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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 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.


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 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.


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 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 www.tnwildlife.org.
 


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 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 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 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.

_______________________

ON-LINE HARVEST INSTRUCTIONS

    The 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.

    In most 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 websites.

1)  Select "Tools"

2)   Select "Internet Options"

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)

    Sportsmen 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 check station.



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.

 

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