TWRC Will Meet in Nashville to Set Hunting Seasons

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The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) will meet at the TWRA Region II headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee on May 18 and 19, 2005 to set the hunting seasons and rules and regulations for hunting during the 2005-2006 season, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) is the governing body of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and is responsible for enacting rules, regulations and laws regarding hunting seasons, bag limits, methods of harvest and other regulations. During the May TWRC meeting each year, the regulations for the upcoming season are set.

Committee meetings will take place on Wednesday, May 18 starting at 1:00 p.m. CDT and the actual Commission meeting will be Thursday, May 19 beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT.

The most significant proposals include:

* Allowing the use of crossbows for hunting all species of wildlife when other archery tackle is legal (including archery only deer season). The TWRA noted that several states surrounding Tennessee have adopted similar regulations and at least one study has shown that allowing the use of crossbows is an effective way of keeping or recruiting older hunters in the sport of hunting.

* Increasing the statewide bag limit for the 2006 spring turkey season to four birds. This proposal is designed to reduce pressure on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), making those areas more attractive to hunters who have to rely on WMAs as a place to hunt.

* Allowing youths 16 years of age or younger to participate in state wide youth-only hunts and to hunt on WMAs. Previously a youth had to be at least ten years of age to participate in most youth-only WMA hunts. The TWRA would make the regulations relative to youth hunters consistent with existing regulations on regular statewide hunts. In making this proposal, the agency cited studies that have shown that youth hunters are just as safe as adult hunters. When participating in a youth-only hunt, each young sportsman must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device.

* The agency has also proposed moving Cannon, Lewis, Madison, Trousdale, Wayne counties to the new Unit L and moving Polk County to Unit B.

Other proposed changes include:

* Raising the antlerless bag limits in Units A and L. Increasing the quotas for antlerless hunts in several counties.

* Adding several counties to the fall turkey hunting season and increasing hunter quotas in some counties.

* Eliminating the October bear hunt in Johnson County.

* Adding several new wildlife management areas to the list of lands available for hunting.

* Expanding the raccoon bag limit and the beaver season in the eastern part of the state.

* Clarifying regulations relative to hunting on wildlife shooting preserves.