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Bear hunting in Tennessee? Be sure to check it in

From staff reports • Sep 25, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Out hunting for black bears now that archery season is open in Tennessee? The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has an extremely important reminder for you.

All black bears harvested in the state must by physically checked in at a TWRA-approved checking station. Electronic check-in through TWRA’s website or mobile app is not permissible.

Archery season for black bears opened Saturday for all bear hunting zones in Tennessee, and the TWRA has at least one bear checking station in every county open for bear hunting. Some stations are set up for bears only, and at these hunters will receive a paper tag upon checking a bear. Traditional checking stations that also check other big-game species will operate under their normal procedures.

In our immediate area, black bear check-in stations can be found in:

CARTER COUNTY

• Farmers Exchange, 6451 Hwy. 19E, Roan Mountain — (423) 725-2800

• Hampton Bait Shop, 126 First Ave., Hampton — (423) 725-2811

• Rockin W Country Store, 3306 Hwy. 321, Hampton — (423) 768-0300

• Redi Mart #16, 494 Hwy. 91, Elizabethton — (423) 542-6095

GREENE COUNTY

• Creekside Market #2, 8691 Asheville Hwy., Greeneville — (423) 638-6081

HANCOCK COUNTY

• Clinch River Market LLC, 127 Tazewell Hwy., Sneedville — (423) 733-4895

HAWKINS COUNTY

• Lakeview Market, 754 Choptack Road, Rogersville — (423) 272-2727

• Rockhill Grocery, 1635 Hwy. 70 N, Rogersville — (423) 272-9820

• St. Clair Store & Farm Supply, 1323 Hwy. 113, Bulls Gap — (423) 235-2370

SULLIVAN COUNTY

• Darter’s Sports Center, 4811 Hwy. 421, Bristol, TN — (423) 878-4221

• Gun Rack, 2804 N John B. Dennis Hwy., Kingsport — (865) 288-9851

• Hickory Tree Grocery, 2303 Hickory Tree Road, Bluff City — (423) 538-8224

UNICOI COUNTY

Erwin Trout Hatchery, 475 Fish Hatchery Road, Erwin — (423) 743-4842

WASHINGTON COUNTY

• Johnson City Fire Department, 105 Carroll Creek Road, Johnson City — (423) 239-7528

• Johnson City Fire Department, 106 Gray Commons Circle, Gray — (423) 467-5851

For the full list of approved checking stations, go online at tnwildlife.org or call the Region 4 Office in East Tennessee at (423) 587-7037.

Natural Tunnel offers hunting opportunities

As a wildlife management tool, the Virginia State Parks system offers a wide variety of hunting opportunities, and Natural Tunnel State Park in Scott County has several chances for area deer hunters to take part. They are:

• Special youth muzzle loading hunt, Nov. 4 (reservation period begins Thursday, Sept. 28)

• Muzzle loading-only hunts, Nov. 13-14 (reservation period begins Thursday, Sept. 28)

• Muzzle loading and shotgun hunts, Jan. 19-20 (reservation period begins Thursday, Sept. 28)

Hunters may reserve preferred days and stands or zones for an advanced fee of $15 a day by calling the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at (800) 933-7275. Reservations will be accepted until all slots are filled for each hunt, up to two days prior to the hunt, provided the hunter completes payment before the day of the hunt. Some hunts require special qualifications or have special restrictions.

All hunting laws and regulations apply in state parks, and individual parks may have additional rules. To learn more about Natural Tunnel State Park, go online at dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/natural-tunnel or call (276) 940-2674.

For information on hunting licenses, safety education and regulations, go online at dgif.virginia.gov or call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at (804) 367-1000.

Hunters, anglers get their own month

October is National Hunting and Fishing Month.

Hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars to conservation through initiatives like the Federal Duck Stamp, which raises nearly $40 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Excise taxes on firearms, ammo and tackle generate more than a billion dollars per year through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

“Hunters, anglers and target shooters are the best conservationists who contribute so much through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Richard Childress, second vice president of the NRA and a NASCAR team owner. “Last year, they contributed $1.2 billion toward conservation and protecting our natural resources. We need more mentors taking young people out and teaching them to hunt and fish.”

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