Recycle the tails before mourning arrives
By Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
Are you hooked on dove hunting yet? The mourning dove is the most popular game bird in the United States and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. Hunted in 39 states, more mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species in the continental states. Last year in Tennessee about 40,000 hunters harvested approximately 300,000 doves.
Sept. 1 is the traditional opening day for dove, a Sunday this year. The shooting begins at noon and the first segment ends on Sept. 26. The daily bag limit is 15; the exotic collard dove, larger and similar to our mourning dove, has no limit. A list of free public hunting areas and available wildlife management areas is ready at http://www.tnwildlife.org .
Remember that in addition to the basic Hunting and Fishing Combination license, the Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit is also required. Dove season continues Oct. 12 – 27 and Dec. 19 – Jan. 15.
Don’t forget: The resident Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 – 15 with a daily bag limit of five. The Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit is required here, too.
• Squirrel hunters, recycle those squirrel tails. Sheldon’s Inc. needs them for their very popular Mepp’s Spinner fishing lures. Sheldon’s feels they are too valuable not to be recycled. The company is quick to specify that it wants only tails that have been harvested by sport hunters that will eat the meat. And yes, Tennessee does allow the sale of squirrel tails.
The going rate per tail is 20 cents for those graded premium and 16 cents for those graded good; double that fee if you take payment in fishing lures. Your shipping costs are refunded on shipments of 50 or more, and rates increase on larger shipments.
So you won’t get rich but, Hey! It’s recycling. And some free fishing tackle. Check out their website at http://www.mepps.com for storage and shipping tips (like salting the butts and freezing or drying tails straight with bone in). Their telephone is 800-713-3474, or write to them at Sheldon’s, Inc., 626 Center Street, Antigo, WI 54409-2496.
• A computerized drawing system for duck blind sites will be conducted again this season for Bogota and Thorny Cypress Wildlife Management Areas in Dyer County and the four units on the Chickamauga WMA (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek) near Chattanooga. The application period is Sept. 4 – Oct. 9 for these areas. Go to http://www.tnwildlife.org .
The 2013-14 state waterfowl seasons will be set at the August 22-23 meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The August meeting will be held in Knoxville at the Holiday Inn West at Cedar Bluff. All of the TFWC meetings are open to the public and they are quite interesting. Committee meetings begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday and the general session begins at 9 a.m. on Friday.
• Have you taken the pledge? It is the “Wear it Tennessee!” pledge to always wear a life jacket while on the water. For the past five years the TWRA has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard and other organizations to promote the constant use of personal flotation devices (PFD) and to introduce the public to the modern, incredibly thin, inflatable life jackets.
Perhaps you have seen the colorful boats recently on our lakes contacting boaters and taking signed pledges and handing out free modern life jackets. The campaign includes signs at boat docks and launch ramps, plus advertisements on radio and television.
“Wear it Tennessee!” has been a big success. For example, in 2008 on Old Hickory Reservoir, only 19.3 percent of anglers interviewed wore PFDs; in 2011 the rate had grown to 31.6 percent. On Percy Priest the PFD usage over the same period grew from 15.5 percent to 23.5 percent. You can see and learn more about the program at http://www.wearittennessee.com .
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)