BY STEVE McCADAMS
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offers field days throughout the year for those who take online hunter safety courses. The field day is required for completion of the online course where live firing sessions and other info are held.
The TWRA will host one at 9 a.m. Saturday at Holly Fork Shooting Complex here in Henry County. Participants must have taken an approved online course prior to the field day and have proof of completion. Pre-registration for the field day is required at www.tnwildlife.org.
The next TWRA hunter safety classroom course is scheduled for Oct. 1-6 at Hulme Sporting Goods in Paris. Participants must also register online for it.
FRIENDS OF NRA
The Henry County Friends of the National Rifle Association will host its annual appreciation banquet Sept. 29 at the Quality Inn Paris Convention Center, 1501 E. Wood St. in Paris. Tickets are $30.
Hulme Sporting Goods has donated two rifles for door prizes. Each early bird ticket holder will be eligible to win a Remington .308 Model 783 Rifle. You must purchase tickets by Saturday for the early bird drawing. And a door prize, a Ruger 10/22 Takedown Camo Rifle 22LR, will be given away and you must be present to win both door prizes.
Tickets can be purchased locally at Hulme Sporting Goods and from JMC Firearms. You can also purchase tickets online at www.friendsofnra.org/tn/events. For additional info on the event, contact Robert Horner at 333-9151.
SOUTH DAKOTA PHEASANTS INCREASE
According to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, this year’s pheasant brood survey shows a 47 percent increase from last year. The 2018 statewide pheasants-per-mile (PPM) index is 2.47, up from the 2017 index of 1.68.
“A substantial increase in the pheasants-per-mile index is an exciting prospect for South Dakota’s 100th pheasant hunting season this fall,” stated Kelly Hepler, GFP secretary. “Weather conditions continue to play a significant role when it comes to bird numbers and better weather helped this year with the average pheasant brood size increasing twenty-two percent over last year.”
From late July through mid-August, GFP surveyed 110 30-mile routes across the state’s pheasant range to estimate pheasant production and calculate the PPM index. The survey is not a population estimate, but rather compares the number of pheasants observed on the routes and establishes trend information. Statewide, 85 of the 110 survey routes had a higher PPM than 2017.
“We are pleased to see pheasant numbers improve across the state; particularly in the far eastern part of the state where hunters will have more opportunities to harvest birds than in recent years,” stated Hepler. “The full report provides an overview of upland habitat, which remains a concern for all wildlife across the state. Just as changes in landscape-level habitat conditions have produced peaks and valleys in the pheasant population for a hundred years, habitat will again be the key to preserving pheasant hunting for another century.”
The Walk-in Area program added 39,000 new acres in addition to 8,000 new acres last year. With 1.1 million acres of public hunting land within the heart of South Dakota’s pheasant range, great opportunities remain for public access to pheasant hunting. Hepler said hunters should notice far fewer disturbed fields compared to last year when emergency haying and grazing was authorized in response to severe drought conditions.
The annual hunting atlas and a web-based interactive map of public lands and private lands leased for public hunting can be found at www.gfp.sd.gov/hunting-areas/. In addition to printed and interactive maps, hunters can use GPS downloads and smartphone applications to locate public hunting lands throughout the state. Hunters are again asked to hunt safely and ethically, respect private landowners and those public hunting areas scattered across the state.
“Challenges exist to maintain habitat, desirable pheasant population levels, and to recruit a new generation of hunters to preserve this truly special sport of pheasant hunting. Take time this fall to celebrate the hunt, the sense of community and camaraderie while appreciating how deeply rooted the tradition of pheasant hunting has been for the last hundred years,” concluded Hepler.
South Dakota’s traditional statewide pheasant hunting season opens on Oct. 20 and runs through Jan. 6.
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
A new report, “Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation,” highlights how recreational fishing is a beloved social activity, an economic driver, and a key contributor to the country’s fisheries conservation efforts.
The study was produced for the American Sportfishing Association, the industry’s trade association, by Southwick Associates. As the Modern Fish Act continues to make its way through Congress, these facts and figures provide important context to the benefits of recreational fishing.
Some key facts from the report are included below:
• America’s anglers are estimated to spend $49.8 billion a year in retail sales associated with their sport.
• With a total annual economic impact of nearly $125 billion, recreational fishing impacts the livelihood of 800,000 Americans, generating more than $38 billion in wages and nearly $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
• Anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. The excise tax on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channeled more than $600 million of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs in 2016.
APPLICATION TIME FOR
The application period is underway for the computerized drawing system to be used for the TWRA’s selected 2018-19 Wildlife Management Area waterfowl hunts and the statewide sandhill crane hunting season. The application period for both will continue until midnight Sept. 26.
A computerized drawing system will be held to select successful applicants based on the priority drawing system for the WMA waterfowl hunts. Hunters may apply at any TWRA license agent, at any TWRA regional office, online at www.tnwildlife.org and on the TWRA app. Mailed applications will not be accepted.
The WMAs available for this year’s hunts are Bogota, Gooch Unit E, White Oak-Lebanon Pond, Meeman-Shelby Forest, Thorny Cypress in West Tennessee. Other areas of the state are listed on the agency’s website.
Today — TWRA fishing comment deadline.
Saturday — TWRA Field Day, Holly Fork Shooting Complex.
Sunday — Early season on resident geese ends.
Sept. 22 — Archery deer season opens.
Sept. 22 — National Hunting and Fishing Day; National Public Lands Day.
Sept. 26 — Waterfowl blind quota hunt/sandhill crane application deadline.
Sept. 28 — First segment of dove season ends.
Sept. 29 — Friends of NRA banquet, Paris Civic Center, 1510 E. Wood St..