Heavy rainfall adds much-needed water to area lakes, ponds and rivers
By Brent Callicott
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:00 pm
Reelfoot Lake is full again thanks to the much-needed heavy rainfall received two weeks ago. Many other local and regional lakes, ponds and rivers have had a fresh drink of water also, just what was needed heading into the late winter and spring fishing seasons.
When in need, Mother Nature and the good Lord will provide, and they did. It just took some time.
Looking back, just a few days ago — starting Jan. 10 as a matter of fact — Reelfoot Lake was sitting in the 280.92 (10.70 feet gauge) feet above sea level range. This would have been around 14 inches below pool. Just 15 days later, we have a lake that is now above the normal pool level sitting in the neighborhood of 282.82 (12.60 feet gauge) feet above sea level. That is at least a two foot swing in the good direction if not a inch or two more. Reelfoot normal level is 282.20 feet above sea level. Reelfoot sits at around 7 to 8 inches above the pool level mark.
I have had a water level report from down at Gibson County Lake also that it has come up in the range of four feet. This is a lot but could for sure use more water. This lake was at least 8 to 10 feet low, if not lower.
Kentucky Lake was feeling the effects of not only the local heavy rains but the rains that fell up in East Tennessee. The TVA folks were spilling most of last week and through this past weekend over 235,000 cubic feet of water per second. Folks, that’s lots and lots of water.
This week, some bodies of water may have had some ice to deal with and will once again have that possibility this weekend due to another cold shot that was to hit our part of the country. Some like it for their waterfowl hunting and others are not in favor of the ice. I personally always thought that ice just caused more problems and would be hard and even tear up your equipment. I know things have changed since I last hunted 15 years ago. Bring on warmer weather; I’m ready to set the hook on a bass. A pretty nice warmup is in the forecast starting Sunday through the first part of next week.
The 2012-13 Tennessee waterfowl duck season will come to a close this Sunday. There will be two juvenile hunts scheduled the next two Saturdays. This year, the youth waterfowl season has changed for the better in the Statewide Zone and Reelfoot Zone. They will be split into two one-day hunts on consecutive Saturdays, rather than a Saturday-Sunday format. The dates will be next Saturday, Feb. 2, and the following Saturday, Feb. 9, for youth ages 6-15.
An adult at least 21 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field and must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device. The adult accompanying the young hunter may not hunt ducks but may participate in other open seasons. Geese, coots, gallinules, moorhens and ducks, including pintails, may be taken by youths during Youth Waterfowl Season. WMAs with special closing times are open all day, each day of the Youth Waterfowl Season.
Season dates for closing for Canada geese are Sunday in the Statewide Zone. In the Northwest Zone, the season will end Feb. 10. The daily bag limit is three per person. The number of days allowed for Canada goose hunting seasons has been extended by six days in each of the zones. The daily bag limit for Canada goose has also increased to three from two in all zones.
The white-fronted goose season runs statewide until Feb. 10. The daily bag limit is two per person. Season dates and bag limits for light geese (snow, blue, Ross) are similar to last season with a shift for the calendar. The standard season will run through Feb. 10 also (standard regulations apply). Federal Conservation Order provisions allow the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns for the Feb. 11 through March 10 portion of the season. The daily bag limit of light geese is 20 per person, per day during the conservation season.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is soliciting comments for its 2013-14 hunting seasons’ regulations. This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff.
Public comments will be considered by TWRA’s Wildlife Division staff and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes. Comments may be submitted by mail to: 2013-14 Hunting Season Comments, TWRA, Wildlife and Forestry Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Hunting Season Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.
The comment period concerning the 2013-14 hunting season regulations began on Jan. 15 and will be open until Feb. 25.
Remember also, the TWRA will also have applications for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 2013 Spring Turkey Quota Hunts.
