The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) voted down a proposal Thursday that would have allowed hunters to take coyotes at night.
The measure may have passed if all members were present to vote, but commissioner Jim Stroud did not attend the meeting and the vote ended in a six-to-six tie.
A majority is needed to carry a proposal so that it’s included in the new hunting regulations that are good for the next two years.
TFWC Vice Chairman Jim Ripley introduced the proposal that would have allowed hunters to take coyotes using .22 rimfire rifles or shotguns loaded with number four buckshot (or smaller) at night on private land only. Hunters would need written permission from landowners and would not be allowed to use spotlights.
However, night vision optics and scopes would be permitted.
“The practice is allowed in numerous other states, including Georgia,” Ripley said, according to NewsChannel9, “I believe it’s time for us as an Agency to say, ‘Let’s not hide our head in the sand. Let’s embrace this, let’s create new opportunity. Let’s bring people into our sport who might not otherwise come in.”
Opponents raised safety concerns over night hunting and argued that current law already allows landowners to kill predators causing depredation without restrictions.
One commenter on Youtube (see video above of the full meeting) argued that concerns over the dangers of night hunting were overblown.
“FYI: hunting accidents happen in the daytime,” wrote a Youtube community member with the handle Autobody Tech. “With your logic, we should cancel hunting all together [sic]. It’s all about firearm safety and using the proper equipment. I wish all of these folks would educate themselves with the technology and the facts before making any decisions for everyone else.”
Commissioners voting “for” the proposal included:
- Jim Ripley
- Tony Sanders
- Kent Woods
- Dennis Gardner
- Tommy Woods
- Hank Wright
Those voting “Against” included:
- Connie King
- Angie Box
- Jimmy Granbery
- Brian McLarren
- Steve Jones
- Kurt Holbert
As mentioned, TFWC may revisit the proposal in the coming years. But it looks like for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, there will be no coyote hunting at night.