The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2021 dove season. The first segment of dove season opens at noon on Sept. 1. Land owners can earn up to $3,600 for providing a dove field for public hunting. These fields must be available for a minimum of three priority hunt dates in September. Mourning doves are a popular game bird and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species combined in 39 of the continental states. In Tennessee, an estimated 17,000 hunters harvest approximately 250,000 mourning doves each year. The TWRA began its leased dove field program in the late 1980s and the program has been very successful in providing quality opportunities for hunters. In addition to leased fields, many public dove fields are provided on wildlife management areas in each TWRA region. The TWRA website has specific information about WMAs and information about leased dove fields in each region that will be added as the fields are enrolled in the program. The standard fall leased field is a harvested grain field to which the TWRA leases the hunting rights for three priority dates. The hunting access rate paid to land owners for fall leased fields may be up to $75 an acre for a maximum of 40 acres. Fields that are top sown with wheat are eligible for an additional $15 an acre. Interested land owners must sign up their fields in August. Anyone interested in leasing a dove field to the TWRA should contact their TWRA regional office. The agency has four regional offices across the state that interested land owners can contact. For Region 1 (West Tennessee) call 731-423-5725 or toll free 800-372-3928.
HUMMINGBIRD EVENTS CANCELED
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the cancellation of two hummingbird banding events for Tennessee and Cross Creeks national wildlife refuges. The Tennessee refuge hummingbird banding was to be held Saturday, and the Cross Creeks event was to be held on Aug. 28. Both events are canceled because of concerns about recent spikes in coronavirus cases in the local area. The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and headquarters is located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville. At this time, the visitor center will remain open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. The Cross Creeks Visitor Center is located at 643 Wildlife Road in Dover, however this visitor center remains closed to the public. The health and safety of visitors and employees at the refuges are the top priorities, USFWS officials said, and it is working with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus situation. Recently, the rise in numbers have warranted an abundance of caution and it was determined that holding this event would be irresponsible, refuge officials said. “We deeply regret the outcome of this hard decision,” said Refuge Ranger Joan Howe. “However, it was necessary to keep our visitors, volunteers and staff as safe as possible.” For more information about these cancellations call the refuge headquarters at 642-2091.
RUSSWOOD YOUTH SQUIRREL HUNT
Russwood Baptist Church youth members are having a squirrel hunt Aug. 28 to help kick off the fall hunting season. They’re going to give cash prizes for two categories: one for the heaviest squirrel and the other for longest tail. This is for children up to age 18. All participants will meet that morning at 10 a.m. at Russwood to measure and weigh their bushy tails. After the hunt and weigh-in, all are invited to a free cooked meal in the fellowship hall. Prizes and monetary gifts will be given away at that time. “We will need to know who will be attending so please call or message me so I can put you down for the event,” said spokesman Shane Barker. “This way we know how many to cook for and plan our prizes.” For additional information, contact Barker at 731-514- 3325.
RESIDENT GOOSE SEASON AT REFUGE
New hunt regulations are now available for the fall resident Canada goose hunt on the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. This hunt will be held on Sept. 1-10 on all three units of the refuge. The refuge also offers hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoon and squirrel. Refuge hunt regulations can be found at the refuge office and visitor center, at area kiosks, local hunting and fishing stores, or online at www.fws.gov/refuge/ tennessee. A refuge annual hunt permit for Tennessee and Cross Creeks refuges can be bought for $15 through TWRA licensing agents in area hunting and fishing stores. Use code 064 when purchasing these permits. For more information on the refuge hunt program, contact the Refuge headquarters in Paris at 642-2091. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s statewide season on resident Canada geese, which is separate from the refuge season, opens on Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 19. Another statewide segment is scheduled for Oct. 9-19.
EARLY SQUIRREL SEASON CHANGED
Unfortunately for Tennessee squirrel hunters who have grown accustomed to an early opener in Land Between the Lakes for many years — the season opened there a week prior to the statewide season for decades — such will not be the case this year. According to LBL officials, a clerical error slipped by some of the wildlife planners this year and regulations printed the statewide season dates as the opener for squirrel season in the Tennessee portion of LBL, which this year will be Aug. 28. So, Tennessee hunters lost a week of early hunting because of that error. The Kentucky portion will have its traditional opener Aug. 21 in LBL.
DEADLINE NEAR ON CONTEST
The entry deadline is Sunday for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation’s 2021 conservation contest. Ten outstanding outdoor experience packages, plus an additional 100 prizes will be awarded. All 10 packages feature additional items and details of the prizes can be found at www.twrf.net/.
SHOOTOUT WITH SHERIFF CANCELED
The Henry County Fair’s Shootout With the Sheriff scheduled for Saturday at Holly Fork Shooting Complex has been canceled. The cancellation was blamed on a lack of available ammunition for shooters, said fair representatives.
Aug. 28 — Statewide squirrel season opens. Aug. 28 — Youth squirrel hunt and meal, Russwood Baptist Church.