Que up for remaining quota hunt spots
By Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
The cards have been dealt. Read ’em and weep.
The drawings for quota hunts on wildlife management areas are completed and the lucky hunters should receive their permits in the mail any day now. The results are posted at http://www.tnwildlife.org under the Hot Topics section. The losers get a priority point for next year.
This year there are two wildlife management areas with leftover hunts. Laurel Hill WMA has 298 tags left for gun (one buck only) on Dec. 20-22 and Prentice Cooper WMA has 88 tags left for archery (two deer, only one antlered) on Sept. 21-23.
• Waterfowlers. The teal are coming right now. Bluewings and cinnamon teal are the first to migrate, beginning in August. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has estimated teal populations at a historic high this year, and has even raised the recommended daily bag limit from four to six.
Tennessee’s 2012 wood duck/teal season will be Sept. 14-18. The daily bag limit is four birds combined, with a maximum of two woodies.
• Dove hunters. The list of public fields leased by the TWRA is now posted at http://www.tnwildlife.org . Choose “For Hunting” and “Find a TWRA Dove Field.” Hunting begins at noon on Sunday, Sept. 1.
• The number one impediment to sport hunting is having a good place to go: Location, location, location.
While Tennessee’s wildlife management areas are numerous and fairly flush with game, they are also by necessity restricted and often crowded.
With private land availability shrinking in most areas, it’s more important than ever to build trust with the landowner and make a good first impression.
First of all, do not show up on their doorstep in the early hours of opening day to ask for permission. Visit the landowners weeks in advance of the season so you can look them in the eye.
Respect their rules and use common courtesy. Leave gates as you find them; do not drive off the roads or through fields and do not walk through their crops — unless specifically invited.
Be honest. Hunt only what is agreed upon. While deer hunting do not take a turkey without permission.
Landowners often manage their lands for wildlife at some level and they might want to control what is taken. Stockman may love to have you take any coyote you see, but ask first.
Agree on who and how many will be hunting on the property and honor that; do not add even one extra person. Hunt only on the days and hours agreed upon.
Work for your privileges. Make a genuine offer to help the landowner with your manpower or your expertise. Nothing goes farther than an offer of free labor.
Finally, share the bounty. Your host will appreciate some of the meat harvested from his/her own land. It can be a rabbit, field dressed and skinned, a brace of quail or some venison when your deer meat returns from the processor. For more details on hunting on private lands, go to http://www.ussportsmen.org and select hunting.
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)