Last Saturday’s Big Dog Predator Hunt was indeed a big deal for the area. The field of hunters ventured to Henry County from several towns and states across the region and from all indications it was a successful event.
“It was our best hunt in the ten-year history of the event,” said spokesman Randall Bowden. “We had our biggest coyote ever (47.8 pounds) checked in this year and had the most participants.”
The hunt saw hunters bring in 98 coyotes and nine bobcats this year.
Taking the top spot and $5,000 prize was the team of Luke Ward and Andy Roney with three coyotes weighing 110.1 pounds. Second place went to Jimmy and Phil White for a three-coyote limit weighing 109.6 pounds, followed by Taylor Teets and Justin Miller for three weighing 107.14 pounds.
The biggest coyote was taken by Caleb and Ashley Wilson for a hefty one tipping the scales at 47.8 pounds, which was the event record and earned them a check for $1,000. Second place went to Ward and Roney for one weighing 44.8 pounds. Third place went to Jason Green and Dan Nichols for a coyote weighing 44 pounds.
The smallest coyote weighed 24 pounds and earned a $250 check for the team of Jonathan Lane and Josh Fortner. The biggest bobcat was taken by Michael Cary and Daniel Hillard, which paid them $250.
Prize money was increased for this year’s hunt. That purse was increased this year and apparently helped draw the attention of more hunters.
To participate teams had to pay a $100 entry fee. There were 86 teams last year and 112 this year.
NWTF CONVENTION UNDERWAY
The 44th annual National Wild Turkey Federation’s Convention and Sports Show returns to the Gaylord/Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville this week. The event is already in progress and goes through Sunday.
The big sports show will have 350 companies featured in the exhibit hall with deals on thousands of items plus a live and silent auction.
It’s a huge event attracting thousands of sportsmen from across the country.
GUN SHOW RETURNS
Great American Promotions returns to the Henry County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday for a two-day gun show. Admission is $8 but a $1 discount coupon is available at area merchants. Admission is free for children age 12 and under with a paid adult. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 865-310-5427.
NWTF BANQUET NEARS
The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, known as the Tennessee River Longbeards, will have its annual membership and fundraising banquet Feb. 22 at the Henry County Fairgrounds.
Tickets are now on sale from committee members. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with a buffet dinner to follow, plus a live and silent auction.
Since forming in 1999, the local chapter received several accolades at the state level and since 2014 has grossed more than $250,000 for the NWTF with a net of 73% last year.
The chapter has also distributed 700 bags of seed corn, given $6,750 in scholarships to 13 students, spent more than $16,000 on its Jakes Day event and drawn 550 children, distributed 120 food boxes in Henry County at Thanksgiving, secured $25,000 grants for Holly Fork Shooting Complex upgrades, secured $9,500 superfund grant to Covenant Ranch for summer youth programs, and purchased a $1,000 mechanical turkey decoy for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency law enforcement to combat poaching.
NEW HUNTING/FISHING LICENSES
Sportsmen across Tennessee are advised that new hunting and fishing licenses will go on sale Tuesday across the Volunteer State. Once purchased, the new licenses are good for the 2020-21 year. Licenses expire every year on the last day of February.
HUNTING COMMENTS SOUGHT
The TWRA is soliciting comments for its 2020-21 and 2021-22 hunting seasons’ regulations. The state’s hunting seasons are set every two years, except for waterfowl and other migratory birds which are set annually.
This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff. The comment period will be open through Tuesday.
Public comments will be considered by TWRA staff and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. Comments may be submitted by mail to: Hunting Season Comments, TWRA, Wildlife and Forestry Division, 5107 Edmondson Pike, Nashville, TN 37211 or emailed to TWRA.HuntingComments@tn.gov. Include “Hunting Season Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.
NATIONAL BIRD DOG CHAMPIONSHIP
The National Bird Dog Championship is in progress and will run through Feb. 21 at the famous Ames Plantation at Grand Junction.
The event kicked off Monday. The National found a permanent home on the Ames Plantation in 1915 and every running since has been on the “hallowed” field trial grounds set in place by Hobart Ames, long time president and judge of the national championship.
Details of the history of this prestigious event have been chronicled in a book by William F. Brown and Nash Buckingham entitled National Field Trial Champions.
Running on some 6,000 acres of Ames Plantation, the usual entries include about 36 English Pointers and /or English Setters, winners or placers in 70 qualifying trials throughout the United States and Canada, competing.
REFUGE DISCOVERY SERIES
Are there aliens living among us? These invaders are actually exotic plants and animals that can wreak havoc in our ecosystems when introduced. What can we do to keep this from happening and what about those already here?
Join a host of wildlife enthusiasts for this month’s Refuge Discovery Series as guest naturalist Shannon Brockway from the Land Between the Lakes Nature Station presents “Alien Invaders” at 1 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Filled with live animals, this program should prove to be educational as well as entertaining for all ages. Entrance to the Refuge Visitor Center and attendance for this program are free.
Because of their responsibilities, the USFWS is very concerned about the impacts that invasive species are having across the nation.
The USFWS describes an invasive species as one that is not native to an ecosystem and which causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. It is important to note that when we talk about a species being invasive, we are talking about environmental boundaries, not political ones. In addition to the many invasive species from outside the United States, there are many species from within the United States that are invasive in other parts of the country, namely Asian carp.
For more information about the Refuge Discovery Series, how to become a member of the Friends or about the refuge in general, call the refuge headquarters at 642-2091 or see the website at www.fws.gov/refuge/tennessee.
Today through Feb. 21 — National Bird Dog Championship, Ames Plantation, Grand Junction.
Today through Sunday — National Wild Turkey Federation Convention, Gaylord/Opryland Convention Center, Nashville.
Today through Monday — Great American Bird Count.
Saturday-Sunday — Gun Show, Henry County Fairgrounds.
Tuesday — Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hunting comment deadline.
Tuesday — New hunting/fishing licenses go on sale.
Feb. 22 — Refuge Discovery Series, refuge visitor center.