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

It is time to add trout fishing to your wintertime activities. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced its 2019-20 winter trout stocking schedule. TWRA plans to release approximately 90,000 rainbow trout into Tennessee waters from late November through March. These are streams that will not support trout in the heat of the summer, but can provide nearby trout fishing opportunities for anglers during the winter months. The fisheries include many city park ponds, state parks, dam tailwaters, and other streams. This is a great opportunity to introduce children or first-time anglers to fishing.

Maryville’s Pistol Creek/Greenbelt Lake is participating and will receive fish on Dec. 20, Jan. 23 and Feb. 13.

The trout will average about 10 inches in length. The daily creel limit is seven, but there is no size limit. The intent is to catch-and-eat, not catch-and-release. Anglers are reminded that a trout license is needed in addition to the fishing license. The complete stocking schedule and updates can be found on TWRA’s website at in the Fishing section. Please note that the dates and locations are subject to change.

DEER: The second deer hunt on Nov. 9-10 for the Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area ended with a meager harvest of 54 deer, 39 antlered and 15 antlerless. The largest buck dressed out at 164 pounds; the biggest rack was nine points; the largest doe weighed 98 pounds. None was retained for internal radiological contamination. No turkey was taken on this hunt.

Last year’s harvest on the second ORWMA deer hunt was 88 deer. Normally the harvest for the second hunt is closer to 140. And radiological contamination is becoming less prevalent. None was retained in 2018 and 2017, and none so far this year; but two were retained in the third hunt of 2016.

Y.E.S.: Now is the time for high school sophomores and juniors to prepare for this exciting – and free – trip to Washington, D.C. The National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) is an opportunity for leadership training and a share of $55,000 in college scholarships, sponsored and paid for by the National Rifle Association. The 2020 Y.E.S. session will be July 13-19 in our Nation’s Capital.

Y.E.S. encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable U.S. citizens by learning about American government, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the importance of being active in civic affairs. Participants will enhance such academic skills as leadership, public speaking and debating. Tours of Arlington National Cemetery and other national monuments are included. Up to 50 outstanding students will be chosen to attend. Applicants must include a high school transcript, an essay on the Second Amendment, one-page personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Applications are being accepted now and the filing deadline is Jan. 24.

To apply or for additional information on the 2020 Y.E.S. go to, email

or call 800-672-3888, ext.1351.

BIZARRE: A deer was killed by a vehicle in Powell after crashing through a hospital window. On Monday morning, Nov. 11, a six-point buck crashed through the window of the outpatient imaging center at Tennova North hospital. After thrashing around inside, it ran back out through a different window and left the area with injuries. Moments later it was struck and killed by a vehicle on Emory Rd.

TWRA Wildlife Officer Roy Smith investigated the incident, and, by coincidence, his brother Michael Smith was the driver that hit the deer. Michael stated that he saw the deer just before he hit it and it had injuries to its face. The deer was given to a third party.

This is breeding season for white-tailed deer, called the rut. During this time, both male and female deer become very active causing them to cross into urban areas and sometimes ending up in unusual places. When rutting bucks see their reflection in glass or mirrors, they will often ram what they perceive as a potential challenger.

VENISON: For delicious venison, many hunters want to hang the meat for aging and tenderizing, but that process can be risky if you don’t have a temperature-controlled environment between 35 and 50 degrees. Consider getting the meat cut, packaged and into the freezer quickly. Wild game can be aged and tenderized later using this alternative process.

Remove a package of meat from the freezer and allow it to partially thaw in the refrigerator. When the package is beginning to soften and is covered with slushy ice crystals, put a tally mark on the package and refreeze. Then repeat. When a package has three tally marks, it is aged and ready for cooking.

There is good information on butchering your own deer at the website of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, including photos, charts and breakdowns of cuts. Go to and click on “Carnivore’s Kitchen.”

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