The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has established the state’s 2020-21 and 2021-22 hunting and trapping regulations at its May meeting which concluded Friday. The commission and others also honored retiring Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Executive Director Ed Carter who is retiring after 48 years of service, including serving since 2009 in the top leadership position.
The commission sets the hunting and fishing regulations in two-year intervals.
The approval of the seasons completes a lengthy process.
Director Carter was praised for his many contributions, highlighted by the TFWC voting unanimously to rename the Tackett Creek Unit in North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, the Ed Carter Unit. The unit is comprised of 43,050 acres in Campbell and Claiborne counties.
Among the new regulations, the CWD unit for deer hunting is expanded to include Crockett, Gibson, and Lauderdale counties. The addition brings the number to 11 counties in Unit CWD.
Also, in Unit CWD, guns will be allowed in the unit throughout all of deer season, except during the traditional archery-only segment in September and October. The commission also voted to approve unlimited Earn-a-Bucks, and allow replacement bucks to be harvested in Unit CWD or the same county as the CWD-positive deer qualifying for a replacement. The mandatory physical check station requirement has been discontinued in the unit.
The commission made some changes to turkey hunting regulations. The statewide spring turkey season bag limit has been reduced from four to three and bonus turkeys on WMAs have been discontinued. A two-week season delay from the opening of the statewide spring turkey season and a bag limit reduction to two will go into effect for the five Mississippi River adjacent counties of Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton.
The two-week opening delay will also be effective in four southern Middle Tennessee counties to include Giles, Lawrence, Lincoln, and Wayne. The Young Sportsman Hunt would be held the weekend prior to the delayed opener for both the Mississippi River and the five southern Middle Tennessee counties. The fall turkey hunting season was eliminated for Lincoln County.
Bear hunting regulations included shifts in some hunt segments in Bear Hunt Zones 1, 2, and 3 to minimize conflicts with deer hunters, to hunt during times when the U.S. Forest Service roads on South Cherokee are open, and to allow rest periods prior to party-dog hunts. The total number of hunting days is not affected.
A change in elk regulations now allows the incidental take of one either sex elk by licensed deer hunters in non-elk restoration counties. Incidental harvest of elk is only allowed outside of Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan and Scott counties.
Changes in Manner and Means pertained to sizes allowed for foothold traps.
The commission also approved numerous regulations regarding wildlife management areas. There are 110 WMAs in the state which encompasses more than 1.5 million across the state.
In addition, the TFWC funded the Asian Carp Incentive Program for 2020-21 at $1 million, including a new funding for industry grants. The commission also approved four new Agency positions to work on carp monitoring and control and 10 new positions to combat CWD.