Spring squirrel season is almost here. But take care! It happens again this year: Turkey hunters and squirrel hunters will be in the woods at the same time. Spring turkey season goes through Sunday, May 12 and spring squirrel begins Saturday, May 11; squirrel continues through June 10. Neither discipline requires blaze orange so all those active in the woods for those two days need to be careful (An orange hat or vest for squirrel hunters would be wise).

Squirrels are plentiful again this year. These three species are legal: Gray, red and fox squirrel. The daily bag limit is 10 combined. Squirrels breed early in the spring and their first brood is now weaned and on their own; their second brood will be weaned before the regular squirrel season begins on the fourth Saturday of August, the 24th this year.

Actually there are five species of tree squirrels found in Tennessee. Two species, the southern flying squirrel and the northern flying squirrel, are not hunted. They are small, nocturnal and rarely seen.

In addition to the state’s online lottery drawing for elk licenses, the TWRA grants one license to be raffled off by a non-governmental organization. This year it is again the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF) and all proceeds go to the Tennessee elk program. This year’s raffle has begun and ticket sales will end on Aug. 2. The drawing will be Aug. 5.

A single ticket is $20, three tickets for $50 and 10 for $100; no limit. The grand prize winner will get to purchase a license for the 2019 rifle elk hunt, plus win a hunting rifle and other prizes. A complete list of the prizes can be found at www.twrf.net. Although there is only one elk tag up for grabs, participants will have five chances to win valuable prizes. Last year’s raffle netted $224,840 for the Tennessee elk program. To purchase tickets for the raffle go to www.twrf.net/store/2019-elk-tag-raffle. TWRF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting habitat conservation, responsible land stewardship, and Tennessee’s hunting and fishing heritage for the benefit of TWRA and Tennessee’s outdoor enthusiasts.

Does your boat need a fire extinguisher? No? Yes? More than one? Legally, in Tennessee a boat under 26 feet must have a fire extinguisher if it has any of these features: Inboard engine, built-in fuel tank, enclosed storage area for portable fuel tanks, enclosed living space, or a double bottom not sealed to the hull. The extinguisher must be in serviceable condition and stored in an accessible place, not necessarily on a wall bracket but not buried at the bottom of a storage locker.

There are many misconceptions on this subject. Modern fire extinguishers do not have to be shaken periodically to stir the chemicals inside. They do not have to be replaced every few years; they do not expire, unless the gauge registers below the green zone. And not just any extinguisher is suitable for your boat; it must be marine rated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Logically speaking, ANY vessel that has gasoline on board should have a fire extinguisher in an accessible place. For more on marine safety equipment, go to tnwildlife.org/article/boating-equipment or BoatUS.org/equipment.

Reminder: The Tennessee Outdoors Youth Summit (TOYS) is set for July 14-19 (Sunday–Friday) for students in high schools across Tennessee, conducted by the TWRA. Students will spend a week in hands-on classes that will teach all kinds of outdoor skills and the importance of the natural resources and their management.

The deadline to apply is Friday, May 17. Activities will take place at the Clyde York 4-H Center in Crossville and lodging will be in modern cabins onsite. The fee for the weeklong experience is $350, lodging, meals and beverages included. Scholarships are available based on financial need. Applications can be downloaded at www.twrf.net/toys/ or go to www.tnwildlife.org and select Upcoming Events. For more information contact Lacey Lane at telephone 615-831-9311 ext.114, or email LLane@twrf.net.

Warning: Some Rossi revolvers may fire when dropped. A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit claiming that certain Rossi brand revolvers are defective in that they could unintentionally fire when dropped. Rossi is a division of Forjas Taurus, S.A. The presiding court is the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Rossi issued a Warning about these safety concerns in September 2018. The company denies all allegations of wrongdoing and liability alleged in the lawsuit, and the Court has not decided who is right. The parties have agreed to settle.

The “Class Revolvers” are Rossi brand .38 Special and .357 revolver models made between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2017. The Settlement establishes an “Enhanced Warranty” allowing current owners to return their Class Revolvers for repair free of charge. The settlement does not include claims for personal injury.

The deadline to participate in this action is July 15, 2019. For detailed information including the full notice, the Settlement agreement, and claim forms information, visit www.RossiRevolverSettlement.com or call 888-724-0242.

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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