A new year for sportsmen
by Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
Happy New Year, sportsmen. All 2012 hunting and fishing licenses expire after Feb. 28. Be sure to have those 2013 licenses purchased before hitting the woods and waters. Spring turkey season will be here before you know it. The statewide Young Sportsman Hunt is March 23-24 for ages 6-16. The regular turkey season is March 30–May 12.
The time to prepare for your turkey hunt is now. The prudent hunter should finish his/her scouting in the next few weeks so that the birds can calm down and get some breeding done before the showdown on opening day.
In fact turkey calls that mimic the bird are prohibited on wildlife management areas from March 1 until the season opens. This is done so that the birds do not get call shy during their mating season. Locator calls, such as crow, hawk and owl calls, are permitted.
Be sure to sight in and pattern your shotgun for the best performance. Try several kinds of shotshells and different sizes of shot for the tightest pattern; if necessary spring for that super-full choke you saw on that television hunting show, but it will require patterning, too.
Preseason is prime time for poachers to be out stealing from law-abiding sportsmen. While scouting, hunters should watch for piles of corn or other grain in the woods, or blinds that show signs of recent use. Report suspicious activities to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Poachers Hotline, 800-831-1174, from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. Your anonymity is assured and there are rewards available from the TWRA and the NWTF.
• Is there a conspiracy to curtail the sale of guns and ammunition in the United States? The short answer is NO. The following statement from Hornady Manufacturing gives a good description of what is happening in the industry.
Hornady: “The current political climate has caused extremely high demand on all shooting industry products, including ours. Empty retail shelves, long backorders, and exaggerated price increases on online auction sites — all fueled by rumors and conjecture — have amplified concerns about the availability of ammunition and firearms-related items.
“If the information you hear doesn’t originate from Hornady Manufacturing, don’t believe it. Here are some of the rumors we’ve heard, and questions we’ve received:
‘Have you stopped production, or has the government forced you to stop?’ Not at all. ‘Did you stop selling bullets so you could only make loaded ammunition?’
“Absolutely not. ‘Since we can’t find your products you must be selling it all to the government.’ Nope, less than five percent of our sales are to government entities.
“‘Why can’t you make more? Ramp up production? Turn on all the machines?’ We’ve been steadily growing our production for a long time, especially the last five years.”
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him via e-mail at his new address, (firstname.lastname@example.org)