Tullahoma, TN – The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the state’s 2016-17 hunting seasons at its May meeting which concluded Friday at the Arnold Air Force Base Gossick Leadership Center.
The state’s hunting seasons are annually established each year during the TWFC’s May meeting. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency made its recommendations during the April meeting. Additional recommendations were made by commission members.
For big game hunting seasons, the TFWC changed the definitions of antlered and antlerless deer.
Previously, a deer with antlers less than three inches in length were considered antlerless.
With the commission’s change, an antlerless deer is now any deer with no antler protruding above the hairline, and antlered deer are any male or female deer with antlers protruding above the hairline.
From now on, a deer harvested with any antler protruding above the hairline will count toward the statewide antlered deer limit of two.
The commission approved two additional deer hunting units, C and D. The antlerless bag limit for archery is four and one during the muzzleloader season in these units. For gun season, the bag limit is one in Unit C for the first 16 days and one in Unit D for the first seven days. Some previous Unit A and B counties are now in other units. (An updated deer unit map is available on the TWRA website).
The Unit D counties are Polk, Monroe, Blount, and Sevier. The Unit C counties are Cocke, Jefferson, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Greene, Washington, and Unicoi.
Four counties were added to Unit L which border the Mississippi River. Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale and Tipton counties are the new additions making all West Tennessee counties now classified in Unit L.
Changes were made to the elk permits. The previous six permits continue but will now also be valid on private lands within the following five counties. The counties are Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan, and Scott. Additionally, five new archery only permits were added, also valid on North Cumberland WMA and private lands within the five counties. Archery hunt dates are October 3rd-7th, 2016.
A significant change came to fall turkey hunting. The TFWC voted to reduce the fall bag limit to one for all counties currently open for fall turkey hunting. A hunter may harvest a turkey in each open county. Also changed was the bag limit for the Young Sportsman from one bird for the two-day hunt to one bird per day.
For TWRA Wildlife Management Areas, the most notable recommendations are establishing seasons for newly proclaimed areas.
Wes Winton, Wildlife Manager at WEDC Wildlife Management Area, was recognized for earlier receiving the National Fish and Wildlife Award for Law Enforcement. Air Force Col. Jim Krajewski was at the meeting to make the presentation.
A Meritorious Service Award was present to Fisheries Technician Jeff Sanders. He was recognized for his work at the Flintville Fish Hatchery while the late manager, Stacy Surgenor, was in his battle with cancer.
The meeting was the TFWC’s final meeting until August. The TFWC will hold its next meeting August 18th-19th in Crossville.