect that Pence is in a position of authority as our nation’s Vice President, and that he likewise deserves the right to hold his own opinions in regards to the issues ... (click for more)