The four Tennessee hunters selected for the 2012 Tennessee elk hunt were announced Thursday afternoon at the meeting of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission in Nashville.
The lucky hunters
—Tony William Fink, Crossville, Tenn.
— Brian M. Rochelle, Franklin, Tenn.
—William D. Marbury, Stanton, Tenn.
—Corbin M. Moore, Rockwood, Tenn.
The four were selected in a random drawing to participate in this year’s hunt, which is Oct. 15-19 on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. A total of 5,817 hunters applied this year.
Daryl Ratajczak, TWRA's chief of wildlife, said in 2009, the year of Tennessee's first elk hunt, nearly 13,000 applied. The number has been trending down steadily each year.
"The trend down isn't unexpected at all," Ratajczak said. "Of the 5,817 who applied, 591 were not sportsman or lifetime license holders [who can apply for free], which means they paid a $10, nonrefundable fee. That money goes directly to the elk management program, but $5,900 is just a small fraction of what the elk program costs us each year."
The fifth adult participant in the Oct. 15-19 hunt will get their permit from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. State law allows TWRA to provide one permit to a nongovernmental organization for fundraising purposes. This year, TWRF is that group. Their permit will be auctioned on eBay between July 19 and 29. Those proceeds are also designated for the TWRA elk management program.
For the first time this fall, TWRA also designated a special elk hunt for young sportsmen following the conclusion of the regular elk hunt, which will be held Oct. 20-21 with one young sportsman to be selected. Ratajczak said the recipient of that permit will be announced the first week of August in conjunction with the Land & Wildlife Expo to be held at Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Ratajczak said the odds for the kids 13-16 are much better than the adults. He said only 293 applicants are eligible in the youth elk hunt drawing.
Richard Simms is a contributing writer, focusing on outdoor sports.