A presentation on 2019-20 hunting regulations within the chronic wasting disease (CWD) affected counties, an Asian carp update, and waterfowl research were among the items discussed at the April meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The two-day meeting concluded Friday at the Holly Fork Shooting Complex.
A proposal for changes to deer hunting regulations for 2019-20 season in positive and high-risk chronic wasting disease (CWD) counties was presented that included viable options for minimizing the prevalence of CWD, maximizing containment of the disease, maximizing stakeholder buy-in and participation, as well as minimizing conflicts with small game hunters, trappers, and landowners.
The current positive and high-risk counties would remain in Unit L, but would have some additional harvest opportunities. During the August deer hunt, gun, muzzleloader, and archery would be allowed with a two antlered deer limit that would be in addition to a hunter’s annual antlered deer limit of two. WMAs would be open to the public for the August hunt. During the other seasons, for a buck found to be CWD positive, a replacement buck will be allowed. Harvests made on select weekends will require mandatory check-in at stations.
An Asian carp update was given citing that commercial harvest is the most effective method in the removal of invasive species. The Asian carp incentive program which began last fall, is continuing to grow and has resulted in 718,000 pounds removed to date. Also discussed were the containment measures including the accidental transport and reduction of immigration at navigation locks.
The commission approved a federally-funded study on mallards behavior and use of wetlands. Mallards provide 74 percent of the migrating birds in Tennessee. The project will help the agency be more efficient and effective with habitat management.
The TFWC also approved a federally-funded cooperative project with Ducks Unlimited to enhance some wetland area within the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area. The expectation of the project is that it will contribute to the management of the area and increase hunting and viewing opportunities.
The TWRA is constantly striving to provide more opportunities for people to try hunting and fishing. These efforts are keys in increasing hunting and angler numbers in the state. In an effort to expand current programs offered a proposal to enhance existing programs of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Federation was presented. The goal was to make the programs statewide and with a special target emphasis on non-hunting/fishing youth and families.
The commission passed a rule to permanently establish carcass exportation and feeding restrictions for positive and high risk CWD zone counties. Information about the restrictions and which counties they apply to will continue to be updated and publicly available.
The meeting was the first for appointed commissioners Jimmy Granbery (Nashville), Steve Jones (Clinton), Jim Ripley (Kodak), Thomas Woods (Piney Flatts), and Hank Wright (Collierville).
The TFWC’s next scheduled meeting is May 23-24 in Nashville at the TWRA Region II headquarters in Nashville.