The overall statewide harvest during the three-day August deer increased by 29 percent as compared to last year. The report was made during the September meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting which concluded Friday.
The totals include Unit CWD. In Unit CWD, the total reported was a 155 percent increase and a jump of 316 percent from 218. The numbers indicate 603 deer harvested in Units A-L, 166 in Unit CWD for a total of 769. Within Unit CWD, 97 deer were tested with six harvests positive in Fayette County and two in Hardeman County.
The August deer hunt season was held for three days for archery on private lands only for antlered deer, except in Unit CWD where guns and muzzleloaders were also allowed and select public lands were available.
A waterfowl crop update was given for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region I in West Tennessee. Many places in West Tennessee were approaching 200 percent of the normal rainfall over a 30-day period in July with trend continuing through August into September.
The flooding delayed planting on the Kentucky Lake units. There were also levee and pump-out issues. Some crops have been replanted up to four times. Some crops are expected to make it and some moist soil units are reported to be in excellent condition. The Obion River wildlife management areas also have been replanted up to four times with crops now in fair to good condition. The Mississippi River and Reelfoot units had no flood damage and moist soils units are in fair condition.
Dr. Bradley Cohen, from Tennessee Tech, provided a review of the first year of research on the mallard habitat study in West Tennessee. The study includes the GPS tagging of juvenile/adult and male/female mallards. Also the study includes-on-the ground assessments of food abundance and quality and real time assessments of habitat.
The TWRA recognized the National Wild Turkey Federation Lone Mountain Longbeard Chapter and the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association in support of the Tennessee Elk Program. Their donation of a reward led to the arrest and prosecution of persons for an illegally taken elk in the area.
The TFWC approved the removal of the original wooden structure and the building of a new steel structure at Hatfield Knob Viewing Area. It will more than double the current capacity of the current structure. Other upgrades will also be made to the area. More than 16,000 people annually visit the current structure, primarily to view elk.
During the Friday portion of the meeting, a presentation was made on the busy boating season in Tennessee this year. A record number of boaters and anglers used the state’s waterways. So far in 2020, there have been 26 fatalities in boating-related incidents. Official stats have been kept since 1965. The all-time high in fatalities came in 2004.
The TWRA has seen major increase in paddle craft use the past decade. The numbers of users in this group has doubled over the past decade on the state’s float rivers. Four of this year’s fatalities involved paddle craft.
The Fisheries Division presented its annual awards. Rick Bean was named the Fisheries Technician of the Year. He serves on the Region IV reservoir crew. Jon Ellis, manager of the Tellico Hatchery, was the Fisheries Biologist of the Year.
The meeting was held in Clarksville at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott. The October meeting will be held at Buffalo Ridge Refuge.