Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What's up for next year?

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I wouldn't mind getting into some good-size brown trout in the Spring of 2015.

Well, bada-bing-bada-boom. It is a new year. Seems like they come faster as each one passes. Wasn't too long ago, I believed you had to cut a deer's throat as soon as possible or the meat would not be tender. Heck, not all that long ago, there was no limit on bluegill or crappie and we could keep 10-bass of any length.

We learn, things change.

So now, we are starting a new year. I don't make resolutions because I know I won't keep them. For some reason, I seem to base my future actions on what I have learned from previous ones. I wonder if that just comes with age. Mostly, I just think about what I am going to do this year and maybe a little on what I would like terms of wildlife, that is.

On the non-wildlife side, a week from today will be my anniversary. Jeanne and I will have been married a lot longer than probably either of us ever thought I would live. I have no plans to change that. For the most part, it has been a real good run. She stuck with me through some pretty tough times and somehow, we both survived. I love you sweetie and if we just have to, I guess we can eat out tonight.

So what would I like to see changed in the outdoor business in future? Well, for starters, I'd like to see the size limit on bass changed to a slot limit. In lieu of that, I'd like to see biological data as to why that would not be a good idea. That would be a good start.

And just to go on record, I am in favor of the increase in license fees. One is long overdue and I am especially in favor of the proposal to start charging for non-consumptive use such as horseback riding and bird watching. It is about time all users started paying for the privilege. I have always felt whatever our license fees were, they were well worth it. We have not had a license increase in 25-years. It is about time.

I don't guess I'd would change much about deer regulations here in our area. I think they are pretty much in line. We have a good age strata and unless hunters start willingly killing more does, there is not much we can do about total herd numbers or sex ratios.

See, the truth is, when it comes to our wildlife and fishery, this state is in pretty good shape. I have been fortunate to hunt in over 35-states and two foreign countries. We shape up pretty good. That is especially true if you really understand wildlife management.

The most frequent question I get from hunters is, "Why do we not have bucks like the Midwest or even KY?" I hear hunters asking for antler restrictions or a lower buck limit. I have gotten tired of explaining why they do not work.

We don't grow bucks like those states because of two major factors. Number one, we live too far south and number two, we don't have the nutrients in the soil to produce the crops that make those bucks. What we do have is some of the best bucks that can be produced in Tennessee. No matter what we do, we will never produce those monster bucks in numbers. Yes, now and then, one will crop up. But not as regularly as in Iowa or Illinois or Saskatchewan -- the farther north you go, the bigger the animals. And, we are not going to produce the crappie as in Sardis or the bass as in FL. But we can have the optimum for Tennessee.

Now, here is something we can think about. If we want more bucks of an older age strata, we can do that in just a year or two. All we have to do is not allow any firearms for the month of November. How many would vote for that? It will work. You won't have any more big antlered bucks than we do now but you will have more bucks of an older strata.

Well, enough about that. What changes will I make in the coming year as far as an outdoor thing goes? Probably not many. I'm going to try and fish a lot more and I probably won't deer hunt as much. Those are changes due to age as much as anything. I'm going to try and take more pictures. I'd like to spend more time with my grandson, teaching him about the outdoors and I'm going to do some more research into things I want to know more about.

Now that Judge Durham is retired, maybe we can do more floating and spend more time at Center Hill. I may even go up to North Dakota and show him how to catch smallmouth and pike. If I can afford it, I may make one more bear hunt. And maybe just one more trip to the Assiniboine River Valley.

That is about it for me. What have you got planned?

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