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Archives 03-29-2011

News

Talking Turkey
Unemployment rate up to 9.6% in February
State revenue $7.2M above budget estimate
Outdoor burn permits required through May 15

Talking Turkey

Darren Oliver photo
NWTF Overton County Chapter President Blake McCormick does some scouting for gobblers recently, using a call to attempt to draw the birds out of cover. McCormick said the turkey population in Overton County is noticeably growing compared to a few years ago, giving hunters the opportunity to bag more birds during the spring hunt that runs from Saturday, April 2 until Sunday, May 15. According to TWRA, only bearded birds can be harvested during the spring hunt. Last year, Overton County hunters harvested 600 turkeys in the spring and fall hunts, according to TWRA officer Johnny Poston.

By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

You might have wondered whether there are more turkeys around our neck of the woods, or if it’s just your imagination.

Take it from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation: It’s not just your imagination.

“In Overton County, we had our biggest harvest ever last year,” said TWRA Officer Johnny Poston, noting that hunters took “right at 600 birds.”

Poston said the large harvest is a good sign that turkey repopulation efforts undertaken by TWRA since the late ‘80s-early ‘90s have been productive.

“They were kind of like the white-tailed deer,” Poston said. “The deer were stocked here probably beginning in the ‘60s, and we know how well of a comeback they’ve made. The same case with the turkeys. They were native to Tennessee, and I can’t tell you what year they disappeared, but by maybe the late ‘80s to early ’90s, TWRA started restocking turkeys in Tennessee, and now every county’s got turkeys in it, and they’re doing very well.”

Poston said the population is monitored in two ways. First, officers and biologists with TWRA do what is called a “poult survey” in the summer, then TWRA keeps a close eye on the number of birds harvested in each county during the fall and spring seasons.

“They [hunters] have to check in the birds that they kill, and that’s a real good way to know how our turkey population’s doing,” Poston said.

“We’ve got some counties in West Tennessee, Giles and Lincoln, they kill quite a bit more, but 600 birds in this area is very, very good.”

According to Blake McCormick, president of the Overton County chapter of the NWTF, the growth in the turkey population has been noticeable.

“The population is really hitting a growth spurt,” McCormick said. “There a couple years ago, it kind of dimiinished a little bit, but now the hens are running around like crazy where I hunt at. There’s a lot of females, and I’ve been seeing some pretty big dominant birds, toms. There’s a good male-to-female ratio. It’s really come back up a lot.”

With the annual spring juvenile hunt that took place last weekend and spring turkey season set to open this weekend, running from Saturday, April 2 until Sunday, May 15, McCormick said he was eager to see what he could harvest this season.

“I’m excited,” McCormick said. “I’m really looking forward to it. We didn’t have too much luck turkey hunting in the fall for that one week. By comparison, the spring season is about a month and a half, and the fall is only about a week, so there’s a lot more opportunity.”

Poston reminded hunters that the spring hunt is intended to be a gobbler hunt.

“Always be sure of your target,” Poston said. “It’s got to be a bearded turkey.”

While some hens can have beards and would therefore be eligible for harvest, Poston said those are truly a rare bird. He advised if a hunter can’t clearly make out a beard, they shouldn’t attempt to harvest the bird.

Poston said hunters are allowed “one bearded turkey per day, not to exceed four per season” in the spring hunt.

For more information about turkey hunting regulations, season dates, or other wildlife-related questions, contact the TWRA Region 3 office at (931) 484-9571.

Those interested in learning more about Overton County’s NWTF chapter may call McCormick at (931) 319-1653 or e-mail blakemccormick12@hotmail.com. Membership is open to everyone 18 and older, with a youth membership available for those aged 13-17.



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Unemployment rate up to 9.6% in February
Tennessee’s unemployment rate for February was 9.6%, up 0.2 from the revised January rate of 9.4%. The national unemployment rate for February 2011 was 8.9%, 0.1 percentage point lower than the January rate.

Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis said,

“Tennessee had 15,400 who entered the labor force, more than 10,000 of whom were able to find jobs. The unemployment rate increase is largely attributable to the remaining 5,000 workers who were unable to find work.”

