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Ramsey Congratulates Bristol Dentist’s Appointment to Chair TN Fish, Wildlife Commission

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; February 25, 2013:

(February 25, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) congratulates Dr. Jeff McMillin of Bristol on his election as chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC). The TFWC works with the State Legislature to provide direction and oversight to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Dr. McMillin was appointed to the commission by Lt. Governor Ramsey in 2009 and elected chairman at the commission’s February meeting.

“I am extremely proud to see Jeff elected chairman of the TWRA. His deep and abiding love of the outdoors cannot help but be transmitted to everyone with whom he comes in contact,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “As a fellow outdoorsman, I have appreciated Jeff’s dedication to serving on this commission. He is a treasure to the state and the perfect person to oversee TWRA’s mission of conservation and preservation of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife.”

A native of Sullivan County, Dr. Jeff McMillin has been a practicing dentist in Bristol, Tennessee since 1981. After graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1978, he acquired his doctorate of dental surgery (DDS) from University of Tennessee Memphis in 1981. Dr. McMillin has lived his entire life in Tennessee and his hobbies include hunting ducks, turkey and big game, saltwater, river and stream fishing. He also enjoys planting food plots and improving wildlife habitat on his hunting property in East Tennessee. Dr. McMillin and his wife, Debbie have two adult children, Bart and Sara, and one grandson, Colt.

Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission oversees Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The TWRA was established in 1949 and completely reorganized in 1974. It now consists of more than 600 professionals dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife for the enjoyment of all Tennesseans and visitors.

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TFA: TWRA Bow Hunting Policy for Handgun Permit Holders Needs Clarification

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; September 20, 2012: 

TWRA issues “clarification” or policy change on permit holders during bow season

TFA has received and confirmed reports that TWRA was advising its officers that a bow hunter (or muzzleloader hunter) who does not have a handgun permit could be charged with criminal hunting violations if they were hunting with another hunter who did have a handgun permit and a handgun while hunting. This is the essential body of an email from a TWRA official that was provided to TFA (emphasis added):

“It is illegal for any person, without a carry permit, to carry a firearm or to be accompanied by a person who is in possession of a firearm while archery or muzzleloader hunting. The carry permit supersedes 70-4-123 so that a person with a valid carry permit can be in possession of a firearm while archery hunting.

The answer to the question would be that you cannot be with your friends while hunting if they have a firearm in their possession.”

TFA looked into this issue and confirmed that this was the TWRA’s policy on this matter. TFA contacted Senator Mike Faulk, known to be an avid hunter himself, for further confirmation. Senator Faulk did look into this matter and provided to TFA a copy of a memorandum issued by TWRA on September 17, 2012 reversing this policy. The TWRA memorandum now states:

For purposes of enforcing T.C.A. 70-1-123, a person who is accompanied by someone authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to T.C.A. 39-17-1351 shall not be considered to be in violation of this statute.

While this is a victory for hunters in Tennessee, the policy requires further clarification. Note that the policy is expressly limited to armed companions who are carrying firearms pursuant to the civilian handgun permit statute 39-17-1351. There may be many loopholes:

  • What if the person is carrying based on reciprocity? Since Tennessee’s reciprocity statute is under 39-17-1351(r), that should be ok.
  • What if the person is legally carrying other than pursuant to this specific statute? TWRA’s policy is not clear. The policy, as written, might not apply if the armed companion is any of those several groups of individuals who in the wisdom of the Tennessee or Federal governments are allowed to carry firearms without a civilian handgun carry permit. Thus, if your companion is carrying pursuant to the federal statutes, as current or retired officers, if they are a current federal officer, by a current officer from “out of state” (39-17-1308(a)(10), if they are carrying as law enforcement in an “off duty” capacity (see 39-17-1315 or 39-17-1350), if they are a local, state or federal judge or magistrate (39-17-1308(a)(7)), etc.
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TWRA: Application Deadline July 25 for Big Game Quota Hunts

Press release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; July 20, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — The application period deadline for all Wildlife Management Area (WMA) 2012 Big Game Quota Hunts will run is July 25. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency began accepting applications on June 13.

The instruction sheet lists information about which WMAs will hold the hunts, the bag limits, any antler restrictions and hunting implement types allowed on each hunt. Applications are available and will be accepted at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office, or online at the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org. Mailed applications will not be accepted. The applications must be received by midnight (CDT), July 25.

Sportsmen are reminded to read the instruction sheet carefully, fill out all requested information, double-check the form, and take it to a license agent where it will be entered into the system. When applying at any TWRA license agent, there is no fee for current Annual Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders, or seniors possessing a Type 167 permit. For all other applicants, there is a non-refundable $10 permit fee for each drawing entered plus a $1 agent fee.

Hunters may also apply over the Internet at the TWRA website. There is no fee for current Annual Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders, or seniors possessing a Type 167 permit. All other applicants, in addition to the $2 internet usage fee, will be charged a non-refundable permit fee of $10 per drawing entered. The $2 usage fee is collected by the company that maintains the Internet site. (It is not a fee that is charged by the TWRA.)

TWRA’s priority drawing system gives priority points (this year a maximum of 7 points) to hunters based on the number of years they have participated without being drawn for a hunt. Applicants who were successful last year will start over with a priority of zero.

When applying at a license agent, hunters must remain at the location while the application is processed to verify the information, such as hunt codes and their TWRA ID number on their receipt, is correct.

After all the drawings are conducted, leftover permits will be sold by all license agents on-line on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Aug. 29.