The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission members and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation are committed to providing this Moment of Freedom. By pooling resources, targeting efforts to raise awareness of facilities already available and by raising funds to provide 21 new wheelchair accessible sites over the next three years, the future is very bright for those deserving this “moment.”
In the News!
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MOMENT OF FREEDOM COORDINATOR RECOGNIZED
Knox County Sheriff, J. J. Jones, recently recognized TWRA Region I personnel with Honorary Deputy Sheriff certificates for hosting the first wheel chair-bound waterfowl hunt in Tennessee. Representing Sheriff Jones, Captain Jerome Parrott, presented the awards at the National Wild Turkey Federation convention at Opryland in Nashville.
TFWC officers (from left) Jim Bledsoe and Jeff Griggs along with Director Ed Carter were also present when Moment of Freedom Coordinator Shane Hall is recognized for coordinating the first wheelchair bound waterfowl hunt in Region I.
AWARDS PRESENTED AND PERSONNEL RECOGNIZED
(From left) Robert Smith (Wildlife Manager), Lance Rider (Information and Education Coordinator), Shane Hall (Moment of Freedom Coordinator , Wheelchair Hunting Blind Program), and Captain Parrott. Also presented awards, but were not pictured are Dave Gabbard (Information and Education Coordinator), Dave Rizzuto (Fisheries Program Manager), and Jeff Martin, Chris Park, and Nathan Wardan (Wildlife Managers).
NWTF Partners with Tennessee Agencies to Help Mobility Impaired Hunters
For more information, contact Peter Muller at (803) 637-7698.
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Tennessee has become an ideal hunting destination for individuals with mobility impairments thanks to the combined efforts of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF) to provide wheelchair-accessible custom blinds on public lands.
Tennessee is already home to more than a dozen deer, turkey and waterfowl blinds that include ramps and other features to make hunting from a wheelchair more convenient. A number of wheelchair-accessible fishing piers and observation towers offer additional outdoor opportunities.
“A big part of preserving this country’s hunting heritage involves bringing new people to the sport,” said Shane Hall, NWTF Tennessee Save the Hunt coordinator and TWRA Moment of Freedom coordinator. “The combined efforts to build these blinds has increased opportunity and provided access to thousands of acres allowing mobility impaired individuals to experience quality hunts.”
Zeke Hembree (front left) and his father Jeff (front right) have more than enough room to maneuver in one of Tennessee's portable blinds.
Click to download full size image.
The state’s Moment of Freedom initiative, a cooperative effort by the TWRA, TWRF, TWRC and other partners, is aimed at increasing these opportunities. While the goals of the Moment of Freedom include the creation of 21 new sites over the next three years, Hall has set his sights higher.
“This project relies solely on financial contributions but I see us being able to add 40 or more sites as this project picks up steam,” he said. To learn about the Moment of Freedom, visit www.MomentOfFreedom.org
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
To learn more about the NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, visit www.nwtf.org.
National Wild Turkey Federation
770 Augusta Rd., Edgefield, SC, 29824
Turkey harvest up six over last season
The state’s official 2014 turkey harvest report last week edged past the previous season by just six birds.
A total of 32,495 turkeys were killed during the March 29-May 11 season, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Last year’s harvest was 32,489.
It was the smallest change in the harvest from one season to the next in the past 12 years and also marked the 12th consecutive year the 30,000 harvest mark was surpassed.
The record harvest of 36,780 was in 2010. In the past five years, the average harvest is 33,731.
The 10 counties with the largest harvests: Maury (1,149), Greene (786), Dickson (719), Montgomery (686), Henry (679), Sumner (667), Wilson (647), Giles (618), Hickman (610), Hardin (591).
More accessible sites: At least 21 sites to make hunting from a wheelchair more convenient will be added statewide over the next three years.
The sites, part of the Moment of Freedom initiative, will include ramps and other features.
The TWRA, TFWC, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation and National Wild Turkey Federation are participating in the project.
Said Shane Hall, coordinator of Moment of Freedom and Tennessee Save the Hunt: “This project relies solely on financial contributions, but I see us being able to add 40 or more sites as this project picks up steam.”
Tennessee already has more than a dozen deer, turkey and waterfowl blinds, along with several fishing piers and observation towers, which are wheelchair-accessible.
For more information, call 731-225-1456 or visit MomentOfFreedom.org.
TWF awards: Jim Bledsoe of Jamestown was named the wildlife conservationist of the year at the 49th annual Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Awards last week.
Bledsoe, a Fentress County farmer, serves as president of his Farm Bureau chapter, treasurer of the county’s soil conservation district and vice chair of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Freddy Crouch, a TWRA officer in the boating and law enforcement division on Kentucky Lake, received the Ged Petit Memorial Award for his role in a major investigation into mussel and commercial fishing.
Upcoming seasons: The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission recently set the 2014-15 turkey hunting seasons.
The 2014 fall season will be Oct. 11-24. The 2015 spring season will be April 4-May 17, and the Young Sportsman Hunt will be March 28-29.
Awards Presented - MOF
NWTF / TWRA MOF
MOF in NWTF Turkey Country Magazine
MOF in the Tennessean