Outdoors notebook

Carolyn Hedgecoth

Bears, like this one photographed in a yard near Crossville, are becoming common sights and it is illegal to harm them.

Bear shooter charged: A man in Gatlinburg has been cited for shooting at a bear he claims charged at him outside his hotel.

He has been cited for illegally discharging a firearm and reckless endangerment.

The bear has not been located. If it is discovered dead or wounded, addition charges will be added. It is illegal to shoot a bear out of hunting season, or outside designated hunting areas. The Gatlinburg shooter was in violation of both.

The only exception is if the bear presents a clear threat. In the Gatlinburg case, officials said the individual could have simply gone inside, instead of firing six shots at the animal.

Encounters with bears in suburban areas are becoming increasingly common, including in parts of Middle Tennessee. One was recently photographed a few miles north of downtown Nashville.

If a bear is spotted, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says not to approach it, and to contact authorities.

There are few verified cases of bears attacking people. However, if one is cornered, has cubs, or its food source is threatened, the animals are unpredictable.

Boat fire: This is the time of year when many boat owners are winterizing their boats, and they are advised to be careful when using inflammable chemical cleansers.

A boat fire recently erupted at Anchor Marine in Hendersonville, sending two people who were cleaning the boat to the hospital.

Duck talk: Waterfowl hunters have until Dec. 2 to submit suggestions and comments to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency concerning next season's rules and regulations.

They can be mailed to the TWRA's Nashville office or emailed to: twra.huntingcomments@tn.gov

The letter or email should be tagged "waterfowl comments."

The comments and suggestions will be taken into consideration when the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission sets next year's regulations.

CWD study: The TWRA asks area hunters to drop off deer heads at Cedars of Lebanon State Park to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

The heads can be dropped off at the maintenance office during regular park hours.

So far no CWD cases have been found in Middle Tennessee, but the deadly disease continues to appear in some West Tennessee counties.

Hunters for the Hungry: The Tennessee Wildlife Federation asks hunters to donate some of their harvested deer to the Hunters for the Hungry program.

By state law, the deer must be commercially processed in order to be donated. Some processors do it for free, while others offer a discount. Processors can be contacted to check on their policy.

The processed venison is distributed to the state's needy through Second Harvest and church and community organizations.

Details are available on the TWF website.

PHOTOS WELCOME: Caught a big bass or bagged a buck? Share your favorite outdoors photos with readers of The Lebanon Democrat by emailing them to areed@lebanondemocrat.com.

Larry Woody is The Democrat's outdoors writer. Email him at larrywoody@gmail.com.

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