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TN 2014-15 DEER SEASON


DEER HARVEST UPDATE

Deer hunters continue to prosper as the statewide total at midweek stood at 113,720, which is up significantly from last week. Henry County continues to hold on to second place in the statewide standings as hunters have checked in 2,919. Giles is still the leader at 3,202.

Henry County hunters continue to check in some pretty hefty bucks. Most local hunters agree the bucks have been hefty this year in both weight and rack display.

Meanwhile, TWRA released additional harvest data this week: There were 12,737 deer harvested the opening weekend as numbers continue to trickle in to the agency. There were 16,097 harvested over the opening weekend in 2013.

“There is no reason to believe that when the season comes to an end, the harvest figures will be consistent with the harvest range we have had recently,” said Chuck Yoest, TWRA Deer Program Coordinator. “The weather certainly was a factor this year for the opening weekend.”

More than 168,000 deer were harvested in Tennessee during all the 2013-14 seasons. The 2012-13 total was more than 176,600 while the 2011-12 total was slightly less than 168,000.

During the 2014 muzzleloader/archery season from Nov. 9-22, there was a harvest of 44,897. The figure is an increase from the 40,201 harvested during the 2013 muzzleloader season.

The gun season for deer will continue through Jan. 4, 2015. Archery and muzzleloader equipment are legal during gun season. The second Young Sportsman Hunt will be held the weekend of Jan. 10-11, 2015.


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 across Tennessee.

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 result.

“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 moving!”

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.

Steve McCadams
 

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