The rifle deer season opens Nov. 18 and runs to Jan. 7. East Tennessee deer hunters: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be collecting deer biological data on Saturday, Nov. 18, at various locations. Data to be collected will include deer age estimates, antler measurements, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance samples at select locations.

With the advent of Internet checking and the “TWRA On The Go” mobile device application, fewer hunters are physically bringing deer to traditional checking stations. These newer methods for big game checking have made the process easier for hunters, but more difficult for TWRA to collect much needed data from harvested animals.

The data collected is important in aiding TWRA’s deer management decisions across the state. For aa list of participating checking stations, go to esseeWildlifeResourcesAgency/posts/1892004050827180.ELK: The 2017 Tennessee elk hunts have concluded with a total of eight elk harvested during the three segments. Participants could hunt on North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and surrounding private lands, although none of this year’s hunters chose to hunt on private lands.

Three of the seven participants in the archery elk segment recorded harvests. Larry Rosenbaum (Dickson) was the first successful archer on the first afternoon with a 5x4 bull weighing 378 pounds dressed, taken in Elk Hut Zone 2. Rosenbaum’s bull is the first ever Tennessee elk taken with a bow since the hunts began in 2009.

Later on the first day, Johnny Delaney (Chattanooga) checked a 5x5 elk that weighed 486 pounds, taken from Massengale Mountain in Elk Hunt Zone 4. On the second day Matthew Meyer (Knoxville) harvested the third and final archery bull from EHZ-1, a 5x5 pointer and weighing 397 pounds.

Next came the rifle elk seasons. The Young Sportsman Elk Hunt was a full week this year, Oct. 7-13. Reed Johnson (Manchester) only needed that first day to harvest his 4x4 elk that weighed 316 pounds. The regular rifle season was Oct. 14-20 and was open for seven participants. One of the hunters did not hunt due to a conflict.

Alabama resident Tim Fisk hunted EHZ-4 and took a 6x7 elk on Oct. 14 weighing 702 pounds dressed. On the 16th Gary Ownby (Clinton) hunted EHZ-7 and killed a 5x6 bull (no weight recorded); this was the first elk taken from the Tackett Creek area.

Also on the 16th Floyd Roach (Knoxville) hunted EHZ-1 and took a 5x5 elk that weighed 510 pounds partially field dressed. On the last morning Kimberly Mayfield (Etowah) recorded her harvest, a 6x6 elk with a field dressed weight of 625 pounds.

Since the first managed hunt in 2009, 41 elk have now been legally harvested. MIGRATORY: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking comments for its 2018-19 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting regulations, including sandhill cranes. This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff. The comment period is open Nov. 1-30.

Due to changes in the timing of the federal regulation process, waterfowl and other migratory game bird hunting seasons are now proposed to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its January meeting and voted upon at its February meeting.

Public comments will be considered as proposals for regulation changes. Email submissions to Include “Waterfowl Season Comments” on the subject line. For comments by postal mail, send to: 2018-19 Hunting Season Comments, TWRA, Wildlife and Forestry Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. FURRY: Nature prepares furbearing animals for winter with thick, prime pelts. For Tennessee pelts are prime from early November through February. Tennessee’s trapping season corresponds to that time and is Nov. 17 to Feb. 28. Eligible furbearers are: Bobcat, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, river otter, raccoon, skunks (striped and spotted), and weasel. There are no daily or annual limits.

Beaver, coyote and groundhog can be trapped year round since they are such costly pests to farmers, stockmen and landowners.

Modern trapping is highly regulated by state wildlife agencies and it is similar to hunting as an effective tool for controlling populations of target species. Such regulations include the style and size of traps, identification tags on all traps, and frequent inspection of trap sites. See pages 14-16 of the 2017-18 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide for more details.

Email outdoors columnist Tom Wiest at with your outdoor news and comments.

Tom Wiest is a long time columnist on all matters outdoors. He welcomes news, questions and comments from readers.

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