Davis added, “As another positive sign, the business survey shows we’ve added 35,000 jobs since last February across a diverse range of industries.

The year-over-year growth rate of 1.4% shows Tennessee’s employers are beginning to regain jobs lost during the recession.”

According to the Business Survey, government increased by 4,600 jobs (state and local educational services). Private educational and health services increased by 4,400 jobs, and leisure and hospitality increased by 3,100 jobs.

Major employment decreases occurred in retail trade, down by 3,500. Transportation and warehousing declined by 800, and accommodation declined by 500 jobs.

Year-over-year increases occurred in private educational and health services, up by 11,700. Professional and business services gained 9,900, and mining and construction was up by 7,800.

Year-over-year decreases occurred in nondurable goods manufacturing, down by 2,500. Retail trade lost 2,100, and information decreased by 1,400.



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State revenue $7.2M above budget estimate
Tennessee tax collections continued a slow upward trend in February.

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes announced Friday, March 11 that overall February revenues were $669.7 million, which is $7.2 million more than the state budgeted. Although the overcollection is modest, it’s the seventh consecutive month of positive growth this fiscal year.

February sales tax collections, which reflect consumer spending that occurred during January, recorded the 11th consecutive month of positive growth.

“The healthy growth rate in sales tax collections for February continues to reflect optimistic consumer confidence and clearly indicates an improving economy in Tennessee,” Emkes said.

On an accrual basis, February is the seventh month in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The general fund was over collected by $8.6 million, and the four other funds were undercollected by $1.4 million.

Sales tax collections were $8.5 million more than the estimate for February.

The February growth rate was positive 4.89%. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is positive 3.99%.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $2.4 million below the budgeted estimate of $35.3 million. For seven months, revenues are overcollected by $54.2 million. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is 10.65%.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for February increased by 1.72%, but were $107,000 below the budgeted estimate of $69.8 million. For seven months, revenues are overcollected by $10.7 million.

Tobacco tax collections were $1.4 million under the budgeted estimate of $21.8 million. For seven months, revenues are undercollected in the amount of $3.1 million.

All other taxes were overcollected by a net of $2.6 million.

Year-to-date collections for seven months were $144.2 million more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was overcollected by $123.5 million, and the four other funds were overcollected by $20.7 million.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2010-2011 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation of April 7, 2010 and adopted by the second session of the 106th General Assembly in June. They are available on the state’s website at

http://www.tn.gov/finance/bud/budget.html.

 


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Outdoor burn permits required through May 15
With spring drawing near, Tennesseans begin to take advantage of the mild weather to do some yard work around the home or farm. Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is reminding citizens that if they are considering doing outdoor burning, a burn permit is required.

State Forester Steven Scott said, “Burning vegetative material that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient way to get rid of such debris; however, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of debris burning is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where, and how it is safe to burn.”

The free burn permits are required in all areas of the state by law until May 15 unless otherwise covered by local ordinances. Residents should check with their city government for any local restrictions.

The permits can be obtained by calling the Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are generally good for 24 hours and can be issued for weekend burning.

Phone numbers for each office can be found in the state government section of the phone book or by visiting www.BurnSafeTN.org and clicking on the ‘Burn Permits’ button. The website is also a source of information for safe debris burning practices and fire prevention tips including how to protect a home in the event of a wildfire.

More than 388,000 permits were issued last year for activities that included unconfined, outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste, and burning to clear land. Once a burn permit is obtained, debris burners should practice common sense while conducting a burn, which includes the following:

•Establish a control line around the fire, down to bare soil before conducting the burn;

•Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance as a courtesy;
•Have tools on hand such as a leaf rake and garden hose or bucket of water to help control the fire;

•Watch for changing weather conditions as winds can blow the fire in the wrong direction;

•Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. It is not only the smart thing to do, but it is also illegal to leave an open fire unattended.

Escaped debris burns were the leading cause of wildfires in Tennessee last year accounting for 687 such fires that burned over 4,400 acres. Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50.

Wildfires caused by arson were the second leading cause last year, but accounted for the largest acreage burning over 12,000 acres. Wildland arson is a class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.


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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
info@overtoncountynews.com

 

 

 
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