Bear sightings are becoming increasingly common.

Well before the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency issued an advisory about bears moving into Middle Tennessee, a Lebanon family had already spotted two.

William Vanatta, 14, said his family was driving along the Carthage Highway in early January when a sow and a cub were spotted in a field. He said the sow stood up on her hind legs as car passed by.

He said the TWRA was notified about the sighting.

If a bear is sighted, the Agency says to keep away from it and contact local authorities. Black bears rarely harm humans, but are unpredictable, especially when cubs or food are involved.

Bears are protected except during hunting season in a few East Tennessee counties, and it is illegal to harm one.

Deer disease decimates herds: North Dakota is refunding 9,000 deer hunters the cost of hunting permits in certain parts of the state because a disease has decimated the herds.

The disease is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). It periodically occurs in nature, and is not related to Chronic Wasting Disease that is causing concern in many states, including parts of West Tennessee.

EHD is spread by gnats during hot, dry weather. It eventually runs its course, and the deer population recovers.

CWD, on the other hand, is highly contagious and always fatal. There is no known cure.

EHD flared in some Tennessee counties several years ago, most notably Hickman, and took a heavy toll on deer in those areas. EHD-infected deer seek water, and their carcass are often found around ponds and lakes. Anyone finding dead deer is urged to contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Tree grants: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is offering tree-planting grants to schools, civic groups and other organizations.

To apply for one of the $500 grants call (615) 781-6577 or email  The deadline for applying is Nov. 30.

Muzzleloader workshop: The TWRA’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program will hold a muzzleloader hunting workshop Nov. 13-15 in Humphreys County.

It is open to females 18 and over, offering instruction on muzzleloader shooting and deer hunting. Two deer hunts will be included.

Living quarters meals are furnished. Participants must provide their own gun and gear and have the proper license, which requires completion of the Hunter Education class.

Registration deadline is Nov. 2. For details visit or contact BOW director Don Hoss at

Deer check-in change: With deer season underway, hunters are reminded of the TWRA’s new “Tag Before You Drag” rule.

Before a deer is transported from the field it must be checked in on a mobile ap or have a paper “kill tag” attached.

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