Deer harvest down: The Nov. 23-24 opening weekend of deer gun season saw a decline in the number of deer harvested, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
A total of 15,649 deer were killed opening weekend, down from last year's harvest of 18,443 during the same two-day period.
During opening weekends from 2005-2008 the kill averaged 22,060.
The TWRA believes the decline in the number of opening-weekend deer killed is due to Tennessee's lengthy season. It opens on Sept. 28 with archery season and concludes Jan. 5 (followed by a weekend Young Sportsman Hunt.)
With such a lengthy season -- 102 days -- there is not a sense of urgency for hunters to rush out on opening day to try to bag their deer. Also, for many hunters, "opening day" means archery and muzzleloader seasons.
In the past, opening weekend of deer gun season was not only a tradition for many hunters, but also represented their best chance at getting a deer. That's no longer the case, and the TWRA remains optimist about a good harvest this year despite the opening-weekend drop-off.
Windmills killing eagles: In an act of environmental irony, windmills which are supposed to have less of an adverse impact on wildlife than other sources of energy, are killing eagle and other birds at a disturbing rate.
After ignoring the situation for several years, federal authorities recently charged two Wyoming "wind-farm" companies with the death of 14 eagles and at least 149 other bird species. The companies were fined $1 million, the first penalty meted out by the federal government for such a violation.
Killing an eagle is a federal offense, but repeated documented incidents had gone unprosecuted during the current administration's push for renewable energy sources.
One of the main sources being promoted as an alternative for oil is wind mills. While producing clean energy, such wind mills take a toll on birds who fly into the turbines. Raptors such as eagles and hawks apparently are drawn into the area by rodents and other prey that inhabit the cleared fields around the wind turbines.
One study found that since 2008, 67 bald and golden eagles have been killed by wind farms, but some believe the total it at least twice as high -- perhaps as many as 60 eagles killed every year for the last five years.
As for birds of all species that have been killed, the number is estimated in hundreds of thousands.
Environmentalists who support the government's wind-energy program are demanding solutions to the mass bird-killings.
Trap shoot: Despite the cold weather, Timothy Whitlock did some hot shooting during the Cedar City Gun Club's weekly trap shoot last week. He broke 48 of 50 targets to capture top honors.
Alex James was top Junior (31) and Alex James top Sub-Junior (23).
Feb. 28: squirrel season ends
Feb. 28: rabbit, quail seasons end
Nov. 23-Jan. 5: deer gun season
Dec. 3: winter trout stocking begins
PHOTOS WELCOME: Caught a big bass or bluegill or bagged a deer or turkey? Share your favorite outdoors photos with readers of The Lebanon Democrat by e-mailing them to email@example.com