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East Tennessee Outdoors… News for the week of June 29, 2020

BY DANNY BLEVINS

STAR CORRESPONDENT 

Nothing says July Fourth more than camping trips, hiking, fishing trips, and picnics. This year’s holiday seems extra special because of the year we have seen.

Get out, stay safe, and make this the Fourth of July to remember.

Bears

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeing more bear problems this year than in years past.

According to the TWRA, June usually has more human-bear encounters than any other month. This year has been no exception, and this year the bear problems have been worse than normal.

One reason for this is that the Coronavirus shut down most of the tourism near and around Gatlinburg and other areas and the bears have been used to roaming freely around the rental cabins and lodges in that area.

Fewer people have been getting out in the last three months, right when the bear comes out of hibernation, and the bears are not used to the human presence.

The most memorable of these recent encounters was when a black bear climbed into a car in Gatlinburg and trashed the interior of the car to get to a bag of gummy bears.  Once his sweet tooth was satisfied, he was captured and relocated to an area with fewer people.

River Fishing

The fishing in many of the local streams and rivers has stayed hot.

The TWRA will stock many of the smaller streams for the last time the last week of June. These will not be stocked again until next spring. This may mean that you will have fewer fish to catch, but the quality fish are still there.

The best tips I can give any trout angler who regularly fishes the local streams are to use natural baits or artificial lures that resemble natural baits and fish where others have not fished.

This may mean that you need to invest in a good pair of wading boots and wade to the areas that are hard to reach.

This type of fishing is not always easy, but you will be rewarded with good fishing because you are fishing in areas that have not been heavily pressured.

Lake Fishing

As we go into July, many of this area’s anglers are fishing at night for bass, catfish, and walleye. When the water cools down and the fish start moving up into shallow water to feed is one of the best times to snag a big one.

Be patient because some days the fish are on and other days they are not. I know one angler who fished eight hours one night and never got a bite. I know this angler, and the boy can flat out fish, but this night he went home with nothing except bug bites.

Gun Safety

We are in the middle of summer, but hunting season will be here before you know it.

Remember if you are going to hunt in Tennessee and you were born after 1968, you must take a Tennessee Hunter Safety Course to hunt. You can take this course online, or they are offered each year in most communities by the TWRA.

Any child 10 years old and under does not have to have this, but they must be accompanied by an adult who can take possession of the hunting weapon.

Tennessee does offer an Apprentice License that will allow you to hunt for one year without a hunter safety course, but it is always a good idea to take the course and get it over with.

Contact your local TWRA office for more details and for information on when and where you can take this course.

Get out and enjoy the natural world this week. You have earned it.