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The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will continue to accept comments through Jan. 19 concerning the proposal of a hunting season for sandhill cranes.
Comments may be submitted by mail to: Sandhill Crane Comments, TWRA, Wildlife Management Division, P.O. 40747, Nashville, TN 37204 or e-mail to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov. Please include “Sandhill Crane Comments” on the subject line of e-mail submissions.
The breeding, migration and wintering range of the Eastern Population (EP) of sandhill cranes is located within the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways. The Eastern Population has seen significant growth during the past 30-40 years. In Tennessee, wintering sandhill crane numbers have increased substantially in the past two decades. The 2010 mid-winter count documented more than 40,000 sandhill cranes in southeastern Tennessee.
At the current Eastern Population levels, the sandhill crane impacts to agriculture are resulting in the annual issuance of 200-300 depredation permits in the Mississippi Flyway states and over 100 additional depredation permits being issued in Canada. The issuance of these permits has already established an annual take of cranes resulting in no notable impact on population growth.
With the increased growth of the sandhill crane population, there is also an increased interest among the hunting public to institute a hunting season for sandhill cranes in the Mississippi Flyway. Three populations of sandhill cranes are hunted in 11 states and three Canadian provinces in the Central and Pacific flyways.
For more information, check the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org and the “Hot Topics” section on the front page.
Black bear harvest tops 300
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports that the black bear harvest is 301 for 2010. It marks the sixth consecutive year that the black bear harvest has reached at least 300 in the state.
This year’s harvest is the seventh highest state harvest on record. The record of 566 was set in 2009 surpassing the previous record of 446 set during 2008.
Harvest by county and equipment type for this year was: Blount (1 archery, 11 gun), Carter (2 archery, 34 gun), Cocke (3 archery, 35 gun), Greene (4 archery, 18 gun), Johnson (5 archery, 9 gun), Monroe (51 gun), Polk (1 archery, 48 gun), Sevier (4 archery, 37 gun), Sullivan (5 archery, 5 gun), Unicoi (3 archery, 16 gun), and Washington (3 archery, 6 gun).
The exceptional mast crop this year had the bears scattered throughout their range and limited their movements during the hunting seasons.
Tennessee’s black bear population has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years due to several management practices put in place by TWRA. These practices include: establishment of a series of bear reserves throughout the bear habitat, protection of females and cubs, and setting the majority of the bear hunting season later in the year when most females have gone to the den.