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  • Topic: Youth turkey hunt harvest lower than expected

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    • March 28, 2013 10:09 AM EDT
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      For The Leaf-Chronicle 

      OUTDOORS COL: Youth turkey hunt harvest lower than expected

      CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — The spring turkey season kicked off this past weekend with a statewide youth hunt and the young hunters checked in 1,130 birds according to harvest data provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

      The youth hunt was a good one, but it was the lowest harvest in the past four years and much lower than the 2012 youth hunt when 1,780 turkeys were tagged.

      The current harvest included 822 mature gobblers, 292 juvenile gobblers and 16 bearded hens.

      Maury County was the top county for the young hunters with 63 turkeys checked in; followed by Greene County (45), Dickson County (41), Giles County (36), Hardin County (34), Hickman County (28), Sumner County (28), Wayne County (23), Weakley County (23), and Cheatham County (23).

      Montgomery County had 20 turkeys checked in, including 14 mature gobblers and 6 juvenile gobblers.

      Other local counties included Stewart County (18), Houston County (16) and Robertson County (17).

      Cheatham Wildlife Management Area was the top WMA in the state for the young hunters with 4 turkeys tagged; followed by North Cherokee WMA (3), Williamsport WMA (3), South Cherokee WMA (2), and Yanahli WMA.

      The cool weather was probably the biggest factor in the lower than expected turkey harvest during the youth hunt, but conditions are looking better for the opening of the regular turkey season this weekend.

      Last year, hunters tagged 8,518 turkeys on the opening weekend of the regular season and that tally could be topped this year. Cloudy conditions are forecast for Saturday and a possibility of showers for Sunday. Temperatures are expected to range from the low 40s to the mid-60s.

      If turkey hunting is not on your agenda, try fishing at Barkley and Kentucky Lakes. The southern portions of the Twin Lakes are 5-8 degrees warmer than the northern portions and the difference has turned the fish on.

      The word on the bass fishing is “fish the grass.” Bass are cruising the edges of the emerging grass beds and tournament anglers have been catching five-bass limits averaging more than 5-pounds per fish, with some stringers including bass over 8-pounds.

      Alabama-type rigs, Rat-L-Traps, suspending jerkbaits and shallow running crankbaits have all been successful lures.

      The crappie action has also been hot with fish beginning to move into their shallow water spawning areas. The winning team at the recent Crappie USA tournament at the Twin Lakes was fishing in the Big Sandy area where they caught a 7-crappie limit weighing 14.94-pounds, including the big crappie of the tournament weighed in at 2.63-pounds. They were long line trolling lures over suspended crappie at midrange depths.

      This post was edited by Chris Avena at March 28, 2013 10:10 AM EDT

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