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TN 2017-18 DEER SEASON
BOW SEASON RETURNS…DEER HUNTERS READY FOR NEW YEAR
By Steve McCadams
The fourth Saturday in September in the traditional opening day for deer
season in Tennessee. Each year the archery season kicks off the state’s
deer season, which offers several different segments for bow hunters,
regular gun and blackpowder style hunters.
Looks like it’s going to be a warm one too! Like anglers the legion of bow
hunters heading to the woods and climbing a tree into their deer stand
wishes temps were a bit cooler.
A cool brisk morning just sort of improves the overall atmosphere. Makes
it feel more like hunting season. A hot a humid outing just takes
something out of the pizzazz of the moment.
Hunters had rather be sporting a light jacket and zipping it up to the
collar than swatting mosquitos or dodging gnats.
Those fortunate enough to harvest a deer best get it to a processor and
cooling chamber pretty quick too. In this weather deer meat could spoil
The 2017 deer archery-only hunting season opens statewide in Tennessee on
Saturday. The archery season dates in all five of the state’s deer hunting
units are the same. The dates are Sept. 23-Oct. 27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3.
Tennessee is divided into five deer units for better management, A, B, C,
D, and L. The antlerless deer bag limits are four in Units A-D management
areas and three per day in Unit L areas. The antlered deer bag limit is a
total of two for the entire deer season.
In addition to deer, archers may harvest wild turkeys of either sex during
the archery-only deer season in counties that have a fall turkey hunt.
Turkeys harvested during the archery-only deer season count toward the
fall turkey county bag limits.
For details on the various segments of deer season and specific rules log
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.
HENRY COUNTY THIRD STATEWIDE IN DEER HARVEST 2016 - 2017
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
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!
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