Duck, duck and then some goose
By Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
Waterfowl hunters have one of those seasons that gets better as the season progresses. Duck hunting ends on Jan. 27 in both the Statewide Duck Zone and in Reelfoot. Canada goose season ends on Jan. 27 in the Statewide Canada Goose Zone; and it ends on Feb. 10 in the Northwest Zone.
The Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season, for hunters ages 6 through 15, takes place on two Saturdays instead of one weekend, namely Feb. 2 and 9. An adult at least 21 years old must accompany the young hunters and one adult may supervise multiple hunters. That supervisor may not hunt ducks, but may hunt other species in season, such as geese.
• The 2012 black bear season ended on Jan. 1 with a harvest total of 395, comprised of 217 males and 178 females. The top five counties were: Cocke 84, Monroe 64, Polk 44, Carter 41, and Sevier 35. Blount County had 24. Recent harvests stack up like this: 581 in 2011 (highest total), 301 in 2010, 573 in 2009 (second highest), and 446 in 2008.
• Mid-January is the beginning of the best sauger fishing, peaking in early February. Dark, overcast days are often the most productive, and the best places to go are the tailwaters below dams. Walleye are right there with them. Sauger, a close cousin to the walleye, often crossbreeds into a saugeye, and all three are delicious.
The statewide daily limit on sauger and saugeye is 10 fish at least 15 inches long. The walleye limit is five fish 16 inches or longer. The TWRA fishing guide has a good identification for these fish, and more information. Remember that state law requires boaters to wear life jackets within 1,000 feet below a dam.
• After your successful days in the field hunting and on the water fishing, make the most of your wild game cuisine with a visit to http://www.HuntFishCook.com . From the homepage select “Recipes Here” and name your game in the “find a recipe” spot. Choose your favorite preparation from a list of imaginative creations for that species or ingredient; there are hundreds of free recipes on file. Try something exotic like rattlesnake sausage or southwestern crappie cakes.
HuntFishCook the TV show is hosted by Sporting Chef Scott Leysath and Donny McElvoy. It can be seen in several venues: The Sportsman Channel, Direct TV, AT&T, and Comcast Sports Net.
• The National Wild Turkey Federation celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and its annual National Convention and Sport Show on Feb. 14-17 will be extra special. Once again it will be at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.
This year’s convention theme is “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” emphasizing the NWTF’s continued dedication to wildlife habitat conservation and its important role in the future of hunting.
The giant convention showroom will have 650 booths displaying the latest in hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, as well as taxidermy and specialty turkey calls exhibits.
There are opportunities to meet outdoor celebrities such as Michael Waddell, Brenda Valentine and members of the cast of the popular “Swamp People” television show.
Country music stars Craig Morgan (Saturday’s Awards Banquet) and Sawyer Brown (Thursday’s Welcome Party) will highlight the list of performers at special events.
General admission to the convention is free to NWTF members, and active members of the military are admitted free. But register early; some events have limited tickets. General admission for non-members is $20. http://www.nwtf.org
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)