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By Steve McCadams

Tennessee’s deer season looks to have been a pretty good one across the state as unofficial figures this week showed hunters checked in a total of 164,650 this year.

Last weekend’s second special Young Sportsman’s Deer Hunt for youngsters ages 6-16 years of age ended on a decent note and that brought the official end to deer season that started way back on the fourth Saturday in September when archery kicked it off.

Henry County deer hunters fared well again this year. Harvest figures showed Henry ranked third among the state’s 95 counties as hunters here checked in 4,444 deer.

Giles County took the top spot this year with a total of 5,239.


    It was referred to for years as the official opening day of the deer season. Even though archery season opened much earlier folks just referred to the first day of gun season as “opening day”.

    Things have changed since over the years as the deer population exploded. Season dates and bag limits are more liberal than yesteryear.

    Since the fourth Saturday in September, which is the traditional opener for archery season, deer hunters have had a lot of days in the woods. Not only have bow hunters had a wide window of opportunity but by the time the regular gun season opens Saturday deer hunters of all ages have had an opportunity to hunt with either a bow, regular gun or muzzleloader.

    The special youth hunt back in late October allowed youngsters a weekend of their own to hunt with regular gun. And, the big guys have been in the woods with muzzleloaders for almost two weeks so they too have hunt opportunities with guns.

    So, by the time the regular gun season opens on its traditional fourth Saturday in November most hunters have already been in the woods and fields. That takes a little cream off the top of the regular gun season opener compared to times past but it’s still a big day for deer hunters across Tennessee.

    Some hunters have been passing up smaller deer and waiting for that bigger buck. And, it appears that atmosphere has spread among the ranks of Henry County deer hunters as most feel bigger deer are being seen and taken as a result.

   “There have been some very nice bucks taken so far this year! Just not by me,” said veteran hunter Keith Hickman. “I definitely think the cold temps kicked in the rut; I personally think it might be a week or so early.  Just my observations.”     “I’ve seen more deer this year than in the past but I attribute that to the cold temps keeping the deer on their feet and moving!”

    With the rut now in progress hunters are hoping that big buck will be careless and show himself more often in the pursuit of does.

    “I believe the rut will be in full swing next week,” said Henry County Wildlife Officer Clay Riley. “Some bucks have been chasing does for the past couple of weeks but the rut should peak the week of Thanksgiving. The extra heavy acorn crop has kept the does in the woods and they seem scarce. They should begin to move more if we get some rain to sour the acorns on the ground.”

     For the fourth year, sportsmen will find one continuous season that will continue through Jan. 4, 2015. The continuous season replaced the previously two segmented hunting seasons that were in place prior to 2011. Archery and muzzleloader equipment are legal during gun season.

    TWRA personnel will be collecting data at selected check-in stations across the state on opening day. Antlered bucks will be measured and aged for management purposes. The second Young Sportsman Hunt will be held the weekend of Jan. 10-11, 2015.

    Updated harvest figures at midweek showed hunters had checked in 66,046 statewide. Montgomery County was leading among the state’s 95 counties with a total of 1,760.

    Locally, Henry County was in the top five ranking with 1,488. Neighboring Stewart County had a total of 1,595.

    Here’s hoping you have a good weekend in the woods.


For a lot of deer hunters the opening day of the muzzleloader season is the official start of their long awaited Tennessee season. Although archery season has been underway since late September and the regular gun season doesn’t open until the fourth Saturday in November each year, it’s muzzleloader’s opener that really brings on the fever.

Muzzleloader hunters will have a two week segment that runs through November 21. Actually the season segment is also shared with archery hunters as bow season is also open the entire time.

Once the muzzleloader segment ends November 21 hunters can still take to the woods all the way through January 4, 2015. These next two weeks allow both bow and muzzleloader hunters in the woods but regular gun doesn’t open until November 22.

Once regular gun opens deer hunters can choose any of the three types they’d like all the way to the end of season.

Looks like a pretty good weekend of weather ahead. Chilly conditions will greet hunters this weekend as they climb up in their stands but it appears no rain will dampen their spirits.

Things are looking pretty good and the rut is fast approaching. Harvest numbers across the area are decent and most counties will see a significant jump after the opening weekend of muzzleloader season.

Across the state hunters had checked in 24,670 at midweek. Locally, Henry County hunters had tallied 485. A spot check of neighboring counties showed Stewart leading the region with 579. Benton County hunters have checked in 262 and Carroll stands at 305. Weakley had a total of 351.

The unique sound of that “pop” from a muzzleloader will fill the woods and fields this weekend as thousands of hunters open their season with the black powder rifles. Maybe they ought to call it “Black Saturday”!


The Henry County Sheriff’s Office will begin accepting harvested deer for their “Deputies for the Hungry” deer processing program starting Saturday, November 8th and will run through the months of November and December. Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 8am-6pm are the only days deer will be accepted.

The entire deer must be donated and the deer must be field dressed. Drop off will be at the Sheriff’s Office at 210 Forrest Heights Rd – Paris. Sheriff Belew would like to accept as many deer as possible to provide meat to people in need in January and February. Those dates and times will be announced later.



The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking volunteers willing to provide biological information from white-tailed deer harvested during the 2014-15 seasons.

Deer hunting clubs harvesting more than ten deer a year are encouraged to participate. A representative of a qualifying hunt club interested in participating is encouraged to send an email expressing such interest to by Friday, Nov. 7. In response, the TWRA will send more information on how to participate.

For more information, contact Stacy Saxton in the TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division at (615) 781-5262


    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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