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By Steve McCadams

Tennessee’s deer season ended last Sunday when the last of two special youth hunts saw the curtain fall. Overall it was a pretty successful season for local hunters and those statewide as well.

Unofficial total from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stood at 157,227 for the year. Locally, hunters in Henry County checked in 3,823 since the archery season opened back on the fourth Saturday in September.

Henry County’s total ranked third in the statewide harvest among the state’s ninety-five counties.

Top county for the year in Tennessee was Fayette where hunters harvested 4,233 deer. Second place went to Giles County as hunters there checked in 3,925.

One of the highlights of the season was a buck harvested in Sumner County during the a muzzleloader season, has completed a step toward becoming a world record for a non-typical deer rack.

Boone and Crockett officials spent several hours on January 9 scoring the 47-point buck tabbed the “Tennessee Tucker Buck” as the Nashville headquarters of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The buck was harvested by 26-year old Gallatin resident Stephen Tucker.

The deer rack scored 312 3/8 in the Boone and Crockett tabulation. The tabulation was held after 60 days had passed since the original “wet” score indicated that the buck was a potential world record. As it stands, the score will break previous mark of 307 5/8.

Here’s hoping you had a good season even if you didn’t take a trophy buck!


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.


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.)

*Cleaned teeth.

*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.


    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 having.

    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.


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.


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 and soybeans.

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.



     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

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.


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


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.


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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