The areas available for the hunts are listed on the instruction sheets. Hunters have up to 12 choices, but will be drawn for only one. Applicants may not use the same hunt code more than once. There are a total of 19 hunts listed. No person may apply more than once. Applications are available and will be accepted at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office or online at the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org. Applications will not be accepted after 11:59 p.m. Feb. 6. Mailed applications will not be accepted. The areas available for the hunts are listed on the instruction sheets. Hunters have up to 12 choices, but will be drawn for only one. Applicants may not use the same hunt code more than once.
Also from the TWRA, registration for a Tennessee Hunter Education course will be required to be made online on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website.
On the TWRA website, those wishing to register for a class will click the “register for a hunter education class” link. Once clicking the link, there will be directions to search for hunter education classes closest to your area.
Registration must be completed prior to the starting date of a class to ensure a spot in a particular class. For those persons without computer access, they are encouraged to visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance. Advance registration provides more time for instructors to devote to students. It also provides a quicker method for the registration process.
You must cancel your registration for the hunter education course before March 11 at 10 a.m. All registrants for this event must be 9 years of age by March 23. The course is offered free of charge to anyone interested regardless of age; however, you must be 9 years of age or older in order to become a certified hunter education graduate.
Dates for the class are as follows: Monday, March 11; Tuesday, March 12; Thursday, March 14; Tuesday, March 19; Thursday, March 21; and Saturday, March 23. Each of the night classes will be from 6:30 until 9. The Saturday class will be from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Applications for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 2013 Spring Turkey Quota Hunts will be accepted through Feb. 6. The areas available for the hunts are listed on the instruction sheets. Hunters have up to 12 choices, but will be drawn for only one. Applicants may not use the same hunt code more than once. There are a total of 19 hunts listed. No person may apply more than once.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife news
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service down at Reelfoot Lake has announced the annual Turkey Quota Hunt procedures for 2013. This will be held on the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge on April 5-7.
Applications will be accepted at the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge office or must be postmarked within the month of January.
Then, in February, a random drawing will be held to select 50 permittees (25 for the Long Point Unit and 25 for the Grassy Island Unit). A permit fee of $12.50 per hunter is payable upon notification of the selection for the quota hunt.
First, you need to submit a stamped, self-addressed U.S. Postal Service postcard, then place the postcard in a envelope and mail to: Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, 4343 Highway 157, Union City TN 38261, Attn: Refuge Ranger.
Second, type or print clearly on the back of the U.S. oostcard: Your name, your address, your phone number, unit of choice (Long Point or Grassy Island). Each application can have up to four hunters with one hunter on the front of the postcard and up to three additional hunters on the back.
If you submit multiple cards and illegible or incomplete names or addresses, this will disqualify the application(s). For more information, please contact the folks at the Reelfoot office at 538-2481.
There will be another draw for hunts in the Chickasaw or Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuges. The hunts there will be in three seasons: April 4-7, April 11-14 and April 18-21. As stated above, these must be dropped off during the month of January or postmarked during January. There will be 75 randomly selected permittees for each of the seasons on the Chickasaw NWR and 25 permittees for each of the seasons on the Lower Hatchie NWR. There will also be a fee of $12.50 per hunter. You will also follow the above info on selection of place to hunt and mail to the Reelfoot office.
I want to say to things concerning my family. First of all, my family wants to thank each of you who have sent cards, emails, phone calls, text messages, food, stops on the streets and any other way you have found a way to let us know you have been praying for Mom’s quick recovery. She is doing much better and we are truly blessed to live in such a caring community and live around people who care about each other.
And lastly, I wanted to wish my father, Lanny Callicott a very happy birthday. He turned 71 today. My dad has spent more than half of his life sharing his love for the outdoors with his radio show. He has always wanted to be in a situation to be able to help others in passing along any kind of information that pertained to the outdoors world. And if I could steal his line when he ends his radio show ... “We thank you for reading (listening) and we hope you have a real nice day!”
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Published in The Messenger 1.25.13