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TN 2014-15 DEER SEASON
BIGGER DEER BEING TAKEN
American deer hunters are killing the highest-ever percentage of bucks age
3˝ 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 3˝ 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 (1˝ 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
DEER SEASON WINDS DOWN
By Steve McCadams
It began way back on the fourth Saturday in September when warm
temperatures were keeping a lot of hunters out of the woods. Foliage was
thick. Seed ticks were still out and it was just too hot for some to climb
up in a stand.
A lot of hunters wait on a cool snap when the archery season first opens
as they just don’t want to worry about getting an animal to a cooler or
processor before the meat spoils.
The first youth hunt of the season was held Oct. 25-26 and the young
hunters had a harvest of 5,663. The gun season for deer for everyone
across the state began November 22. Muzzleloaders had a segment to all
their own from November 8 -21 so pretty much everyone in deer world has
had ample opportunities across the Volunteer State.
Tennessee’s deer season looks to have been a pretty good one across the
state as figures showed hunters checked in a total of 164,650 this year.
The last weekend’s special Young Sportsman’s Deer Hunt for youngsters ages
6-16 years of age ended on a decent note and that brought the official end
to deer season that started way back on the fourth Saturday in September
when archery kicked it off.
Henry County deer hunters fared well again this year. Harvest figures
showed Henry ranked third among the state’s 95 counties as hunters checked
in 4,444 deer.
Giles County took the top spot this year with a total of 5,239.
REGULAR GUN STILL BIG DAY FOR DEER HUNTERS
It was referred to for years as the official opening day of the deer
season. Even though archery season opened much earlier folks just referred
to the first day of gun season as “opening day”.
Things have changed since over the years as the deer population exploded.
Season dates and bag limits are more liberal than yesteryear.
Since the fourth Saturday in September, which is the traditional opener
for archery season, deer hunters have had a lot of days in the woods. Not
only have bow hunters had a wide window of opportunity but by the time the
regular gun season opens Saturday deer hunters of all ages have had an
opportunity to hunt with either a bow, regular gun or muzzleloader.
The special youth hunt back in late October allowed youngsters a weekend
of their own to hunt with regular gun. And, the big guys have been in the
woods with muzzleloaders for almost two weeks so they too have hunt
opportunities with guns.
So, by the time the regular gun season opens on its traditional fourth
Saturday in November most hunters have already been in the woods and
fields. That takes a little cream off the top of the regular gun season
opener compared to times past but it’s still a big day for deer hunters
Some hunters have been passing up smaller deer and waiting for that bigger
buck. And, it appears that atmosphere has spread among the ranks of Henry
County deer hunters as most feel bigger deer are being seen and taken as a
“There have been some very nice bucks taken so far this year! Just not by
me,” said veteran hunter Keith Hickman. “I definitely think the cold temps
kicked in the rut; I personally think it might be a week or so early. Just
my observations.” “I’ve seen more deer this year than in the past but I
attribute that to the cold temps keeping the deer on their feet and
With the rut now in progress hunters are hoping that big buck will be
careless and show himself more often in the pursuit of does.
“I believe the rut will be in full swing next week,” said Henry County
Wildlife Officer Clay Riley. “Some bucks have been chasing does for the
past couple of weeks but the rut should peak the week of Thanksgiving. The
extra heavy acorn crop has kept the does in the woods and they seem
scarce. They should begin to move more if we get some rain to sour the
acorns on the ground.”
For the fourth year, sportsmen will find one continuous season that will
continue through Jan. 4, 2015. The continuous season replaced the
previously two segmented hunting seasons that were in place prior to 2011.
Archery and muzzleloader equipment are legal during gun season.
TWRA personnel will be collecting data at selected check-in stations
across the state on opening day. Antlered bucks will be measured and aged
for management purposes. The second Young Sportsman Hunt will be held the
weekend of Jan. 10-11, 2015.
Updated harvest figures at midweek showed hunters had checked in 66,046
statewide. Montgomery County was leading among the state’s 95 counties
with a total of 1,760.
Locally, Henry County was in the top five ranking with 1,488. Neighboring
Stewart County had a total of 1,595.
Here’s hoping you have a good weekend in the woods.