Tennessee Deer News

National Park reminds visitors how to safely view wildlife April 14, 2014 Tennessee, Knoxville Daily Sun 
... Elk can frequently be seen grazing in the fields in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just outside the entrance to Cherokee, NC. Deer are predominantly found in Cades Cove ...

... Lorane McCarty, of Powell, Tenn., has felt the same pain. Two summers ago, she and her husband adopted a fawn that was injured and appeared motherless.... But the wildlife agents came for Buddy, too... "They just took him straight out and killed him," ...

... “Some have municipal hunting, some have municipal contraception of deer and some choose to coexist with deer ... We really want to open discussion with TWRA about what, if anything, can be done....There are those who want to leave the deer alone, ” ... 

Tennessee Deer Talk: Grand Lodge March 11, 2014 Tndeer.Com
     The recreational value of a game animal is inverse to the artificiality of its origin and the intensiveness of the management system that produced it.

Hendersonville, Deer population spurs Hendersonville to seek out solutions March 3, 2014 Tennessee, The Tennessean 
...  The committee would meet for a year and present its plan to the city’s Public Safety and General Committees no later than June 30...  Some of those solutions include giving advice on ways to protect gardens or plants from deer and issuing permits to kill deer during the hunting off-season...

Aerial vertical‐looking infrared imagery to evaluate bias of distance sampling techniques for white‐tailed deer JT Beaver, CA Harper, RE Kissell, LI Muller… - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2014
... Despite its higher cost (US$10,000) over spotlight surveys, we recommend aerial imaging instead of road-based ground surveys for monitoring populations of deer and discourage the continued use of non-random road-based surveys as a method for estimating white-tailed deer populations.

Deer harvest totals more than 168,000 February 25, 2014 Tennessee, Erwin Record
... . Last year’s total was more than 176,600 while the 2011-12 total was slightly less than 168,000, according to the TWRA... 

Outlook bright for deer hunting's future February 7, 2014 Tennessee, The Hartsville Vidette
... WRA big-game coordinator Daryl Ratajczak doesn't expect the state's deer harvest to get much higher in coming years. He believes the overall population has stabilized, although some areas could see periodic rises or declines.  He projects a continued harvest of between 160,000 and 180,000 deer... 

Teatown, Deer cull plan a draconian solution February 5, 2014 Tennessee,  Nashville Tennessean
... This action sets a poor example by a nature “preserve” and is a dangerous precedent for those of us in the area.  I would hope for some community discussion, as this decision is not limited to the borders of Teatown...

...  rangers at the Cumberland Mountain State Park have developed an unofficial mascot, a three-legged deer they lovingly referred to as 'Tripod.' ...  Tripod ended up stranded and sinking between chunks of ice in the middle of frozen Byrd Lake ... a team of about six worked together to reach the doe...

Red deer numbers decline according to TWRA February 1, 2014 Tennessee, Claiborne Progress
... Ever since the red deer found freedom years back, they have inspired love-hate feelings depending on if you are a resident of Claiborne County or a member of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). ...  which is on record of wanting them eradicated ...

Scott County, Hunters on pace for big harvest January 28, 2014 Tennessee, Independent Herald
... In 1957, the first year state wildlife officials recorded a harvest in Scott County, hunters killed 12 deer... topped 100 for the first time in 1973, surging to 165 from 94 in 1972, and topped 200 in 1979, when 216 deer were harvested. By 1983, the total harvest in Scott County had topped 300...  a record harvest in 2001 with 1,446 deer killed...

Deer harvest total is state's fourth-most January 15, 2014 Tennessee, The Tennessean
 ...  the total harvest was 168,407, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.  That was behind the 2006 harvest (182,782), the 2004 harvest (179,542) and the 2012 harvest (168,777)....

... To date, Tennessee deer hunters have taken 165,378 deer. On the same date last season, hunters had taken 175,996... Biologists have said for many years that Tennessee's deer population is basically stable....

Hunters are no threat to albino deer January 7, 2014 Tennessee, Lebanon Democrat
... The albino deer protection bill (TCA 70-4 130) is unique because it is the only specific game-management law ever implemented by the State Legislature. Normally wildlife regulations are determined by the Wildlife Commission, with Legislative oversight....

Deer season closing down January 1, 2014 Tennessee, lohud.com 
... As of Wednesday, TWRA harvest data puts the statewide deer harvest at 155,127 deer, including 76,200 antlered bucks, 7,630 button bucks, 5,940 antlerless bucks and 65,357 does.  That is far below last year’s harvest of 176,956 and the record harvest of 182,782 set in 2006....

