National Bird Dog Championship

A champion dog will be crowned this week at the National Bird Dog Championship at the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction. Underway since Feb. 10, the contest is considered to be the Super Bowl of bird dog competitions.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, known as the Tennessee River Longbeards, will have its annual membership and fundraising banquet on Saturday at the Henry County Fairgrounds.

Tickets are now on sale from committee members. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a buffet dinner to follow plus a live and silent auction.

Since forming in 1999, the local chapter has received several accolades at the state level and since 2014 has grossed more than $250,000 for NWTF with a net of 73 percent 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 a $9,500 Superfund grant for Covenant Ranch for summer youth programs, and purchased a $1,000 mechanical turkey decoy for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency law enforcement to combat poaching.

 

FISHING/HUNTING LICENSES ON SALE

Tennessee sportsmen are advised that new fishing and hunting licenses are now on sale. Once purchased, the new licenses are good for the 2020-2021 year. Licenses expire every year on the last day of February.

As always, licenses are available at multiple outlets across the state which range from local license agents to TWRA regional offices and online at gooutdoorstennessee.com.

You can also obtain details of hunting and fishing licenses’ cost and what is covered by logging onto the TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org. All licenses remain the same price as last year.

 

NO QUOTA TURKEY HUNT ON LBL

Spring turkey hunters will be interested to hear that no quota hunt will be held in the Land Between the Lakes this year. A season brochure will not be produced this spring according to information on LBL’s website.

According to the website, no draw hunts will be held this season at the request of some hunters. Biologists said no quota hunt draw will be held in order to give all turkey hunters an equal opportunity to enjoy a traditional opening day experience.Many turkey hunters expressed an interest in hunting fresh uneducated birds. 

“We are suspending the turkey draw this season to provide this unique experience,” the website states. “Points accumulated in previous seasons will carry over to next season when we return to normal draw hunts.”

Apparently statewide season dates will apply. For additional information call 270-924-2065 or email lblinfo@fs.fed.us.

 

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. Saturday at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville.

Filled with live animals, this program should prove to be educational as well as entertaining for all ages. Entrance to the visitor center and attendance for this program are free.

The refuge considers this a very important topic. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the only agency of the U.S. government whose primary responsibility is the conservation of the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants. 

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 of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge or about the refuge in general, call the refuge headquarters at 642-2091 or see the website at www.fws.gov/refuge/tennessee.    

 

LBL PLANETARIUM NEEDS YOUR HELP

The Friends of Land Between the Lakes is seeking donations to be used as a match for an anonymous gift of up to $20,000. The Friends of LBL must raise $20,000 by May 1, to achieve the full match and will be reaching out to supporters.

The funds will be used for improvements to the planetarium at the Golden Pond Visitor Center inside LBL National Recreation Area, including a new projector. These upgrades are necessary to keep the planetarium open and serving children and adults in our region. 

More than 28,000 people visit the planetarium annually, including more than 7,000 students.

“We have achieved over ninety percent of our goal of raising $220,000, which includes a significant contribution from Pepsi Mid-America,” according to Friends of LBL Executive Director Aviva Yasgur. “Now the additional anonymous generous matching gift means we can complete our efforts if we raise an additional $20,000 by May 1. We are asking all our supporters and everyone who appreciates the educational contributions of a planetarium in our region to give any amount they can. Every donation up to $20,000 will be doubled before this date.”

Members of the Friends of LBL Board of Trustees and Advisers will be reaching out for donations from 3-7 p.m. Monday during a call-athon to secure contributions while the matching funds are available. 

Supporters are encouraged to call the Friends of LBL at 270-924-2077 prior to the call-athon to pledge their gifts. Donations may be made online by visiting friendsoflbl.org/donations/.

SMALL GAME SEASONS WIND DOWN

Rabbit, quail and squirrel hunters across Tennessee will soon see their small game seasons expire. Every year, all three hunting seasons end on the last day of February. This year hunters got an extra day thanks to Leap Year.

The long squirrel season began way back on the fourth Saturday in August. Rabbit and quail seasons began in early November.

For rabbit hunters it has been a pretty tough season. Abundant rainfall lately has dampened the spirits of a lot of rabbit hunters, with flooding in most lowland areas diminishing opportunities as the season draws to a close.

Quail hunters weren’t surprised to encounter a poor season as the resource just isn’t there to sustain the sport anymore. Very few coveys are seen or heard whistling anymore.

Squirrel hunters are diminishing in numbers, too, as what was once a southern tradition has really lost participation. Meanwhile, those who did hunt indicated it was a decent season overall.

 

SPORTSMEN’S CALENDAR

Today — National Bird Dog Championship ends, Ames Plantation, Grand Junction.

Saturday — Refuge Discovery Series, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

Saturday — National Wild Turkey Federation banquet, Henry County Fairgrounds.

Monday — LBL Planetarium fundraiser.

Feb. 29 — Hunting/fishing licenses expire.

Feb. 29 — Rabbit/quail/squirrel seasons end.

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