A presentation on 2019-20 hunting regulations within chronic wasting disease (CWD) affected counties, an Asian carp update, and waterfowl research were discussed at the April meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The meeting was the first for appointed commissioners Jimmy Granbery (Nashville), Steve Jones (Clinton), Jim Ripley (Kodak), Thomas Woods (Piney Flatts), and Hank Wright (Collierville).
A proposal for changes to deer hunting regulations for 2019-20 season in positive and high-risk CWD counties was presented that included viable options for minimizing the prevalence of CWD and conflicts with small game hunters, trappers, and landowners; and maximizing containment of the disease and stakeholder buy-in and participation.
The current positive or high-risk counties will remain in Unit L, but will have some additional harvest opportunities. During the August deer hunt, gun, muzzleloader, and archery would be allowed with a two antlered deer limit that would be in addition to a hunter’s annual antlered deer limit of two.
WMA’s would be open to the public for the August hunt. During other seasons, for a buck found to be CWD positive, a replacement buck will be allowed. Harvests made on select weekends will require mandatory check-in at stations.
The commission passed a rule to permanently establish carcass exportation and feeding restrictions for positive or high-risk CWD zone counties. Information about the restrictions will continue to be updated and publicly available.
An Asian carp update was given, citing that commercial harvest is the most effective method in the removal of invasive species. The Asian carp incentive program, which began last fall, is continuing to grow and has resulted in 718,000 pounds removed to date. Also discussed were ongoing containment measures including preventing accidental transport and reducing immigration at navigation locks.
The commission approved a federally funded study on mallard behavior and use of wetlands, and a federally funded cooperative project with Ducks Unlimited to enhance some wetland area within the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area. The expectation of the project is that it will contribute to the management of the area and increase hunting and viewing opportunities.