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TN 2016-17 DEER SEASON
DEER HARVEST UPDATE
Tennessee deer hunters were right on the threshold of harvesting 100,000
deer at midweek since season opened. Total harvest numbers actually stood
at 98,322 at midweek but will likely cross the threshold by this weekend.
Henry County hunters have checked in 2,245 thus far and the number grows
daily. A spot check of surrounding counties shows Benton with 1,225,
Carroll 1,896, Stewart 1,934 and Weakley 1,722.
Deer season in Until L, which is all of West Tennessee and a portion of
middle, will run through January 8. For private land a doe hunt extends
through January 9.
DEER CHECK-IN OPTIONS
Sportsmen are reminded of various methods to check in their harvests.
Most deer are checked in on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s
website. Many sportsmen have smartphones/web access. For those sportsmen
who do not have web/smartphone access, the TWRA suggests you consider
using a friend’s phone or computer to check in your harvest on the TWRA
website or by the TWRA mobile application.
If this is not possible, you can physically check in your harvest at a
check station. Please note that due to a vendor change, there is about a
20 percent decrease in the number of check in stations across the state.
An updated check-in station list is available on the TWRA website under
the For Hunters section.
All deer harvests must be checked in by the end of the calendar day.
Evidence of the animal’s sex and antlered status must remain with the
animal while afield and checked in.
CWD CONCERNS AGENCY
In an effort to keep chronic wasting disease (CWD) out of Tennessee, the
state’s wildlife agency is reminding hunters who travel beyond state lines
that they must be mindful of import restrictions before they return home.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is concerned about hunters who
pursue big game in the cervid family, which includes white-tailed deer,
elk, and moose.
Because chronic wasting disease is contagious and deadly to deer, the
agency is urging sportsmen to read this year’s Tennessee Hunting &
Trapping Guide for instructions on properly preparing game for transport.
Import restrictions apply to most U.S. states and all Canadian provinces
where chronic wasting disease has been discovered.
“This includes Arkansas and Missouri, which border Tennessee,” noted Col.
Darren Rider of the TWRA Law Enforcement Division. “If someone comes back
into the state without following the restrictions we would have to
confiscate their prized deer, elk, or moose, which is something we
definitely do not want to do.”
Virginia has also reported CWD, but because the positive counties are more
than 150 miles from Tennessee, hunters outside of Frederick and Shenandoah
counties are not bound by this year’s restrictions.
“The import restriction will go into effect for all of Virginia beginning
next spring,” said Col. Rider.
While Tennessee’s import restrictions do not halt the transport of legally
taken deer, elk, or moose, they do require carcasses be cleaned and
dressed beyond what is typically done by most hunters.
The following can be imported into Tennessee from CWD positive areas:
*Meat that has bones removed.
*Antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates, and cleaned skulls
(where no meat or tissues are attached to the skull.)
*Finished taxidermy, hides, and tanned products.
More information about CWD, including many of the states and provinces
where CWD has been reported, can also be found on TWRA’s website homepage
under “Hot Topics.”
Hunters should inquire with wildlife agencies prior to their out-of-state
trip if CWD has been identified in local cervid populations.
DAY ARRIVES FOR DEER HUNTERS
It’s the fourth Saturday in November, the one before Thanksgiving
that opens the regular gun season for deer hunters across Tennessee.
Florescent orange will be the official color this weekend for the army
of deer hunters who will rise early and climb into a chilly deer stand.
It’s going to be a dramatic weather change compared to what we’ve been
Although bow season has been open since late September and muzzleloader
has a couple of weeks under its belt the traditional opener of regular
gun season is still special. It’s probably the most popular day of the
entire deer season.
Meanwhile, some nice bucks have been taken recently here in Henry
County. Hunters a few weeks ago were seeing bucks in hot pursuit of does
so the warm weather hasn’t diminished the rut timing in the opinion of
most veteran deer hunters.
MUZZLELOADER SEASON KICKS OFF
Tennessee’s popular muzzleloader deer season opens Saturday across the
Volunteer State. Each year the muzzleloader segment opens for some 13
days prior to the opening of the regular gun season, which this year
arrives on November 19.
Last weekend was the first of two special Youth Deer Hunts for
youngsters age 6-16 years of age but the opening of the muzzleloader
season will be the first time adult hunters will have entered the woods
with their black powder smoke poles.
Archery season has been going for quite some time but once the gun
seasons enter the picture the deer harvest numbers here in Henry County
and all across the state really start to increase.
Most deer hunters were hoping for cooler weather once muzzleloader
season opened. Unseasonably warm temperatures have dominated the last
two weeks and really throughout most of the fall. A slight cool down is
expected but nothing drastic.
FIRST OF TWO YOUTH DEER HUNTS ARRIVE
Each year Tennessee offers two youth deer hunts exclusively for youngsters
who fall into the age bracket 6-16 years of age.
The first one arrives this weekend across the Volunteer State. It’s a two
day hunt that is quite popular among the ranks of future sportsmen.
For many it will be their first time in a deer stand. Although they’ve
taken and passed a hunter safety course, it will be a learning curve under
the watchful eye of a dad or grandfather, uncle or aunt or perhaps a
friend of the family who pitched in and donated time and efforts to help
get a young boy or girl started on the right foot.
The youngsters must be accompanied by a nonhunting adult 21 years of age
or older who must be in a position to take control of the situation should
they be needed.
After the Saturday morning start youngsters are invited to attend Jakes
Day at Holley Fork Shooting Complex here in Henry County where a fun
filled morning of activities await them.
Meanwhile, the adults are about as excited as the young hunters at times.
Many hope the weather stays nice as the Maiden Voyage for most youngsters
doesn’t necessarily need to start out on a bitter cold morning.
Weather for this weekend appears to be quite mild as temps are forecast to
be above average. So, it should be a pretty good start to the deer season
for all involved.
The same might not hold true for the second Youth Hunt slated for January
14-15. After the regular season draws to a close the youngsters get
another crack at it during mid-January when the woods and fields belong
only to them for the final two days of deer hunting.
During mid-January the odds favor much colder temperatures and inclimate
weather so the opening weekend here in late fall is usually the most
popular one of the two special hunts.
Locally a lot of deer have been on the move in the early morning and late
afternoon hours. Dry conditions have lingered throughout the fall and that
has allow most farmers to hit the fields and advance their harvest of corn
Archery hunters have been in the woods and field parameters for several
weeks. Statewide Tennessee hunters have checked in 13,925 since season
opened back on the last Saturday in September.
Henry County hunters have checked in 228 thus far. Across the region
Stewart County hunters have checked in 292, followed by Benton with 135,
Weakley with 131 and Carroll with a total of 127.
Sullivan County leads the state as to the total harvest. Hunters there
have checked in 345 thus far.
Here’s hoping the youngster have a great opening weekend. Sharing the
outing with a friend or family member is even more special and bagging a
deer can be just a bonus to the trip sometimes.
ARCHERY OPENER HAS NEW REGULATIONS
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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