TWRA urges safety on the water

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The Labor Day holiday, the final major weekend of the 2011 summer boating season is Sept. 2-5. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) wants to emphasize the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) while boating in a safe and responsible manner. 

The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI) and other reckless operation.

So far in 2011 on Tennessee waters, there have been 21 fatal accidents resulting in 22 deaths. There have been 69 injury accidents and 50 property damage accidents reported. TWRA boating officers have made 110 BUI arrests, a reduction of 36 from the same period last year.

Heading into the Labor Day holiday period in 2010, there had been 158 accidents and 18 fatalities. There was one fatality in the two boating accidents reported during the holiday weekend. Also, TWRA boating officers made five BUI arrests during the weekend. 

Wearing a life jacket is the single most effective way to protect boaters and reduce drowning in boating accidents.Eighty percent of those who drown in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. 

Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA wants to stress the responsible use of alcohol while boating.  It is important to consider the effects of drinking and driving whether on water or land. Statistics show that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.


Register online for youth hunt


On Saturday, Sept. 10, from noon to sunset, the TWRA will host Meigs/Rhea County Youth Dove Hunt at the Hiwassee Refuge from noon until sunset. Last year the hunt held at the Hiwassee Refuge was a resounding success. The Hiwassee Refuge, in Birchwood, is an ideal location for such an event. 

The hunt is open to youths, ages 10-15, that have successfully completed the Hunter’s Education Program and is limited to the first 75 youths registered online. Registration for the event will take place on the TWRA website tnwildlife.org and will continue until the hunt is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the TWRA and given additional specific instructions regarding the event at that time. 

Steel shot is required and each youth must be accompanied, throughout the entire event,  by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age.    

For additional information, please log onto tnwildlife.org, click on Youth Dove Hunts.


TWRA addresses bait hunting


TWRA has been receiving inquiries concerning hunting with the use of bait. The statute concerning the use of bait (TCA 70-4-113) has not been changed.

However, in response to questions from hunters concerning hunting with the aid of bait, the TWRA has adopted an internal law enforcement procedure aimed at providing uniform enforcement of these regulations statewide for deer, turkey, and elk. Due to a greatly different response to bait, the procedure does not apply to bear and other wildlife.

For the purpose of enforcing TCA 70-4-113 and Proclamation 10-11, a baited area shall be enforced by the following procedure:

No person may hunt wildlife while using bait or may hunt any baited area where he or she knows or reasonably should have known that the area is or has been baited. Shooting into or entering into “a baited area” for the purpose of hunting is prohibited. “A baited area” is defined as a 250-yard radius of the placement of the bait. “A baited area” will no longer be considered to be baited 10 days after all bait has been removed.


Dove season under way


One of Tennessee’s most long-standing outdoor traditions started on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Tennessee’s 2011 season will again be divided into three segments: Sept. 1-26; Oct. 8-23; and Dec. 19 through Jan. 15. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for all other days. 

Doves are found throughout the various regions in the state, but the most concentration is in farming areas. The hunter must have on his/her person a valid state hunting license and Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit at all times while hunting. Hunters must have landowner’s permission to hunt on private land.

The daily bag limit is 15. There is no limit on collared dove. Doves not readily identifiable as collared doves will be considered mourning doves and will count toward the mourning dove daily bag limit. 

No person shall take migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area. Any auto-loading or repeating shotgun must be incapable of holding more than three shells while dove hunting. 

More information on Tennessee’s dove season can be found on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website at www.tnwildlife.org) under the “For Hunters” section.

 The 2011 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide can also be viewed on the website or a copy may be obtained at any TWRA regional office or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.