The ETSU Eagle Cams are back for a third year, offering one of the best reality shows on the Internet. See two pairs of bald eagles on their nests, laying their eggs, nurturing, feeding, and fledging their young eaglets over the next five months. The East Tennessee State University has three cameras watching two nests, one near Johnson City and one near Bluff City. Most of the activities are in daylight, but the cameras also have infrared capabilities for night viewing. Look in often at

UPDATE: The Johnson City nesting pair of eagles returned to their damaged nest last September — quite early — and began rebuilding it in preparation for egg laying in February. The Bluff City pair has returned to their first-year nest of 2018; last year ETSU did not have a camera at the new nest but a camera is installed this year. These eagles usually lay two eggs early in February. The Johnson City pair laid three in 2018; all three eaglets were healthy and fledged.

FUR: The Tennessee Fur Harvesters are hosting a free trapper training camp this winter, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. There will be instructions for: Active traplines, fur handling, set making, snaring, and trap modification. The three-day event is for all ages. The camp will be on March 15-17 at TWRA’s Hiwassee Refuge in Meigs County near the Hamilton County community of Birchwood.

Check-in will begin with registration on Friday from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Saturday will start with breakfast at 7 a.m. with instruction throughout the day. Three meals will be provided on Saturday and breakfast will be provided Sunday. On-site primitive camping is available and participants must provide their own camping gear, have appropriate clothing, and be prepared to take notes. Hotels are located near each of the refuges.

For more information and reservations, contact John Daniel with the Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association at 423-595-0986 or by email at The TFHA website is www.

TURKEY: Spring turkey season is just around the corner, March 30 to May 12; the youth turkey hunt is March 23-24. There is still time for a new hunter to get a hunter education certificate – that’s anyone born after 1968. You must go online to sign up for a hunter education class. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency lists the upcoming classes on its website, which you can see by going to and selecting Hunter Education. Students must be at least nine years old to earn a certificate; they should bring a pencil and their Social Security number (mandatory). Do not bring a gun.

TWRA also offers an online hunter education class for those with busy schedules. Most of the classroom work can be done at home, with a required live field day (about four hours) for testing and a shooting session to complete certification.

Presently there is a class scheduled for the First Baptist Church of Lenoir City on March 1 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. and continuing Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Another class will be at the Highland Park Ruritan Club in Lenoir City, beginning on March 21-22 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. and continuing March 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pre-register online. For those persons without computer access, they are encouraged to visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance. Region IV’s phone number is 800-332-0900.

TACKLE: Anglers, here is your chance to trade in that old rod and/or reel for a new one. The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s 2019 Spring Fishing Classic runs Feb. 15 to March 3. There will be all kinds of special prices on fishing gear and boats, as well as fishing seminars and workshops with visiting pro anglers, and fun and games for the whole family. For the schedule on trade-in programs, event times and special offers visit or

By the way, those traded rods and reels are refurbished and donated to non-profit youth organizations – to the tune of more than 335,000 items to date.

ELK: The 31st annual dinner and benefit auction for the East Tennessee Chapter of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Venue in Lenoir City. The doors open at 5 p.m. for a social hour including games, silent auction and the display of a big variety of outdoors equipment, guns and art for the live auction. The banquet costs $45 for each dinner and $35 for an annual membership. For tickets and more details contact Becky Ashe at phone 865-947-3361, or go to nessee.

SHARE: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is soliciting bids to sharecrop approximately 600 acres of farmland located on Yuchi Wildlife Refuge (Rhea County) and surrounding wildlife management areas. This will be a service lease with a percentage of the crop left as payment in kind. The term of the lease will be five years. The bid closing date is Feb. 28, 2019. Contact Greg Atchley for a bid packet at 423-693-6604 or by email at

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

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