TENNESSEE DEBATES OVER COYOTE NIGHT HUNTING – Tennessee coyote hunters may have reason to celebrate soon. The Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission (TFWC) continue their debate for a possible change to make coyote hunting after dark legal in all counties.

During a recent official comment period, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officials said 53 hunters asked that night hunting for coyotes be allowed. Lt. Col. Cape Taylor, TWRA’s Assistant Law Enforcement Chief, also stated that TWRA Wildlife Division had no biological concerns with coyote hunting at night.

At this time, not all Tennessee counties allow coyotes to be shot at night.  As long they are not destroying property such as livestock under the regulations regarding depredation. Coyote depredation occurrences are not tracked within Tennessee because permits are not distributed for this purpose.

Safety Concerns

TWRA’s law enforcement division has not recommended night hunting for coyotes, stating safety concerns. During the TFWC wildlife officials meeting, Lt. Col. Cape Taylor presented six accidental coyote night hunting incidents that occurred in several states over the last ten years.

In consideration, TFWC Vice-Chairman, Jim Ripley urges the commission to compare total hunting accidents in these states with coyote hunting accident occurrences after dark. The commission can compare how prevalent coyote night hunting accidents are by comparing these occurrences.

To move forward, TFWC wildlife officials brainstormed ways to mitigate night hunting accidents. Jim Ripley suggested the use of chem lights, or glow sticks, to alert hunters of another hunter within gun range. Lt. Col. Cape Taylor fielded questions about the topic regarding safety. He suggested mitigating accident risk using hunter education programs and lights to be worn by hunters. He goes on to explain however, the light worn would only protect other hunters and not those residing in houses on adjacent land, livestock within the area, or other humans generally passing through the hunting area at night.

“There are legislatures that are interested in it. I’m thinking it’s going to happen whether it is legislated or whether it’s done by this agency. It would be my hope that it would be done by this agency and it would be put together in such a way that it would be the safest and best system in this country.” – TFWC Vice-Chairman, Jim Ripley

What’s Next

The next meeting will compare how many U.S. states allow night hunting of coyotes, total hunting accident comparisons, and measures that could mitigate night hunting accident risk to progress the debate forward. All regulation changes are expected to be posted on the TWRA website.

What are your thoughts about the possible regulation change? Let us know in the comments!

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