... With the onset of healthier fish and wildlife populations, the agency is shifting gears to focus more directly on maintaining the habitats that support those populations.... The full version of the plan [1.1 Mb PDF file] ... To provide comment on the new plan, send an email with "strategic plan" in the subject line. Send by regular mail to Strategic Plan Comments, ATTN: Cindy Pharris, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. The deadline for submitting comments is Jan. 21.

Hunters, beware: Rare albino deer protected by Tennessee law December 23, 2013 Tennessee, Nashville Tennessean 
... In 2001 the Tennessee General Assembly voted to make it illegal to deliberately kill or possess albino deer. It is also illegal to harvest albino deer in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin... The odds of one being born are estimated at 1 in 20,000, according to John Bates, a naturalist who co-authored the book “White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest.”  ...

City limits deer hunting surprises many December 17, 2013 Tennessee,  Courier-Journal
... Three deer carcasses had been discarded near the corner of her home on Briarcliff Road... Her horror didn’t end there. She believed they were deer that she and her neighbor ... had watched grow up in the neighborhood. According to Davis, two of them were does and one was a fawn... It is legal to hunt inside the city limits ...

Deer harvest figures lowest in five years December 7, 2013 Tennessee,  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
... The gun season opened two weeks ago, and hunters have tagged 48,880 deer, including 29,584 bucks, 2,046 button bucks, 2,002 antlerless bucks and 15,248 does. The two-week total is the fourth lowest in the past five years, just slightly higher than 2011 when 47,721 deer were taken...

Owners responsible for deer-killing dogs December 7, 2013 Tennessee, The Hartsville Vidette
... The pack consisted of a giant gray mastiff, a basset hound and another small-sized breed, and two Lab-sized dogs.  The bleating doe was pulling herself along on her forelegs but couldn't escape the pack of dogs clinging to her back and sides and tearing at what was left of her hindquarters... I fired my muzzleloader and they went loping off. I re-loaded and dispatched the crippled deer...

Weather affects outdoor activities, Tennessee Harvest Update November 29, 2013 Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
... Harvest reports released by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency indicate that 15,653 deer were checked in over the opening weekend, including 9,656 antlered deer, 671 button bucks, 672 antlerless bucks and 4,654 does.  The opening weekend harvest was 2,801 less than last year and the third lowest in the past five years...

Deer season's start is quieter November 27, 2013 Tennessee, Nashville Tennessean
... In the past, when the state’s deer population was not as large as it is today, the hunting season was far more conservative.  As the herd has grown, the number of hunting days has steadily increased, and that has taken away the urgency to be in the field at the first opportunity... There are now 102 days to hunt deer in Tennessee...

... On the just-passed opening weekend of Tennessee's regular firearm deer season ... hunters took 15,076 deer across the state, according to the TWRA website... the weekend total is likely to be down from opening weekend 2012, when Tennessee hunters took 18,017 deer... 

Rifle season opens in East TN with new technology November 24, 2013 Tennessee, WBIR-TV
... "A hunter now has a lot more modern conveniences that they can use to check in their game. They can go online and do it from internet connection. Or they can use the new mobile web application the TWRA just launched," said Matt Cameron with TWRA... 

State officials expect good deer harvest November 20, 2013 Tennessee, The Tennessean
... The total number of deer killed (176,961) climbed in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year after Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease ravaged the population in 2007. Last year’s total was an increase of 9,140 over the 2011 harvest of 167,821...

Albino deer visits Williamson family each fall November 18, 2013 Tennessee, The Tennessean
... “He seems to know my family and is unafraid,” Wilson said...

Tennessee's Gun Season For Deer Opens Nov. 23 November 15, 2013 The Chattanoogan
... The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency divides the state into three deer hunting units, A, B and and L. Hunters may harvest one antlered buck per day until the statewide bag limit of three is reached ...

Behavior changes during deer rut November 9, 2013 Tennessee, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
... The pineal gland is a light-sensitive gland at the base of deer’s brain. It serves as a “third eye” that controls their reproductive cycle through a process known as photoperiodism. As days get shorter in the autumn, less light is gathered through the deer’s eyes, and this activates the pineal gland and the rut.  Melatonin, a substance secreted by the pineal gland only at night, influences the release of sex hormones ...

...   statewide surveillance program to monitor Tennessee’s deer and elk populations for the presence of CWD. (Chronic Wasting Disease) ...

Montgomery County bowhunters lead state deer harvest October 26, 2013 Tennessee, TheLeafChronicle
...the statewide harvest for the first segment of the archery-only season (28 days) was 14,761 deer, although the total may be higher as late harvest reports come in. The harvest is the third highest on record for the period, behind 15,287 deer taken in 2010 and 14,991 in 2009.  The current harvest includes 4,546 antlered bucks, 687 button bucks, 403 antlerless bucks and 9,125 does ...

