NASHVILLE — The 2017 Tennessee elk hunts have come to a conclusion with a total of eight elk harvested during the three segments. Participants could hunt on North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and surrounding private lands, although none of this year’s hunters chose to hunt on private lands.
The elk archery-hunt was the first segment held Sept. 30-Oct. 6 with three of the seven participants recording harvests. Dickson resident Larry Rosenbaum was the first person to check in an elk during the archery hunt on the first afternoon. It was also the first elk taken by archery since the hunt was launched in 2009. He harvested a 5×4 elk that weighed 378 pounds in Elk Hunt Zone 2.
Later that day, Johnny Delaney (Chattanooga) checked a 5×5 elk that weighed 486 pounds taken from Massengale Mountain in Elk Hunt Zone 4. Matthew Meyer (Knoxville) harvested the third and final bull elk of the archery segment on the second day. His harvest was 5×5 and weighed 397 pounds taken in Elk Hunt Zone 1.
Reed Johnson (Manchester) was this year’s recipient of the tag permit winner to participate in the Young Sportsman Elk Hunt. The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to allow a full week for the youth participant for the first time this year rather than a two-day weekend hunt. However, Reed only needed the first day on Oct. 7 as he harvested his 4×4 elk that field dressed at 316 pounds.
The Oct. 14-20 hunt was open for seven participants with the option to use gun, muzzleloader, or archery equipment. One of the hunters selected in the draw did not participate due to a conflict.
Alabama resident Tim Fisk had the first harvest in the gun hunt. He took a 6×7 elk in Elk Hunt Zone 4 that weighed 702 pounds. He was the successful bidder of the permit that is annually presented to a non-governmental organization. Fund-raising proceeds from the auctioned tag are designated for the elk restoration program.
The second elk to be taken by a gun was harvested by Gary Ownby (Clinton) on Oct. 16 in Elk Hunt Zone 7. This was the first elk taken from the Tackett Creek area. It had an antler size of 5×6, but no weight was measured.
Also taken on Oct. 16, was a 5×5 elk that weighed 510 pounds partially field dressed. Floyd Road (Knoxville) made his harvest in Zone 1.
The final harvest came on the final day of 2017. Kimberly Mayfield (Etowah) recorded her harvest in the morning, taking a 6×6 elk with a field dressed weight of 625 pounds.
Since the first managed hunt in 2009, 41 elk have now been legally harvested. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has worked to make elk habitat improvements at North Cumberland WMA. The arrival of 50 animals came in December 2000, the first wild elk to be in Tennessee since they were last reported in Obion County in 1865.