The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will convene Friday one member short.
William "Chink" Brown from Chattanooga was removed from the TFWC prior to the expiration of his term following a continued political dispute. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Hamilton County, who championed the removal of Brown, has refused to tell his constituents or TWRA officials why he made the surprise move.
There is no word on when Gov. Bill Haslam will appoint a replacement for Brown. That replacement will be for the two years remaining on Brown's term.
Meanwhile, the current 12 members of the commission will meet March 22 at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Building in Nashville. The one-day meeting will have committee meetings beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the formal commission meeting. The public is invited to attend.
The March meeting will be the first under the direction of the new TFWC officers that were elected near the conclusion of the February meeting. Dr. Jeff McMillin assumes the role of chairman (replacing Brown, the former chairman). McMillan, a dentist from Bristol, was serving as vice chairman under Brown. Jeffrey Griggs of Lexington moves into the vice chair position after serving as secretary. Jim Bledsoe of Jamestown is the new secretary.
Joey Woodard, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, will brief the commission on the new location and plans for the 2013 Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt and country music concert. The hunt and related activities are scheduled for April 5-6.
TWRA is taking part in a multistate project to track the movements of golden eagles. The commission will hear about the details of this project and what has been learned to this point.
Landowners have been stepping up their efforts to control wild hogs. A summary will be presented of their 2012 efforts to combat these destructive nuisance animals.
TWRA and the Tennessee Hellbender Recovery Partnership were selected nationally as the winners of the State Wildlife Action Plan Partnership Award, given by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C. Members of the partnership will present their role in crafting this nationally recognized project.
The Fisheries Division will present a commercial fishing proclamation amendment. The amendment increases the mesh size for gill nets from 4.0 to 4.5 inches and changes the times for commercial fishing in the creeks on Kentucky Lake during April and May from “9 p.m. to 4 a.m.” to “1 hour after sunset to 5 a.m.”
The public is invited to attend both the committee meeting and formal commission meeting.
Richard Simms is a contributing writer, focusing on outdoor sports.