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

There were lots of changes in hunting and trapping regulations declared by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its May meeting last week. This marks the first time that the regulations will be effective for two years rather than one year, namely 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The TFWC serves as the governing body of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The changes will go into effect July 1. Here are the highlights:

There will be a new, three-day archery-only antlered deer hunt on Aug. 24-26 in 2018. This gives hunters the opportunity to harvest deer while they still have velvet covered antlers. Also, the definition of an antlered deer will return to the previous three-inch minimum antler (male or female).

The TFWC voted to eliminate the special private-lands-only raccoon/opossum hunting season in selected East Tennessee counties, as requested by public input. The statewide season opens in mid-September. With concerns for a recent dip in the wild turkey harvest, the TFWC also voted to limit the fall turkey hunting seasons to bearded birds only, dropping the harvest of hens during the fall. The spring turkey season will remain the same as it has been in recent years, allowing a four bearded-bird bag limit.

While it will not become law until July 1, 2019, the TFWC, noting concerns over the potential of chronic wasting disease coming to Tennessee, voted to ban the use of cervid lures with urine. There is concern nationwide that the disease could be passed through tainted urine. Synthetic deer and elk lures, readily available on the market, would still be legal.

The TFWC voted to make the use of aerial drones illegal for the purpose of hunting and trapping. It also legalized the use of pneumatic devices (air guns and the new “Airbow”) for licensed disabled hunters during the state’s archery-only seasons. The same devices will be legal for everyone during the modern gun hunt, but not during the state’s muzzleloader season.

The Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide will be published in August as usual, in print and on the website www.tnwildlife.org. It will also list the various changes in regulations for certain wildlife management areas. Deer seasons were restructured on Cheatham WMA, and deer hunting opportunities were expanded on Wolf River WMA.

SON OF A GUN: Remington Outdoor Company has emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. “It is morning in Remington country,” said Anthony Acitelli, Chief Executive Officer of Remington. “We are excited about the future – producing quality products, serving our customers, and providing good jobs for our employees.” The Chapter 11 bankruptcy was originally filed in February of this year.

The technical details: After successfully implementing the recovery plan previously confirmed by Delaware bankruptcy court, Remington says the plan converts over $775 million of previous debt into equity, provides a new Asset Based Loan of $193 million, the proceeds of which will refinance its prior ABL in full, a new $55 million First-In, Last Out Term Loan and a new $100 million Term Loan. Additionally, an integral part of the plan, all “trade and business claims” are unimpaired and will be addressed in the company’s “normal course of business.”

Remington, headquartered in Madison, N.C., is one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition. It is the patriarch of a large firearms family: Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, Dakota Arms, Parker, AAC, Barnes Bullets, Storm Lake, and Tapco. For more information go to www.remingtonoutdoorcompany.com.

Free Fishing Day: June 9, is not just for kids. On that Saturday everyone fishes for free on any public waters, and youths through age 15 can fish for free the following week, ending Friday, June 15. Find a complete list of events at www.tnwildlife.org; select Fishing and For the Kids.

Here are some of the nearby events listed so far:

Alcoa – Alcoa Duck Pond off Springbrook Park Rd., 8 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., ages 3 to 15, pre-registration fee of seven dollars.

Knoxville – Concord Park (The Cove) on Northshore Drive, 8 a.m. – noon, no age limit.

Anderson County – Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery in Clinton, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., ages 3 to 15.

Jefferson County – Well Springs Road in Dandridge, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., ages 16 and under.

Sunday, June 10:

Maryville – Cedar Point Baptist Church, 1225 William Blount Drive, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., ages 13 and under.

Sunday, June 17:

Knoxville – Victor Ashe Park Pond, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., ages 4-16.

WILD ONES: Attention, primary and secondary school teachers (and students): Here is an excellent lesson plan on conservation and the environment for grades K-12. The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is releasing the fourth edition of the Project WILD K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide, an expanded and updated curriculum on environmental topics.

The guide contains six new activities with a focus on the ecology and conservation of bees, bats, reptiles, and monarch butterflies, as well as stewardship activities relating to changing plant and animal life cycle events, and the reduction of light pollution, and includes information on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Every activity includes an outdoor component.

For more information about Project WILD curriculum resources or to learn about attending Project WILD professional development training, visit www.projectwild.org or www.fishwildlife.org.

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

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