On Saturday, Aug. 4, Tennessee’s traditional hand-drawn, in-person duck blind selections will take place at the regular sites and wildlife management areas across the state. At stake are the permanent blinds at the following sites in Middle and West Tennessee: Gooch WMA Unit A, Reelfoot WMA, Kentucky Lake (Camden Units I & II, Harmon’s Creek, Big Sandy, Gin Creek), Barkley WMA, Tigrett WMA, West Sandy, Old Hickory WMA, Cheatham Lake, Haynes Bottom WMA, and AEDC/Woods Reservoir.

Registration will be held from 7-10 a.m. and the drawing of permits follows immediately at most locations. For specific addresses of blind drawings, interactive maps, and more information, go to www.tnwildlife.org, select Hunting and Waterfowl.

Computerized drawings will be held Sept. 5-26 for duck blinds in the Chattanooga area and some other western counties. Those blind sites are: Bogota and Thorny Cypress WMAs in Dyer County, Gooch Unit E, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, White Oak (Lebanon Pond area in Hardin County), and the four units on the Chickamauga WMA (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek). Get applications at the above website.

The sixth Tennessee sandhill crane hunt will have its in-person permit drawing on Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Rhea County High School (885 Eagle Lane, Evensville, Tenn.). The 2018-19 season dates for the Southeast Crane Zone are Dec. 1 – Jan. 17 and Jan. 21-27.

Registration for the permit drawing begins at 8:00 a.m. and the drawings will follow at 10 a.m. Applicants must have a current Tennessee hunting/fishing license (Type 001) and a waterfowl license (Type 005) or equivalent. There will be 479 permits issued, with three birds per permit allowed. Any leftover permits will be included in the computerized waterfowl drawing on Sept. 5-26, which will offer 1,274 more crane tags (one bird per hunter) for the statewide season on Dec. 1 – Jan. 27.

Landowners and farmers with grain crops, do not miss out on the extra money available just in the manner your crops are harvested. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking dove fields to lease for public hunting for the upcoming 2018 dove season.

Landowners can time their harvest, or partially harvest their grain or millet hay fields to be eligible. They should promptly contact their TWRA regional office for consideration.

Rates paid to landowners will be $75 per acre for a maximum field size of 40 acres for a maximum contract of $3,600 per field; wheat crops earn an additional $15 per acre. At least three priority dates for public hunting are required. Our Region IV phone numbers are 423-587-7037 or 800-332-0900. More information is at www.tnwildlife.org.

Dove hunters can find the fields leased by TWRA, which cost nothing to use, at the above website one or two weeks before the season opens. The first phase of dove season begins at noon on Saturday, Sept. 1.

July and August are important months for wild turkey brood sightings. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency uses this count of hens with their poults as a good indication of how many young ones survived their treacherous first month; also this is an early indication of the population size for next year’s spring hunt.

Wild turkey hens begin to build ground nests in April and May, laying one egg per day for a clutch of 12 eggs usually. Incubation takes 28 days. If the eggs are lost to predators or the nest disturbed, the hen often will re-nest once or twice if necessary.

The young leave the nest shortly after hatching and follow the mother. They begin to fly at six to 10 days old. Male young remain with the mother until the fall; female young remain with the mother until the spring.

By August several hens may join their broods together and it is not uncommon to see poults ranging from quail-size to half-grown in one brood. Hens that have lost their young will join a brood flock and act as a foster mother. Solitary hens without young are also included in the brood count. An average of seven or eight poults per hen is considered favorable.

Email wiest.tom@gmail.com to share with your news and comments with Tom Wiest.

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

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