Deer tally on track to meet past years
The 2012 deer harvest is on track to resemble last year’s take. On the day after Christmas the count stood near 152,200; last year on that date it was approaching 154,000, and the 2011 season finished with a harvest of 166,297.
Actually, since 2007 the deer harvests have all been in the lower 160,000s, which the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency indicates we should expect as a typical harvest. More on the 2012 deer harvest in a few weeks. The gun deer season continues through Jan. 6 and the last Young Sportsman deer hunt is Jan. 12-13.
• There is one more bear hunt scheduled for Dec. 29 – Jan. 1, limited to Monroe County and that part of Polk County east of US 411 and north of Hwy 64. The 2012 black bear harvest is shaping up to be a good one but not a great one. As of Dec. 26, the number of bears taken was at 393, making this season the eighth consecutive harvest above 300.
Last year the bear hunting had ended by Dec. 14 and, with a bumper crop of bruins, a new record harvest of 581 was attained. Obviously there were a lot of bears in East Tennessee, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency must have felt compelled to reduce their numbers to a manageable level. A good way to do that was to increase the hunting days late in the season. Fourteen days were added this year.
In recent years the TWRA has been using these successful management practices: Establishment of a series of bear reserves throughout the bear habitat; protection of females with cubs from harvest; and setting the major bear hunting season later in the year when most females have gone to the den.
In the 1950s the annual bear harvest was as low as 10. It grew steadily into the 100s over a few decades. Then in 1997 there was a massive mast failure in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and many hundreds of black bears left the Park looking for food. The harvest in 1997 leaped to 371, a record that would stand for several years.
• High school sophomores and seniors should look into this opportunity for a great educational trip to Washington, D.C. and part of $30,000 in college scholarships. The National Rifle Association is now accepting applications for the National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) set for June 24-30.
The Y.E.S. encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable U.S. citizens by learning about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal government, and the importance of being active in civic affairs. Up to 50 outstanding students will be chosen nationwide. Visit http://www.friendsofnra.org , email (email@example.com) , or call 800-672-3888, ext. 1342.
• Your best photographs of wildlife native to Tennessee, or fishing and hunting activities in Tennessee could be good enough for publication in Tennessee Wildlife magazine. The winners of the 2012-2013 photo contest will appear in this year’s calendar edition of the magazine; and the photographers will earn $60.
Visit http://www.tnwildlife.org .
Contact Tom Wiest (firstname.lastname@example.org) .