Tennessee Bills Threaten to Transfer Wildlife Management Area Ownership to County

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

Why It Matters: Lack of access is one of the biggest issues facing sportsmen and women and it is often cited as the primary reason why individuals no longer hunt and fish. The transfer of ownership and management authority of Yanahli WMA from the TWRA to Maury County directly threatens public access to sportsmen and women in Tennessee to hunt and fish.

State fish and wildlife agencies across the United States conserve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats through the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. WMAs, including Yanahli WMA, provide critical public access for sportsmen and women as well as quality habitat for many game and non-game wildlife species. These outdoor recreation opportunities are provided for thanks to funding from sportsmen and women generated through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF).

In 2021 alone, sportsmen and women in Tennessee generated $60,961,716 for state-based wildlife conservation through the ASCF. Sportsmen and women are the primary drivers of funding for fish and wildlife conservation and their voices should be given priority consideration for WMA management issues.

Additionally, under the Tennessee State Constitution, the state is tasked with managing fish and wildlife resources within its boundaries. Counties in Tennessee do not have the constitutional authority nor the financial resources to adequately manage large areas of land and water for fish and wildlife conservation.

CSF will continue to coordinate with other pro-sportsmen organizations to provide a unified voice in opposing HB 1674 and SB 1839.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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