Time to renew and kick a buck
By Tom Wiest
Kick a buck for our less fortunate neighbors. When you buy your hunting and fishing licenses, consider donating a dollar (or more) to the Hunters For The Hungry, a program of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. Food pantries and soup kitchens across the state depend on HFTH as a reliable — and significant – source of protein.
This past year another record amount of meat was donated by Tennessee sportsmen, more than 125,300 pounds (62.6 tons!) or 501,340 meals. The money is needed to pay for freezers at collection sites, transportation and limited compensation to some meat processors. One dollar equates to four meals served. Be sure to tell the license agent you want to participate.
As a reminder, all Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses expire on March 1. The 2013-2014 licenses can be purchased beginning Feb. 19 at all license agencies, county court clerks, online at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Website http://www.tnwildlife.org , or by telephone at 888-814-8972 with a credit card ($6.25 fee).
To expedite telephone orders, the caller should have ready: Name, address, physical description, Social Security number, driver’s license number, TWRA ID number (if renewing), and credit card number.
• In the next few weeks there is a lot going on in nature. Listen for extra coyote howling, especially at dusk and dawn, as they begin about six weeks of breeding; Female black bears with yearling cubs begin to leave their dens; Opossums are giving birth and the young promptly crawl into their mother’s marsupial pouch; Wood ducks begin to search for nest sites in East Tennessee and across the state; Spring peepers and chorus frogs turn up their noise as breeding begins for them and other amphibians, such as salamanders and bullfrogs; River otters are giving birth over the next six weeks; Bald eagles and other large birds of prey are building nests.
One of the earliest signs that spring is approaching is the northern migration of woodcocks (or timberdoodles) through Tennessee. They mate and nest here and in Kentucky from mid-February to early April.
The males’ aerial courtship antics are a sight to behold. They rocket high into the air and descend chirping and zigzagging, finally making a smooth and impressive (to a female woodcock) landing. The best time to see this performance is on warm afternoons and evenings. Their favorite habitat is second growth forests.
• Now that the 2012-2013 hunting seasons are ending, it is time to submit your small game survey cards. Hunters of rabbit, quail, grouse, and woodcock can help the TWRA manage these species by reporting the details of your hunts, such as: Dates, areas hunted, quarry seen and taken, number of hunters in party, etc. Each participant will get a special hat and a copy of the survey. To help with this past season, or to prepare for next fall, contact Tim White at 615-781-6616 or e-mail him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom Wiest welcomes news, questions and comments from readers. Contact him at (email@example.com)