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Early Wood Duck Season Continues

 After much debate, the early wood duck season in Tennessee has been continued indefinitely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 There has been a lot of talk in recent years of discontinuing the early wood duck season in Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky. But, due to a lack of evidence proving it's detrimental effects to the wood duck populations, it will be continued. It appears that the wood duck population is sustainable and that the early season doesn't have much affect on the their numbers.

"I am a bit surprised," Larry Marcum, Chief of the Wildlife Division for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said. "It was our understanding that the season, which has carried an 'experimental' designation for its 20-year existence, would not be approved. It is a pretty big change for the USFWS to change their mind after they had already published material saying there would not be an early season option."

 The TWRA was a major supporter and TWRA executive director Gary Myers was one of the more vocal proponents for continuing this season. It's good to know that our wildlife officers are looking out for the outdoorsmen in Tennessee.

  Wood duck season coincides with the early teal season that many states enjoy, but only the three states mentioned above get the chance to harvest wood ducks along with the teal.

  This early season usually provides a major influx of business to the Reelfoot area because local sportsmen know Reelfoot provides some of the best wood duck and teal habitat in Tennessee. If you've ever been around the lake for opening day of this early season, you know that the action can be fast and furious, or at least it sounds that way.

 One last note: If you are interested in helping the wood ducks and help continue the bountiful harvests that we experience each year. Please, build and maintain wood duck boxes. They have been proven to quickly increase an areas wood duck population and were a vital part in the increase of Tennessee's wood duck numbers.

 Also, make sure and clean them out every spring, as this will increase the likelihood of use year after year.

 We call ourselves sportsmen, so please give back a little bit to ensure great outdoor experiences for future generations.


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