Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission held its final meeting of 2012 in a special one day meeting on Friday, November 30th.
The commission heard from Mike Patterson, a Middle Tennessee sportsman, voicing concerns about planned restrictions by the U.S. Corps of Engineers allowing boating access below dams along the Cumberland River. Specifics of the restrictions are not known at this time.Frank Fiss, TWRA Assistant Chief of the Fisheries Division, gave an update on tailwater management along the Watauga, South Holston, and Caney Fork rivers. He presented a summary of recent public meetings that were held to identify any resources issues.
Chuck Yoest, TWRA Wildlife Division Big Game Coordinator gave a report on the recently completed fall turkey season and the fast start to this year’s deer hunting season. About 2,700 birds were harvested during the turkey season which ran from October 13th-26th. The figures were almost identical to the 2011 fall totals.
The deer hunting season, which began with the archery segment in late September, has seen an increase in harvest numbers. As of early on November 30th, about 117,000 deer have been harvested, an increase from the 110,000 through the same time period last year. Gun season for deer began on November 17th and will continue through January 6th, 2013.
Yoest presented an agency recommendation which adds the Pennsylvania counties of Adam and York to the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) restrictive zones. He also asked to remove the statewide restriction on New York and decrease the restriction to only include Madison and Oneida counties. The commission approved the recommendations.
A status report on the Cummings Cove Wildlife Management Area was presented by David McKinney, TWRA Chief of Environmental Services. The 1,200 acre Cummings Cove WMA is located on Aetna Mountain in Hamilton and Marion counties. The area has been heavily used by Off-Road Vehicles which are causing environmental concerns.
During the last year, TWRA has participated in a public meeting to answer the public’s questions on why Cummings Cove WMA has regulations that prohibit ORV use. TWRA also solicited public comments over a 76-day period, from March 1st, 2012 to May 15th, 2012, in an effort to determine what the public expected in the way of recreational opportunities on the WMA. In addition, TWRA conducted several site visits to Cummings Cove WMA with various state and federal agencies including TDEC and USDA Forest Legacy.
The commission viewed a recently aired video of CBS evening News segment that was filmed in Montgomery County on White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Bill Reeves, TWRA Chief of Biodiversity, said an artificial bat cave was built by the Nature Conservancy on TWRA land in Montgomery County to combat WNS. WNS is a fungus infection threatening the populations of bats that live in caves in North American.
The artificial bat cave project is designed to attract bats and hopefully be used in a study to evaluate ways to treat and prevent WNS.
The TFWC set its next meeting for January 17th-18th, 2013. The first meeting of the new year will be held on a Thursday-Friday.