Good time to spot, not shoot elk
By Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
September and October are excellent months for Tennessee elk viewing. Mating activity is underway, which means lots of animal movement and the haunting bugle of the bull elk day and night.
The elk herd in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the Cataloochee area on the North Carolina side. Call the Park headquarters for the best viewing opportunities.
The free-range Tennessee elk are on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, about 40 miles north of Knoxville. There are two good viewing places in the Royal Blue and the Sundquist units of North Cumberland.
The original release site is at Montgomery Junction on Massengill Mountain, near the community of Norma in Scott County. To get there take I-75 north to exit 141 (Oneida/Huntsville); go west on Hwy 63 for 11.5 miles and then left on Norma Road, going about five miles to a left turn onto Montgomery Creek Road. About a mile further is the release site, a good place to begin slowly driving and listening and glassing Note: Five elk hunters will be hunting here Oct. 15-19 and one hunter the following weekend.
Perhaps the best place to go is the elk-viewing pavilion at Hatfield Knob on Peabody Mountain in Campbell County. More than a dozen elk are frequenting the area mostly in the mornings and evenings. Directions: I-75 north to Caryville, then take U.S. 25W to LaFollette and about 6.5 miles past. Immediately after topping the mountain turn left at the sign onto a gravel road and go about 4.5 miles to the parking area. The pavilion is about a one-third mile walk.
The disabled and handicapped can visit the Hatfield Knob viewing pavilion on Thursdays with help from the REACHS Developmental Center in LaFollette. Call the center at 423-563-1047.
Elk sightings can be anytime, but the best times are usually mornings and evenings.
• The 13th annual Smoky Mountains Trout Tournament is the weekend of Sept. 29-30 on the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. At least 10,000 trout are stocked immediately prior to the event. The top prizes will be $500 for the largest trout and $500 for the smallest trout. Other prizes are included. The entry fees are $25 for one day or $40 for both days. The beneficiary of the tournament is the Smoky Mountains Boys and Girls Club. Register at http://www.smokymountaintrouttournament.com or call 865-661-3474. For more information contact Rocky Top Outfitters at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Here are two new areas to hunt waterfowl in West Tennessee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened two national wildlife refuges (NWR) along the Mississippi River for migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing: Chickasaw NWR and Lower Hatchie NWR, both well north of Memphis.
• As archery deer season opens this weekend, so does the red deer season, limited to the area south of the Powell River in Claiborne County. Either sex can be taken with no limit. See the 2012-13 hunting guide (page 23) for specific check-in procedures.
Tom Wiest welcomes questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (email@example.com)