Have some fun with this great idea from the state’s largest conservation organization. “We want your litter photos!” Litter is not at all a new problem. But, as study after study shows, the problem is far worse than we knew — for us and for wildlife.

Quoting the TWF: “With the start of summer, Tennessee Wildlife Federation wants your photographs of litter in our great outdoors to raise awareness about Tennessee’s big litter problem. Whether it’s in the woods, on the lake, along a river, or by the road, send us your snapshots of the cans, bottles and outright trash that harm wildlife and takes away from the beauty of nature.” Submit your best of our worst at https://tnwf.org/litter/.

CWD UPDATE: At its May meeting in Nashville, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s recommendation to establish a new chronic wasting disease (CWD) deer hunting unit for the counties in which CWD-positive deer have been found (Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison), and counties within 10 miles of a positive CWD deer location (Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby and Tipton).

Also in Unit CWD for the three-day “velvet” deer hunt on August 23-25, guns, muzzleloaders and archery are allowed; private and selected public lands will be open to hunting for that August season. The goal of these modified regulations in Unit CWD is to keep CWD from spreading.

Other major CWD regulations from the TFWC include:

Earn-A-Buck Program: Hunters are entitled to additional antlered deer through a new “Earn-a-Buck Program” in Unit CWD. A buck may be earned by harvesting two antlerless deer in Unit CWD and submitting both for CWD testing. This may be done twice for a total of two earned bucks to be harvested in Unit CWD during the 2019-2020 season.

Replacement Bucks: Unit CWD hunters are entitled to replacement bucks if they harvest a CWD-positive buck and the lab result is confirmed by TWRA.

Extended Seasons: Unit CWD muzzleloader and gun season dates have been extended from the traditional statewide season dates. Archery-only dates will be Sept. 28 – Oct. 25. Muzzleloader/archery will be Oct. 28 – Nov. 8 and gun/muzzleloader/archery will be Nov. 9 – Jan. 5, 2020.

During the January private-lands-only hunt on Jan. 6-10, antlered harvest, in addition to antlerless, was authorized.

Mandatory Check Weekends in Unit CWD will be Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 9-10.

In other business at its May meeting in Nashville, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard the following reports on the 2018-2019 big game seasons: Of the 15 elk permits issued, all seven archery tags were filled, the youth rifle tag was filled and four of the seven gun hunters scored. The bear season had a record harvest of 762 animals. Four of the five bear hunt zones had their best years.

The state’s total deer harvest was close to 147,682, a slight increase over 2017-18. The recently-completed spring turkey season harvest was back above the 30,000 mark (31,212), 11 percent above 2018.

An overview of the state’s biodiversity program was presented. Tennessee is the nation’s most wildlife-diverse inland state. Much of the diversity is attributed to the habitats ranging from bottomlands and wetlands in the west to the mountains in the east. Tennessee also has more than 60,000 miles of streams.

A preview to the Fish Dealer Rule will be revisited. This directive would regulate fish farmers, bait dealers, and catch-out operations. The changes would address invasive species issues and specify the approved fish species by scientific name rather than generic phrases like “native fish” or “trout.”

COLLEGE FISHING: Bethel University is dominating the collegiate sport of bass fishing. For the second year in a row the relatively small West Tennessee college has won the National Championship of the Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. For the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history, the same anglers repeated as the winning team: Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil.

The champions, both business management majors, were appreciative of the opportunities collegiate fishing affords. “High school fishing leads into college, and it’s just an awesome opportunity all the way around,” Floyd said. McNeil added, “What could be better than to go to school and fish on scholarship? It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The 2019 Championship was held on the Tennessee River’s Pickwick and Wilson lakes in Alabama. The two-day contest fielded 200 teams of 400 anglers from all over the United States. Floyd and McNeil brought in a superior five-fish limit on day one that weighed 22.85 pounds; then, on day two they repeated with a nearly identical catch of 22.80 pounds. To see the full field of finishers and learn more about the series, visit www.collegiatebasschampionship.com.

Email wiest.tom@gmail.com to share your news 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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