Current Tennessee River Valley Hunters Benefit From Past Conservation Efforts | New
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee., 20 November 2021 / PRNewswire-PRWeb / – When European settlers settled in the Tennessee Valley, they found many wild animals and pristine rivers teeming with fish.
The state was home to healthy populations of waterfowl, quail, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, elk, bison, and black bears. Deer, bison, elk, and wild turkeys were important food sources for Native Americans; their skins and feathers used for food, clothing, tools and ceremonies.
First conservation efforts
People were alarmed at these declines as early as 1870, when the Tennessee the legislature has passed laws to protect rivers from overfishing. In 1887, the legislature banned the export of wild game and in 1889 banned commercial hunting of bobwhite quail. In 1903, the General Assembly established the Game, Fish, and Forestry Department, which made all game and fish state property and first required hunting licenses in 1907.
In 1925, real estate developers and fishermen on Reelfoot Lake clashed over access to this fishery, which led to the establishment of the lake as a national game and fish reserve, the first step towards the creation of state parks in Tennessee. In 1936, the 625,350-acre Cherokee National Forest was established, and in 1926, President Calvin coolidge signed a law to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).
In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Law on Aid for Wildlife Restoration – a brainchild of the country’s hunters and fishermen – establishing an excise tax on manufacturers of sports weapons and ammunition in order to generate income for wildlife conservation. Since its inception, more than $ 14 billion went to the purchase of wildlife habitat and the reintroduction of species at risk.
In 1946, outdoor writers, athletes, and conservationists formed the Tennessee Conservation League (TCL), now the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. The Department of Hunting and Fishing, a division of the state’s Department of Conservation, was then frequently corrupted by political influences, often overriding scientific management.
The organization’s efforts to eliminate the politics of wildlife management culminated in the establishment by the legislature in 1949 of the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission, which receives no funding from the General Fund and operates entirely on license fees. , fines, permits, leases or federal allowances. . The League’s efforts were decisive events that led the state to modern scientific management of wildlife.
Wildlife success stories
All of the above efforts have had a tremendous impact on wildlife conservation in the Tennessee River Valley. Today, there are nearly 5,000 bears spread across the eastern and central Tennessee, and deer hunters harvested 159,935 deer in the 2021-22 hunting season (deer populations now number in the millions). Tennessee hunters harvested 40,105 wild turkeys in the spring season alone in 2021. Unfortunately, grouse and quail are still in decline, despite efforts by conservationists to restore these populations, in part due to loss of habitat due to human development.
All of these efforts have created one of the most successful wildlife management stories of the century.
The TRV Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization made up of destinations committed to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity in the Tennessee River Valley. The map guide is supported by the generosity of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), volunteer members consisting of chambers of commerce, tourism and convention boards, businesses and individuals. To learn more, visit the website at http://www.ExploreTRV.com.
Etta Pettijohn, TRV Stewardship Council, Inc, 865-585-0811, [email protected]
SOURCE TRV Stewardship Council, Inc