BY STEVE McCADAMS

 

Among the events at this week’s Henry County Fair is a Shootout with Sheriff Monte Belew at Holly Fork Shooting Complex. The event will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

All participants receive a T-shirt and free lunch. Participants will be shooting a Duck Flush and Annie Oakley style contests. Cash prizes totaling $1,000 will be given away.

The event is sponsored by Tosh Farms and Final Flight Outfitters. For additional information, call the sheriff at 336-4699.

 

TWRA SEEKS DOVE FIELDS

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2019 dove season. The first segment of dove season opens at noon Sept. 1. 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 19,000 hunters harvested approximately 334,000 mourning doves last year.    

Landowners 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.

 The TWRA began its leased dove field program in the late 1980s and the program has been very successful in providing quality hunting opportunities. 

In addition to leased fields, many public dove fields are provided on wildlife management areas in each TWRA region. The TWRA website will have specific information about WMAs and leased dove fields in each region beginning Thursday.  The standard fall leased field is a harvested grain field to which TWRA leases the hunting rights for three priority dates. 

The hunting access rate paid to landowners 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 landowners must sign up their fields in August. Anyone interested in leasing a dove field to TWRA should contact their TWRA regional office. 

The TWRA has four regional offices across the state that interested landowners can contact. The Region I (West Tennessee) office is at 731-423-5725 or toll-free 800-372-3928.

 

DUCK BLIND DRAW NUMBERS DOWN

Total numbers entering the duck blind drawing at Big Sandy for wildlife management area duck blinds in the Kentucky Lake area were down at last Saturday’s drawing.

Traditionally the drawing at Big Sandy, the largest in the state, has seen around 2,600 entered in the last several years. This year it was down about 700 as the total entry was 1,968. Several factors may have contributed to the decline as most units had their corn crops flooded out this spring and summer from high lake levels on Kentucky Lake that destroyed the TWRA’s planting efforts. 

Also, last season was a poor year for duck hunters across the region and that may have been a factor, too. A lot of hunters are moving west into Missouri and Arkansas to hunt leased land so that may have contributed also. Efforts by the TWRA to diminish the buying and selling of blinds once drawn may have further impacted some participants.

SPORTSMEN’S CALENDAR

Saturday — Shootout with the Sheriff, Holly Fork Shooting Complex.

Saturday — Hummingbird banding event, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.

Aug. 17 — Squirrel season opens, LBL.

Aug. 23-25 — New muzzleloader/archery hunt for CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) deer zone.

Aug. 24 — Statewide squirrel season opens.

Aug. 24 — Free hunting day in Tennessee.

Aug. 29 — TWRA public listening session, West Tennessee Research and Education Center, Jackson.

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