Wow! The 2018 black bear harvest for Tennessee smashed the previous record by 164.
The 2018 bear season ended on Dec. 31 with a stunning total of 753 bruins (late filings may increase it). It is the 14th consecutive season to top 300 bears. There were 453 boars taken and 300 sows. The gun seasons accounted for 607 kills and archery took 145, 54 by bow and 91 by crossbow.
This year Monroe County had the highest harvest with 132 bruins, followed by Cocke with 123, Blount with 93, Sevier with 67, and Fentress with 50. There are 16 counties in five zones eligible for bear hunting.
The previous record bear harvest was 589 in 2011. The following year the TWRA lengthened the season by 14 days. The next highest kills were 573 in 2009, 533 in 2015, 511 in 2017, 507 in 2013, and 412 in 2016.
The 2019 regular spring turkey season will run March 30 – May 12. The Statewide Youth-only Hunt (ages 6-16) will be March 23-24. The new bag limit for the youth hunt is one bearded bird PER DAY. The bag limit for the regular season is one bearded bird per day, not to exceed four per season. Turkeys taken on wildlife management area hunts are bonus birds.
The Y.E.S. encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable U.S. citizens by learning about American government, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the importance of being active in civic affairs. Up to 50 outstanding students will be chosen to attend each session.
Applicants must include a high school transcript, an essay on the Second Amendment, one-page personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. To apply or for additional information on the 2019 Y.E.S. go to www.friendsofnra.org/yes, email email@example.com, or call 800-673-3888, ext. 1351.
The festival is a two-fold celebration: First, visitors can experience many thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate through or spend the winter in and around the Hiwassee Refuge; secondly, it is an opportunity to focus attention on the rich Native American history of the area, especially the Cherokee Removal Memorial.
A full schedule of music, family entertainment and educational programs will be held at the Birchwood Elementary School, including children’s activities, vendors, festival sponsor exhibits, food, and storytelling. Don’t miss the live raptor show on Saturday (3 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). The school library will offer continuous films and presentations about Tennessee wildlife. For more information go to https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/birds/sandhill-crane-festival.html.
Educators, homeschoolers and parents nationwide can utilize a lesson plan for the contest called “Fish On!”, which is available for free on CD and for download. Entries are due by April 1. For more details visit www.StateFishArt.org.