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Tennessee to Allow Night Time Hunting of Coyotes and Bobcats

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In a move geared towards managing the population of coyotes and bobcats, Tennessee wildlife officials have taken a significant step by establishing a dedicated night hunting season for these elusive predators. During the recent two-day April meeting held in Johnson City, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to implement this new hunting season, albeit with specific regulations and limitations in place to ensure responsible hunting practices.

Under the guidelines outlined by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), night hunting for coyotes and bobcats will be restricted to private land only. To participate in night hunting activities, hunters must possess a valid hunting license and obtain written permission from the landowner, underscoring the importance of respecting private property rights while engaging in hunting pursuits.

The newly established night hunting season is scheduled to commence immediately following the conclusion of the deer hunting season. It will span from the day after deer season ends until the second Sunday in March. Subsequently, the season will resume on the first Saturday in June and conclude on the second Sunday in August, allowing for targeted predator control efforts during specific times of the year.

During the designated night hunting hours, which are set from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, hunters will have the opportunity to actively pursue coyotes and bobcats. However, certain harvest limits have been established to ensure sustainable management practices. Hunters will be permitted to harvest only one bobcat per night, while there will be no limit on the number of coyotes that can be harvested, reflecting the need for effective predator population control measures.

In terms of equipment and hunting methods, hunters participating in the night hunting season will be limited to using shotguns exclusively. Additionally, the use of dogs during night hunting activities is strictly prohibited, aligning with wildlife management principles aimed at minimizing disruption to natural ecosystems. However, hunters will have the option to utilize advanced hunting technologies such as night vision and thermal imaging devices, as well as lights, provided they adhere to specified regulations regarding their use.

Furthermore, hunters will be permitted to employ calls that mimic the sounds of coyotes or injured prey to attract their targets, enhancing the effectiveness of nocturnal hunting endeavors. These regulations aim to strike a balance between predator management objectives and ethical hunting practices, ensuring the conservation of wildlife populations while allowing for responsible hunting activities.

In addition to the establishment of the night hunting season, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission addressed several other pertinent topics during the April meeting. Discussions encompassed the success of anglers and trout fishing in Northeast Tennessee, turkey regulations in West Tennessee, and statewide chronic wasting disease numbers in deer. Furthermore, the commission approved new hunting unit maps, facilitating improved management and regulation of hunting activities across the state.

What do you think of the new law in Tennessee? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Hunting

Maximizing Lethality in Turkey Hunting: A Scientific Approach to Ammunition Selection

Turkey hunting is a revered tradition for many outdoor enthusiasts, offering thrilling encounters with one of North America’s most elusive game birds. Central to the success of any turkey hunt is the choice of ammunition, which can significantly influence the outcome of the hunt, particularly at extended ranges. With an abundance of shotshell loads marketed as “turkey loads,” hunters face the challenge of distinguishing between truly effective options and those that fall short of delivering ethical and humane kills.

In response to this critical need for clarity, a major ammunition company embarked on a groundbreaking field test in 1988 and 1989, led by an esteemed expert in ammunition performance evaluation. The objective was clear: to scientifically assess the lethality of various shotshell loads on turkeys, with a focus on distances of up to 45 yards, which is considered the outer limit of responsible turkey shooting.

Setting the Stage

The test was meticulously designed to adhere to rigorous scientific standards while ensuring relevance to real-world hunting scenarios. Key elements of the test design included:

  • Statistical Rigor: Sample sizes were carefully calculated to achieve statistical confidence levels of at least 95 percent, ensuring the validity and repeatability of the findings.
  • Blind Testing: To mitigate bias, both the shooter and the data analysts were kept unaware of which loads were being used during the test, maintaining objectivity throughout the evaluation process.
  • Representative Targets: Live domestic tom turkeys were selected for their similarity in size to wild turkeys hunted in the U.S., ensuring the test’s applicability to actual hunting situations.
  • Variety of Loads: The test encompassed a range of loads, including both steel and lead options in various shot sizes, with pattern testing conducted to assess their effectiveness at different distances.

Unveiling the Findings

The results of the test provided invaluable insights into the lethality of turkey loads across different ranges:

  • At 25 yards, all loads tested exhibited 100 percent lethality, demonstrating ample patterns and sufficient penetration to ensure swift and humane kills.
  • At 35 yards, lethality remained consistent across all loads, albeit with a slight decrease in the total number of pellet strikes on critical areas compared to closer distances.
  • At 45 yards, the performance varied significantly among different loads and shot sizes, with some loads demonstrating adequate lethality while others fell short, resulting in wounded birds and suboptimal outcomes.

Deciphering the Data

The findings of the test yielded specific parameters for determining the lethality of turkey loads:

  • Pattern Density: A minimum pattern count average of 200 strikes within a 30-inch circle emerged as a crucial factor for ensuring sufficient pellet distribution in critical areas of the turkey.
  • Penetration: Lead pellets of size No. 5 and steel pellets of size No. 4 were identified as optimal for achieving the necessary penetration to ensure quick and humane kills at 45 yards.

