Applications for the youth and adult turkey quota hunts at Land Between the Lakes will be available online through Feb. 28.
Hunters may apply online and learn more about the application process at: lblquotahunt.usedirect.com/Web/Home.aspx. The online application fee is $10, and preference points will be carried over from previous years. Applicants can check the quota hunt website at the end of March to see if they were drawn.
“We are happy to report that we will return to the very popular turkey quota hunts this season,” said John Westbrook, environmental stewardship program manager. “We want the programs you enjoy at Land Between the Lakes to represent your values in western Kentucky and Tennessee.
Public feedback is critical to our wildlife programs and we encourage sportsmen and women to share their experiences and values so we can continue to make informed decisions that best represent them.”
Three quota hunts in both the Kentucky and Tennessee portions of Land Between the Lakes require prior application. Hunting is not permitted between these dates.
Kentucky and Tennessee quota hunt dates are: youth quota hunt – April 3-4; quota hunt – April 10-11 and April 14-15.
The non-quota hunting season, which does not require prior application, runs for 14 days.
Kentucky and Tennessee non-quota hunting season dates are April 17-30.
The appropriate state hunting license, turkey permit, quota hunt permit (if applicable), hunter safety card, and LBL hunter use permit are required and must be carried while hunting. All hunters ages 16 and older must possess an LBL hunter use permit.
Hunter use permits are $25 and combination hunter use/basic and dispersed camping permits are $75. Hunter use permits are valid March 1 through the following Feb. 28. Turkey hunters will want to purchase their hunter use permits beginning March 1. The hunter use and combination permits may be purchased online at: landbetweenthelakes.us/reservations/.
A map showing hunt area boundaries may be purchased at LBL facilities for $14.95, or viewed online for free at: landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/maps/. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is also available online.
Hunters will want to be sure to refer to that map when scouting and hunting on LBL land, as licensed motorized vehicles are only permitted on roads identified on that map.
More information on turkey hunting at LBL can be found on the 2021 Turkey Hunting Fact Sheet: landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/brochures/
EAGLE WEEKEND AT REELFOOT
The annual Reelfoot Lake Bald Eagle Weekend is in progress at Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Opportunities are available throughout the winter but a special three-day weekend to highlight this winter wonderland during the first weekend of February begins today.
A series of bus tours will be available to ferry folks around the area and offer valuable information on the history of the lake and the migration of eagles as well, not to mention viewing lots of waterfowl.
It’s a great educational opportunity, not to mention offering abundant chances to shoot excellent photographs.
To learn more, log on to the Reelfoot Lake State Park website www.tnstateparks.com/parks/reelfoot-lake for a listing of bus tour departure times.
Reservations are encouraged and some tours are already sold out. Reservations for pontoon and bus tours can be made online. You may also call the park office at 731-253-9652.
YOUTH WATERFOWL, VETERAN HUNTS
The next two weekends will offer special waterfowl hunts for both youth and veterans. Youth waterfowl hunts will be held Saturday and again the following Saturday, Feb. 13. Youngsters in the age bracket of 6-16 years of age may participate when accompanied by an adult.
On Sunday and again on Feb. 14, a special waterfowl hunt will occur for veterans and active military personnel.
Check out page 18 of the Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide for more details.
WINTER CRAPPIE RETURN
After a few cold and windy days that kept anglers at bay, it seems one or two days returned with light winds and somewhat mild temperatures to allow winter anglers to get back out on the lake. If the boat ramps were any indication, crappie anglers seized the opportunity at midweek and took to the water.
Most anglers are concentrating their efforts toward main lake venues in deep water. Depths of 18-25 feet have been giving up some fish too.
A lot of boats are fishing jigs in the lime or chartreuse color variations with some red, pink or black blended in. And, live minnows are still producing too as some anglers are choosing to tip their jigs with minnows to entice bites.
Surface temperatures have cooled down to the upper 30s and low 40s the last few days, with some bitter cold temps in the forecast for the weekend, too. By this weekend, nighttime temps will fall to the 24-degree range but by next week the weatherman says the mercury will dip down to 12-13 degrees at midweek.
Better catch those crappie before both the anglers and the fish freeze out.
Meanwhile, lake levels have stayed put this week and were resting at the 354.4-feet range across the reservoir. That’s down around normal winter pool. Water color has been clear.
When surface temps get this cold, most of the shad tend to fall back to deeper water to avoid the bitter cold. The crappie will follow them so look for most of the fish to stay on that deep pattern during the approaching cold snap.
Friday-Sunday — Eagle/waterfowl tours, Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Saturday and Feb. 13 — Youth waterfowl hunt.
Sunday and Feb. 14 — Veterans and active military personnel hunt.
Feb. 18-19 — Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meets, Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.
Feb. 28 — Rabbit/quail seasons end.
Feb. 28 — Fishing/hunting licenses expire.