Catoosa WMA Closure News Goes Worldwide
by Richard Simms
posted August 3, 2011
Photo by TWRA
This is one 10-inch spike a TWRA spokesperson said they found buried on a road on the Catoosa WMA.
The announced closure of the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area
by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has made news nationwide, and based on web-readership, probably worldwide. A Google news search reveals the Associated Press version of the story has been picked up by at least 141 news outlets including the Washington Post, Seattle Post and Forbes Magazine.
Tuesday the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced that the 80,000 acre Catoosa WMA would be closed to all public access following evidence of sabotage. They say someone is burying spikes and nails in Catoosa roads. To date 13 tires have been damaged on TWRA trucks, four tractor tires flattened and one visitor to the area suffered two flat tires.
TWRA officials believe that someone who is upset about the new hog hunting regulations and Catoosa hog eradication policy is responsible for the sabotage. They're offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect or suspects.
Meanwhile Catoosa will be closed to the public effective Aug. 8 as TWRA tries to find and remove any other spikes, nails or other sabotage.
One hog hunter from Cumberland County wrote Chattanoogan.com, upset that TWRA was laying the blame at the feet of hog hunters.
He writes, "What proof if any has been provided that Hog hunters did any of this on Catoosa Wildlife Management Area? The people that did this are low lifes but Don't call them Hog Hunters. I'm a Hog Hunter in Cumberland county and don't like getting this blamed on me. I didn't have anything to do with this and none of my hunting partners did ether. We've scheduled a meeting with TWRA on Aug 12th in Crossville. There will be a lot of Houndsman there to voice there concerns including several Bear clubs from the Tellico area. Hunting with Hounds has been a long standing tradition in Tennessee especially Eastern Tennessee and we are getting our traditions yanked out from under us."