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East Tennessee Outdoors… News for the Week of September 30, 2020

BY DANNY BLEVINS

STAR CORRESPONDENT

Wow, this is a busy time of the year in the outdoors. Whether you like to hunt, fish, camp, hike or just look at the beauty of the mountains, now is the time to do it.

The weather has been perfect for any of these pursuits, and if you are going to make a few memories that will stay with you through the cold, snowy winter months, now is the time to make them.

Hunting

If you enjoy small game hunting, remember that squirrel hunting season opened in August and will last until the end of February. The limit is 10 per day. Also, raccoon season is open with a limit of two per night.

Fall turkey season is open. You can kill one gobbler per county with archery equipment. Later in the month of October you will be able to hunt gobblers with a shotgun.

Deer archery season is open, and each hunter can kill up to four antlerless deer and two bucks during the season. Any bucks killed go toward the yearly bag limit of two.

Fall bear season is open for hunters who use archery equipment. During this season you cannot hunt with dogs but can carry a handgun for protection if you possess a Conceal Carry Permit from the state of Tennessee.

Hiking

The fall weather has been excellent for camping and hiking.

Remember if you are hiking, always watch your footing and always use a good pair of boots.

Several people have been rescued this year because they were hurt while hiking. Know your limits and your abilities. Some trails need to be avoided unless you are very proficient in hiking the backcountry.

Some campgrounds usually have openings during this time of year. If you prefer to use a camper or motorhome, try Wilbur Dam Campground or Roan Mountain State Park Campground. Both of these campgrounds have excellent views of the mountains and plenty of amenities.

Wilbur Dam Campground has a camp store, canoe rental and waterfront sites. Roan Mountain State Park has tennis courts, hiking trails, and a variety of other activities for the campers.

Fishing

Let’s face it. Most people turn away from fishing and toward hunting and camping when fall comes to the mountains.

Fishing can be excellent during the fall months. Local tailwaters, such as Watauga and South Holston Rivers, are still producing fish. The trout are hungry and the fishing is still hot.

Local lake water is cooling down and this is causing the fishing to heat up. Try fishing early in the morning and a few hours before dark for some of the best results.

Also, this is some of the best times to fish for catfish. I have seen some giant catfish come from Watauga Lake during October and November.

Catfish in the 30-pound range and above are commonly taken during the fall months. For bait, try using a large live bluegill.

This is the perfect time of year for almost any outdoor activity.

Get out and enjoy the beauty and the weather of the fall season because it will not last long.