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TN 2016-17 DEER SEASON

 

ARCHERY OPENER HAS NEW REGULATIONS

By Steve McCadams

     It’s the fourth Saturday in September and that’s the traditional start for deer hunters throughout Tennessee.

    Most everyone was hoping for cooler weather to kickstart the season and perhaps stimulate more movement. They won’t get their wish for this year’s opener.

    Practically everyone from bow hunters to anglers have been wishing for a weather change. Seems the whole region has been under a blanket of hot and humid weather where daytime temperatures have been running some 6 to 10 degrees above average.

    Fall officially arrived Thursday but someone forgot to tell that to the thermometer. These 90-degree plus days have been consecutive far too long.

    Here it is the third week of September and not only are the days hot but the nights haven’t cooled off either. Sooner or later a cool spell will arrive but it’s long overdue now that summer is gone and fall has descended.

    Meanwhile, deer hunters ready to pull a string are reminded of changes made for the 2016-17 deer hunting seasons in Tennessee in regard to the definition of antlered deer. An antlered deer is now defined as any male or female deer with an antler protruding above its hairline.

    An antlerless deer is now defined as any deer with no antler protruding above its hairline. The new definition was established by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its season-setting meeting this past May. The definition is also listed with photo examples on page 23 of the 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide as produced by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

    Male fawns with no antler protruding above the hairline do not count toward a hunter’s antlered bag limit, rather toward the hunter’s antlerless bag limits. Deer having already shed their antlers and does without antlers are also considered antlerless. Male fawns with an antler protruding above the hairline do count toward a hunter’s antlered bag limit, since the deer does have antler(s) as opposed to hair covered pedicles (i.e., antler attachment point to the skull). Velvet antlered deer are also considered antlered.

     The statewide archery season for deer is Sept. 24-Oct. 28. The first of two Young Sportsman hunts is Oct. 29-30. Archery season resumes Oct. 31-Nov. 4. Archery/muzzleloader season is Nov. 5-18.

          Gun/muzzleloader/archery season has the traditional opening date of the Saturday before Thanksgiving which this year is Nov. 19. The season runs through Jan. 8, 2017. An antlerless hunt on private lands is Jan. 9-13 in Unit L counties only while the final Young Sportsman hunt is Jan. 14-15. Anterless bag limits in archery season are three per day in Unit L while Unit A, B, C, and D have a bag limit of four. The antlered bag limit is two for the license year.

     Hunters can refer to the 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at all TWRA offices. The guide can also be viewed at TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.


DEER HARVEST 2015 - 2016

According to figures from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency the statewide deer harvest stands at 167,240 for the 2015-2016 season total.

Henry County deer hunters had another good year and were leading the state’s 95 counties for a few weeks in the latter part of the season but lost the top spot ranking to Giles County by only 116. Hunters in Henry County checked in 4,616 but Giles was tops with 4,732.

Neighboring counties had the following totals for the year: Benton 2,228; Carroll 3,334; Stewart 3,043; Weakley 2,956.


YOUTH DEER HUNT ESCORTS END OF SEASON


For the Young Sportsman Hunt, youth, 6-16 years of age are allowed to participate. The young sportsmen must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age who must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device.

The accompanying adult must comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youth may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.

The first youth hunt of the season was held Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and the young hunters had a harvest of 5,846 and increase from 5,663 the previous year. Last January’s final youth hunt netted a harvest of 2,001.


GUN DEER SEASON OPENS…FOURTH SATURDAY IN NOVEMBER IS A TRADITION


It’s billed as the opener of gun deer season in Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency literature. Yet a big number of deer hunters across the Volunteer State have already been in the woods and fields for quite some time with a muzzleloader or bow.

Tennessee’s long-standing annual outdoors traditions begins with the opening of the 2015-16 gun hunting season for deer. Deer gun season has the permanent opening date of the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.

The biggest change for hunters in 2015-16 is the statewide bag limit for antlered deer is now two. The number includes those taken during the archery only, muzzleloader, and gun seasons.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency divides the state into three deer hunting units, A, B and & L. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day toward the bag limit.

For antlerless deer hunting in Units A and B during this season, refer to the list of hunts on page 26 of TWRA’s 2015-16. The bag limit for antlerless deer in Unit L is three per day. An antlerless deer is defined as those deer with no antlers or deer with both antlers less than three inches in length.

A Type 94 permit is required to harvest antlerless deer during this season on all non-quota hunts in Units A, B, & L, except for holders of an Annual Sportsman, Lifetime Sportsman, Senior Citizen License Type 167 Permit, or landowners hunting under the landowner exemption. A Type 94 permit is required for all ages.

TWRA personnel will be collecting data at selected check-in stations and deer processors across the state on opening day. Antlered bucks will be measured and aged for management purposes.

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License (along with other required licenses) while hunting any species in Tennessee.

For more information about Tennessee’s 2015-16 deer hunting seasons, refer to the 2015-16 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents or log onto the agency’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.



NATIONAL HUNT/FISH DAY

Over 100 years ago, hunters and anglers were the earliest and most vocal supporters of conservation and scientific wildlife management. They were the first to recognize that rapid development and unregulated uses of wildlife were threatening the future of many species.

Led by fellow sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, these early conservationists called for the first laws restricting the commercial slaughter of wildlife. They urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses, and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies. These actions were the foundation of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time.

Populations of white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, wood ducks and many other species began to recover from decades of unregulated exploitation.

During the next half-century, in addition to the funds they contributed for conservation and their diligent watch over the returning health of America’s outdoors, sportsmen worked countless hours to protect and improve millions of acres of vital habitat—lands and waters for the use and enjoyment of everyone.

In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era's heightened environmental awareness but were discouraged that many people didn't understand the crucial role that sportsmen had played-and continue to play-in the conservation movement.

On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations."

By late summer, all 50 governors and over 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The response was dramatic.

National, regional, state and local organizations staged some 3,000 "open house" hunting- and fishing-related events everywhere from shooting ranges to suburban frog ponds, providing an estimated four million Americans with a chance to experience, understand and appreciate traditional outdoor sports.

Over the years, National Hunting and Fishing Day boasted many more public relations successes, assisted by celebrities who volunteered to help spotlight the conservation accomplishments of sportsmen and women. Honorary chairs have included George Bush, Tom Seaver, Hank Williams Jr., Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Louise Mandrell, Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Jeff Foxworthy and many other sports and entertainment figures.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of every September, remains the most effective grassroots efforts ever undertaken to promote the outdoor sports and conservation.


BIGGER DEER BEING TAKEN

American deer hunters are killing the highest-ever percentage of bucks age 3½ and older, according to data gathered by the Quality Deer Management Association for its 2015 Whitetail Report.

In the 2013-14 season, the most recent season with compete deer harvest data available from all states, 34 percent of bucks harvested in the states that collect buck age data were 3½ or older. That statistic is up from 32 percent the season before, and significantly up from a decade before in the 2003-04 season, when only 23 percent of the national buck harvest was mature. These gains have been made while the percentage of yearling bucks (1½ years old) in the harvest has steadily declined, reaching a record-low of 36 percent.

"This is a testament to how far we've come as hunters in the past decade," said Kip Adams, QDMA's Director of Education & Outreach, who compiles the annual Whitetail Report. "More hunters are choosing to protect yearling bucks, and they are being rewarded by seeing and killing more of them as mature animals."
 

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