Hunters react after deer hunt killed by shutdown

(WBIR-Oak Ridge) East Tennessee hunters are the latest impacted by the government shutdown. A popular deer hunt in Oak Ridge, expected to happen in just over a week, is now cancelled because it takes place on federal property.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Operations informed the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) that the deer hunts on Oct. 19-20 have been cancelled at the Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area.

In a press release, DOE said the cancellation is "a result of an effort to initiate an orderly shutdown in support of obtaining a safe and secure status."

TWRA Public Information Officer Dan Hicks said they usually have officers working in conjunction with DOE for the hunts, but that DOE could not staff security this time because of the government shutdown.

Hicks said 1,125 hunters will be affected.

"This weekend hunters were going to be able to go out and scout the area. So it's important we let them know the hunt is cancelled and the gates will be closed and they won't be able to go out there and ride around and choose their area," Hicks said.

This is the second consecutive year it's been cancelled. Last year, DOE kept it closed while reviewing security procedures after protesters trespassed on Y-12 National Security Complex property.

Some hunters have been affected both times, such as Todd Smith's friend.

"He took vacation time off just for the hunt because he works out of town. So he's going to be disappointed," Smith said.

Hunters use Adams Taxidermy in Claxton to get their deer processed and mounted. Owner J.O. Adams estimates he will miss out on processing at least 50 deer next weekend.

"That's going to hurt our business. It's just one of those things you don't need. Every crucial hunt like this is crucial to your business and it just has an impact on you financially," Adams said.

According to Hicks, the hunt is made to control the deer population after several car vs. deer collisions.

TWRA will re-evaluate things if the government is still shut down during November and December hunts.

"We can adjust the amount of quota hunters we have in there and hopefully we can do the November, December hunt. But it's going to be a different management style next year if all of the hunts this year are taken out," Hicks said.

Hunters who would have scouted the area this Saturday can stop by the check station. A TWRA officer will be there from 7 a.m. to noon, answering any questions.

State Wildlife Management areas are not affected by the shutdown.


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