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TN DEER SEASON 2016-17
DEER HARVEST UPDATE
By Steve McCadams
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
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.
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
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
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
HENRY SECOND IN STATEWIDE DEER HARVEST 2015-2016
The Volunteer State’s deer season came to an end last Sunday with the
culmination of the final weekend youth deer hunt where kids ages 6-16
had the last shot.
According to unofficial 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 here
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.
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 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.
ON-LINE HARVEST INSTRUCTIONS
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides several methods for hunters
to report their big game harvests. Recently some hunters have reported
problems when using their personal computer to report a harvest. TWRA is
offering the following instructions for those persons experiencing
time-out issues when accessing the TWRA’s online harvest reporting system.
cases, the issues are connected to the internet browser on your computer
and can be resolved by following the steps below. (The specific
instructions are based on Internet Explorer because it is the State of
Tennessee standard). However, if a different browser is utilized such as
Firefox or Chrome, the persons will need to accomplish the same task, but
will need to refer to specific instructions posted on those manufacturer
3) Delete all
cookies and temporary internet files
4) Open a new
browser tab and manually type in GOTWRA.ORG (do not use the saved link
from a previous session)
are reminded that big game harvests can also be checked in on the TWRA
mobile app from a smart phone or tablet and in person at a traditional
Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing
area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to
various national publications.