Tennessee Opens Elk Hunting Season


Published: August - 2009

Elk hunters may now add the southeastern state of Tennessee to the list of possible elk hunting destinations. This year, five hunters are going to participate in the first elk hunt held in that state in 150 years. Four of the five permits were awarded by lottery drawing in June (the lottery opened April 1, closing date was May 31, application fee was $12.50 unless you held a valid Tennessee big game license). The fifth permit was auctioned off on eBay late last month. E-mail Extra subscribers were alerted to this opportunity in early July as soon as we learned of it. As of this writing on July 20, 2009 (with six days left in the auction process), the top bid was $17,600. Bids were expected to go as high as $20,000. Since eBay waived all fees for this auction, all proceeds will benefit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (www.twrf.net), working on elk restoration in conjunction with the Chattanooga Chapter of SCI and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

While no one expects a 400-pointer to be taken in this initial hunt, if the photos at (http://web.me.com/tnwildlife/TNELKHUNT/TN_Elk_Photos.html) are any indication, some good trophies should fall. The hunting area is the North Cumberland WMA in east Tennessee, near Jacksboro, north of Knoxville, in rugged former coal mining country with good access. Each hunter will be assigned an exclusive zone with about 8,000 acres to hunt. The participating agencies want all five hunters to succeed and will be providing as much assistance as possible short of actually guiding them.

We first reported on elk restoration programs in the Eastern United States in 2001 when Pennsylvania held its very first elk hunt in 70 years. This was largely thanks to help from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (www.rmef.org). That organization has assisted with numerous successful elk restorations, including Wisconsin; Ontario, Canada; Kentucky; Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (including North Carolina); Arkansas and Michigan. Currently, West Virginia is considering the restoration of elk based on a feasibility study conducted there in 2005. These programs are important, not just for conservation but also........(continued)

 
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