At the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s February meeting, 2019-2020 migratory bird seasons were set, with changes for ducks, woodcock and crow. The duck season for the Reelfoot Zone will be Nov. 9-10 and reopen Dec. 5-Jan. 31, 2020. The statewide season will be Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Dec. 7-Jan. 31, 2020. The only change to bag limits was a reduction for pintail from two birds per day to one per day.

Changes to the woodcock season were driven by hunter input to provide opportunities to hunters in East Tennessee who see a large number of woodcock migrating through the area in January. The new dates will be Nov. 9-Dec. 1, reopening Jan. 10-31.

The changes to crow hunting will now include a split season. The first phase allows hunting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 1-Aug. 18. The second phase will be Oct. 5-Jan. 1, with hunting allowed all seven days through the week. One of the primary reasons for the change was to give hunters more of an opportunity during cooler weather.

An update on chronic wasting disease (CWD) was given by Chuck Yoest, the project coordinator for the TWRA. A total of 2,999 deer has been sampled in the CWD Management Zone with 185 positives, with just a few more results pending.

Kayak anglers, look at this. Cookeville, Tenn. has been chosen to host the inaugural Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship, sponsored by USA Bass and the Pan-American Sportfishing Federation. The dates will be May 28-31, 2019 and it is the first of its kind in the world.

The four-day event will welcome more than 100 of the most elite kayak bass anglers from around the world to Center Hill Lake and surrounding waters. The exclusive competition is invitation-only and is expected to include participants from Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Canada and more. More than forty Pan-American countries will be invited.

“Cookeville and Center Hill Lake quickly became the clear choice to host this historic event,” said Tony Forte, U.S. Angling founder and USA Bass president. “Kayak fishing is exploding worldwide and the Pan-American Sportfishing Federation felt it was time to make it an official sport. This event is not just a launching point for Pan-American countries, but also in line to become a world championship sport and to push toward Olympic recognition.”

Another important host of the event is the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau. For more information go to

March 20 is the deadline is for the 2019-2020 photo contest for the Tennessee Wildlife magazine. Enter your best photographs of wildlife native to Tennessee, or fishing and hunting activities in Tennessee. The best photos will appear in next year’s calendar edition of the magazine in August; and the photographers will earn $60.

The format for entries is horizontal digital images on disc (no prints) in JPEG; high resolution (300 dpi) sized as an 8-1/2x11 is required. Each disc submitted must have the name of the photographer, address and telephone number; discs cannot be returned

Entries can be mailed to: Tennessee Wildlife Magazine, Calendar Issue, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. To see some previously winning photographs or for more information go to the older news section of Tennessee Wildlife is the official magazine for the TWRA. Subscription rates for Tennessee Wildlife begin at $10 per year.

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) reminds anyone who consumes wild deer and elk meat that there remains no scientific evidence that chronic wasting disease is transmissible to humans, despite comments by some that have garnered national attention.

“Recent statements by Dr. Michael Osterholm from the University of Minnesota regarding the likelihood that human cases of CWD are probable and possibly substantial in number are speculative and sensational, and are not supported by current scientific evidence,” said Nick Pinizzotto, president and CEO of National Deer Alliance. “Mr. Osterholm’s predictions have created needless confusion in a situation that is already rife with contradictory opinions regarding CWD impacts on the conservation of wild deer and those who enjoy deer as a natural source of protein.”

NDA feels that it is important to focus on what is known about the disease, as opposed to speculating on what is not known. Actions taken in response to CWD must be based on the best available science. After more than 50 years of history with CWD, undoubtedly thousands, if not tens of thousands, of infected animals have been eaten, yet there remains no human case of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no strong evidence for the occurrence of CWD in people, but it still recommends that hunters not eat deer that test positive for the disease out of an abundance of caution. NDA agrees with the guidance from CDC but reiterates that the agency does not state transmission to humans is either likely or inevitable. NDA is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to serve as the guardian for wild deer conservation and our hunting heritage. Learn more 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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