Tennessee elk hunt permit winners

NASHVILLE, Tn (TWRA) - Four persons have won the right to participate in Tennessee's first-ever managed elk hunt. The winners were announced Thursday during the June meeting of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Region II Ray Bell Building in Nashville. The four winners, all Tennessee residents, were selected in a computer drawing from almost 13,000 entries for the elk hunt scheduled Oct. 19-23 at the North Cumberland Wildlife Area.

The participants in the historic hunt will be Craig Gardner, of Parrotsville, Charles Ray Flynn of Rockford, Ronald L. Woodard, of Oak Ridge, and Jeffrey L. Moses, of Cleveland. Greg Wathen, Chief, TWRA Wildlife Division, announced the winners.

The fifth participant will be the recipient of a permit that is donated to a Non-Governmental Organization which this year is the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. The TWRF will auction its permit in July as part of a fund-raising project benefiting future elk restoration in Tennessee.

In other business at the June meeting, a new rule concerning the apprentice hunting license was approved. The apprentice hunting license is required for all hunters age 10 years or older who have not completed the mandatory hunter education course. The new rule will have the license expiring one year from the date of purchase. The apprentice hunting license can only be purchased once in a hunter's lifetime. The previous rule had the license running with the license year, March through the end of the February.

David McKinney, TWRA Chief, Environmental Services, and Wathen, presented an agency report on the recently completed an assessment of the potential impacts of a warming climate on fish and wildlife in Tennessee. The document includes an extensive review of the current scientific literature from a projected warming climate to fish and wildlife and their habitats, and a plan for priority adaptation strategies.

The TWRC repealed the proclamation establishing Holly Fork WMA in Henry County. The area known as the Holly Fork WMA is being operated as a shooting range complex, and is no longer functioning as a WMA.

Some of the lands that have been acquired as part of the Holly Fork project will continue to be open to hunting as a part of West Sandy WMA.

The harvest of turtles was discussed and the discussion will continue at the August meeting. State Malacologist Don Hubbs and TWRA Region II Habitat Biologist, David Sims, presented a historical perspective and current status of the commercial mussel fishery primarily on Kentucky Lake, and the Agency's efforts to conserve and restore native mussels.

The TWRC meeting will not meet in July. The TWRC next meeting will be held August 20-21 at Paris Landing State Park.