A preview of the 2018-19 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting seasons was presented at the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s first meeting of the year. The two-day meeting concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.
Jamie Feddersen, TWRA’s Migratory Game Bird Program leader, gave the preview. Seasons and bag limits for most migratory gamebirds will be similar to 2017-18.
Proposed changes include the increase of the daily bag limit for pintails and black ducks from one bird a day to two birds a day.
Another proposed change is in regard to the youth waterfowl hunts which occur on consecutive Saturdays in February. The hunts have been for youth ages 6 to 15, but the agency is proposing a change for youth from ages 6 to 16 to fall in line with other TWRA youth hunts such as deer and turkey. Federal regulations were recently changed to include youth to age 16.
Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, age 21 or older. Also proposed is, adults and other persons accompanying youth hunters shall not hunt during these youth waterfowl hunts.
The proposal includes an expansion for most goose seasons to include more days. The bag limit of white-fronted geese would increase from two birds a day to three a day.
The statewide sandhill crane hunting season will remain the same with only a change in calendar dates.
Frank Fiss, Fisheries Division chief, followed his presentation that he gave in December with an update on Asian carp. He discussed the agency’s exploring the possibilities of controlling the invasive species, including working with commercial fishermen.
Doug Markham, TWRA Communications manager, also updated the commission on the agency’s continued efforts to educate the public about chronic wasting disease (CWD). Tennessee has not had any documented cases of the disease which could be devastating to deer and elk populations. Efforts include informing hunters who travel out of state about Tennessee’s carcass import restrictions.
Three surrounding states, Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia, have reported cases of CWD in deer or elk herds. They are among the states where Tennessee’s important restrictions apply.
Ducks Unlimited/Canada representative Dave Kostersky, discussed the 2017 highlights and the organizations continued partnership with the TWRA. He was joined by the DU/Canada Chairman Jim Couch and they presented plaques of appreciation to commission members for continued support of the organization.
Several awards were presented at this month’s meeting. Mark Gudlin, TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division chief, announced the wildlife biologist and wildlife technician of the year. Dan Gibbs, from TWRA Region IV, was the biologist winner and Josh Roberson, TWRA Region I, was named the technician award winner.
David Hanni, TWRA’s State Bird Conservation coordinator, introduced the second winner of the Robert M. Hatcher Ornithological Scholarship. Mackenzie Roeder, a graduate student at Austin Peay, was at the meeting to receive her award. The $1,000 scholarship is named in honor of Bob Hatcher, who served the TWRA for 38 years ending his career as the Non-Game and Endangered Species coordinator from 1987 until 2001.