The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency last week released a statement saying there was an “unfortunate circumstance” involving the recent drawing for public duck blinds.
It is working to determine what happened and make corrections.
The Agency issued this statement from Executive Director Bobby Wilson:
“The TWRA is committed to a fair and equitable lottery for duck hunters in Tennessee. While this year’s drawing met those criteria, it has come to our attention that the random method used by our vendor for the drawing process unintentionally varied from the information provided to the public.
“Despite the different application process, the drawing still operated in a fair and random manner, and neither draw method would have guaranteed success for any applicants.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance, however, given that hunters are already acting upon the results in preparation for the season, and a re-draw is not possible at this time.
“The TWRA is conducting a thorough investigation into the administration of the draw and all corrective actions taken ahead of the next draw in October. The TWRA plans to present its findings at the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting Sept. 16.”
The Wildlife Commission sets policy and oversees the operation of the TWRA, with oversight from the state legislature.
The statement from the TWRA communications department did not offer specifics about the problem with the drawing process.
The TWRA earlier this year made changes in how waterfowl blinds are issued. Its aim was to distribute the public blinds among more hunters, instead of allowing a fewer number to secure the blinds for longer periods.
With more waterfowl hunters every year applying for a limited number of public blinds, the distribution and use of the blinds becomes increasingly contentious.
Last winter two duck hunters in a public blind on Reefoot Lake were shot and killed in an apparent dispute with another hunter. A third hunter in the blind escaped unharmed. The shooter drowned, and the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain a mystery. No details about motive have been provided by officials who conducted the investigation.
Waterfowl hunting is one of the TWRA’s top management priorities and revenue sources, along with deer and turkey hunting.