Putting Knowledge into Practice

Armed with the insights gleaned from the test, hunters can adopt a systematic approach to selecting and testing turkey loads:

  • Pellet Selection: Opt for lead pellets of size No. 5 or steel pellets of size No. 4 to maximize lethality at extended ranges.
  • Pattern Testing: Conduct comprehensive pattern testing at 45 yards using industry-standard methods to verify sufficient pellet distribution within the vital areas of the turkey.
  • Utilize Target Sheets: Alternatively, utilize turkey target sheets with anatomically correct illustrations to assess the performance of selected loads on vital areas of the turkey.

In the pursuit of ethical and responsible turkey hunting, the choice of ammunition is paramount. By leveraging the insights and methodologies outlined in this study, hunters can make informed decisions about their selection of turkey loads, thereby ensuring both lethality and ethical harvesting practices. Ultimately, such practices contribute to a more sustainable and enjoyable hunting experience while minimizing the incidence of wounded and lost game.

What did you learn from this article? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Hunting

The Legal Implications of Using Snares and Traps: What You Need to Know

Snares and traps are commonly used tools for hunting and trapping animals for various purposes, including pest control, wildlife management, and bushmeat hunting. However, the use of snares and traps can have serious legal implications that individuals need to be aware of before using them.

In many countries, the use of snares and traps is regulated by law to prevent animal cruelty and protect wildlife populations. For example, in the United States, the use of snares and traps is governed by the Fish and Wildlife Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibit the use of certain types of traps and mandate the humane treatment of trapped animals.

In addition to federal laws, many states and local jurisdictions also have regulations governing the use of snares and traps. For example, some states require individuals to obtain a license or permit before using snares and traps, while others have specific requirements for the size and type of traps that can be used.

Using snares and traps in violation of these laws can result in serious legal consequences, including fines, confiscation of equipment, and even criminal charges. In some cases, individuals may also face civil lawsuits from animal welfare organizations or landowners for damages caused by the use of snares and traps.

Furthermore, the use of snares and traps can also have negative implications for wildlife conservation efforts. Indiscriminate trapping can lead to the unintentional capture of non-target species, including endangered or threatened animals, which can have detrimental effects on their populations.

To avoid legal issues and protect wildlife populations, individuals using snares and traps should familiarize themselves with relevant laws and regulations, obtain any necessary permits or licenses, use appropriate trapping methods, and treat trapped animals humanely. Additionally, individuals should regularly check their traps to minimize the risk of unintended captures and promptly release any non-target species.

In conclusion, the use of snares and traps can have serious legal implications that individuals need to be aware of. By following relevant laws and regulations, using appropriate trapping methods, and treating trapped animals humanely, individuals can help protect wildlife populations and avoid legal consequences associated with the use of snares and traps.

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Hunting

Bowhunting: An Exciting and Rewarding Adventure

Bowhunting is an exhilarating and rewarding outdoor activity that has been practiced by humans for thousands of years. Using a bow and arrow to hunt wild game requires a unique set of skills, patience, and precision. It is a challenging and exciting adventure that allows hunters to connect with nature in a primal and ancient way.

One of the most appealing aspects of bowhunting is the close encounter with nature that it offers. Unlike hunting with firearms, bowhunting requires hunters to get up close and personal with their prey. This means that hunters must be stealthy, patient, and skilled in order to successfully harvest their game. The thrill of seeing a deer or elk up close, within bow range, is a rush unlike any other.

Bowhunting also requires a high level of skill and practice. In order to be successful, hunters must be proficient with their equipment, have a keen eye for tracking and reading animal behavior, and be able to shoot accurately and ethically. This requires hours of practice, dedication, and patience. The reward of successfully taking down a big game animal with a well-placed arrow is a feeling of accomplishment unlike any other.

In addition to the challenge and excitement of bowhunting, there are also practical benefits to this traditional form of hunting. Bowhunting allows hunters to extend their hunting season, as many states have longer seasons for bowhunters than for firearm hunters. Bowhunting also allows hunters to hunt in more remote and secluded areas, away from the crowds and noise of gun season. This can lead to a more peaceful and personalized hunting experience.

Bowhunting is also a way to connect with nature and the natural world in a meaningful way. It requires hunters to be aware of their surroundings, to be in tune with the rhythms of nature, and to have a deep respect for the animals they are hunting. Bowhunters often speak of the spiritual connection they feel with the animals they pursue, and the sense of oneness with nature that comes from spending time in the wilderness.

Overall, bowhunting is a challenging, exciting, and rewarding adventure that allows hunters to connect with nature in a deep and meaningful way. Whether you are a seasoned hunter or a beginner looking to try something new, bowhunting is an experience that can bring you closer to the natural world and provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. So grab your bow, head out into the woods, and experience the thrill of bowhunting for yourself.

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