Seasons of change for fowl weather
By Tom Wiest | (email@example.com)
Tennessee’s wood duck/teal season will be Sept. 8-12. The daily bag limit is four birds, with a maximum of two woodies. Tennessee is one of a handful of states allowed a special early season for these species because the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency maintains a successful local management program.
This year’s waterfowl season will be another generous one with lots of ducks and the maximum number of days and bag limits. The spring habitat conditions in the Prairie Pothole region of the United States and Canada started out dry but heavy rains late in May saved the day; therefore the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered the state agencies a full season with no closed or partial seasons on any species.
The 2012-2013 waterfowl season will begin on Nov. 24-25 in the Statewide Zone and continue on Dec. 1–Jan. 27. The season for the Reelfoot Zone will be Nov. 10-11 and continue Dec. 1–Jan. 27.
New this year: The youth waterfowl season in the Statewide Zone and Reelfoot Zone will be split into two one-day hunts on consecutive Saturdays, rather than a Saturday-Sunday format. The dates in 2013 will be Feb. 2 and 9 for youth ages 6-15.
The daily bag limit for ducks will be six, the same as last year. The mixed bag may include no more than four mallards (maximum two hens), three wood ducks (during the late waterfowl season only), two redheads, four scaup (an increase of two from last year), two pintail, and one each of black duck and canvasback. The daily bag limit of merganser is five, only two of which can be hooded mergansers.
Tennessee will have the same maximums for the goose seasons. Canada goose will run Oct. 13-30, Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 1–Jan. 27 in the Statewide Zone; the Northwest Zone will be Oct. 13-16, Nov. 10-11 and Dec. 1–Feb. 10. The daily bag limit is increased from two to three. The other goose seasons will correspond to last year’s dates and limits. Get all the details at http://www.tnwildlife.org .
• Are you into rafting-up? Perhaps you saw some of these flotillas on the local lakes this summer. Rafting-up is when a number of boats are tied up side-to-side so owners and their guests can walk from deck to deck to visit, swim and party with their friends. Here are some tips for successful rafting-up this Labor Day weekend.
Choose a raft-up spot that is sheltered from the wind and waves and clear of navigation channels. The first boat in the raft-up should position itself with the whole group in mind, and set both a bow and stern anchor. Others should approach the raft-up slowly with fenders and lines ready. Tie up using your bow and stern lines. Stagger each boat slightly ahead or behind the previous boat so that riggings do not get damaged during wave action.
Turn off your boat’s engine to reduce carbon monoxide and to keep props from endangering swimmers. It is common courtesy to ask a boat owner for permission to board or cross his/her deck. Young boaters should wear life jackets. Finally, appoint a weather watcher (with a smart phone) and a sober skipper for the trip home.
• Here is a fine local success story. Brandon Card of Caryville is the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year. Card outscored nine other Elite rookies by amassing 479 points over the eight tournaments of the regular season.
Card has been a fisherman as far back as he can remember as a kid in LaFollette. His father broke him in on bobbers and bait, fishing from the shore. When his older brother bought a boat the two spent many hours on Norris Lake casting for bass. Brandon’s first fishing derby was at age 14.
His story sounds pretty typical for an East Tennessee lad. Card earned a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky in 2009. Now he and his father now have their own landscaping business.
• A hunter education class for Blount County will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10 (M-Tu-Th-F) at Lanier Elementary School. Students should be at least nine years old and should bring a pencil and their Social Security number. Do not bring a gun.
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)