The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s proposal for public land duck hunting and blind drawing procedures has significantly changed in the last month in response to public comments. This proposal is a substantial effort to increase the number of duck hunters who get drawn to hunt TWRA public wildlife management areas (WMA)s each season.
The updated proposal now increases access for hunters statewide and retains significantly more traditional season-long, 60-day blind locations as offered currently. In addition to the 414 season long blinds, there will be 71 hunt locations designated for quota hunts for 3, 4, or 7-day periods at a marked location or an Agency-built blind. There are no changes proposed to privately-owned/permanent registered blinds.
TWRA will present its updated proposal for changes to public land duck hunting to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission for consideration at its recently postponed meeting now taking place March 4-5. The meeting will be held in Franklin at the Marriott of Cool Springs.
“We value what our hunters have to say and we have updated this proposal as a compromise that will meet the Agency’s objective of providing increased access to public land duck hunters, computerizing our drawings to increase fairness, and honoring the traditions of duck hunting in Tennessee. In addition to adding some quota hunt locations, we will be adding priority points to the quota hunt location draws so that people can increase their chances of being drawn each year they apply,” stated Jason Maxedon, deputy director, TWRA.
The TWRA has received public comments through the years about how the current public land duck hunting system operates. The comments mostly fall into two categories to include the need for increased duck hunting opportunities on public lands (i.e. more access) and concerns over the fairness of the hand-held duck blind draw system. A scientific survey of duck hunters done in partnership with the University of Tennessee validated these comments as well as other issues with in-person hand-held draws and the desire for opportunities to hunt for shorter time periods.
In 2019, the TWRA made changes to make the in-person drawings more equal for everyone. In 2020, due to COVID-19, all hand-held duck blind drawings were computerized and online, which made the process fair and equitable for hunters across Tennessee. This year’s efforts are a continuation of an effort to meet the Agency goals.
More information on the proposals can be found at https://www.tn.gov/twra/proposed-duck-hunting-changes.html. Public comments may be emailed to TWRA.HuntingComments@tn.gov.