Wildlife Economics in Tennessee October 16, 2013 The Daily Statesman
Larry Woody: Outdoors Notebook
... According to the national report, $2.9 billion was spent last year on wildlife-related recreation in the state... An estimated 375,000 hunters combined for 9.8 million hunting days (each hunt was classified as a separate "hunting day." They spent approximately $494 million on hunting -related activities.  Two million people watched wildlife during that period, spending an estimated $943 million on wildlife viewing and related activities...

... The state is divided into three deer management areas ... Units A and B have more conservative limits because their overall deer density is lower than counties that are in Unit L... The 2012-13 deer season total harvest numbers were 176,952 deer taken, with 88,543 being antlered and 76,640 does. Another 9,042 deer harvested were button bucks and 2,727 were considered antlerless...

Deer become dangerous this time of year October 10, 2013 Tennessee, Lebanon Democrat
... Autumn signals the start of mating season or “the rut” for deer, when bucks chase does with reckless abandon.   The normally-wary animals don’t watch where they’re going as they dart about in a frenzy... If one deer darts across the road, be prepared to stop – chances are one or more will be close behind...

Deer harvest off to a good start October 9, 2013 Tennessee, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
...   harvest data provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency indicates that bowhunters tagged 4,745 deer during the first week of the season. The first week harvest report is slightly below the first week of the 2012 season, when 4,951 deer were checked in ... The best first week in the past five years was 2009, when 4,969 deer were checked in....

The cooler weather and harvest season has deer on the move in Tennessee ...  296 crashes in September 2012, 786 crashes in October 2012 and 1,481 in November 2012... for those deer whistles you've probably heard about, there's no proof they work ... 

Deer Hunting Success Rates October 2, 2013 outdoorlife.com
... The average success rate for whitetail hunters in the U.S. in 2011 was 48 percent. Tennessee hunters took top honors with 83 percent of all hunters taking home venison. Virginia was a close second at 80% ...

Has 'trophy' hunting got out of whack? October 1, 2013 Tennessee, Lebanon Democrat
... To me, defining the success of a hunt by the size of deer’s antlers defies the spirit of the hunt. I’ve never “scored” an antler or entered one in a “big deer” contest. If you want to compete for high scores, go bowling.... “Quality deer management” is practiced on some TWRA Wildlife Management Areas, such as Catoosa. Bucks must have a minimum of four points on one antler or a 15-inch minimum outside spread to be legal...

2013 Deer Archery Hunting Season Set To Open September 20, 2013 Tennessee, The Chattanoogan
... During the opening weekend of the 2012 deer archery-only season, 3,128 deer were harvested, an increase of 317 from 2011’s total of 2,811. In 2010, 2,404 were taken the first weekend...

Tennessee's 2013-14 Hunting Seasons September 1, 2013, Memphis Commercial Appeal
   Whitetail Deer: The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is three. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day ... Red Deer: Gun/Muzzleloader/Archery: Same as statewide deer season. No limit, either sex...

Carter Co. couple runs rare deer rehab center August 16, 2013 Tennessee, WATE.com
... There are only six facilities that specialize in deer in the entire state of Tennessee... Wynn Wood Wildlife Center ...  The Wynns say the cost alone to rehab deer is why there are so few. The shelter is several acres wide and screened so there's no contact with people... 

... It is illegal in Tennessee to domesticate or hold captive a wild animal ... Verlin and Lorene McCarty say the deer, barely a few days old, would have died had they not intervened...  they have welcomed a menagerie of animals onto the property. They've even nursed a baby squirrel back to health... "He was just a wonderful baby. He loved me dearly," Lorene said. "He would kiss me, hold me, hug me. He was one of a kind."..

Wildlife commission sets hunting seasons June 15, 2013 Tennessee, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
... The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission set the state’s 2013-14 hunting seasons at its recent meeting in Nashville and hunters will see increased opportunities for harvesting deer ... The commission approved a recommendation that allows red deer to be taken in East Tennessee outside of deer season after requesting a free permit ...

Fish And Wildlife Commission Approves 2013-14 Hunting Seasons May 31, 2013 Tennessee, The Chattanoogan
...Tennessee's deer hunting is divided into three units, with Unit L being the most liberal. Crockett County in West Tennessee was approved to be moved to Unit L. Numerous counties in units A and B were recommended for increases in antlerless opportunities...

...  they have been accepting public comments on their proposals since then. The comment period will remain open through Monday.  Proposals made by TWRA included moving Crockett County in West Tennessee from Unit A to Unit L. Several other counties in Units A and B may also receive increased opportunities to harvest antlerless deer...

Wildlife commission reviews regulations, set for May vote May 2, 2013 Tennessee, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
... The commission will vote on the proposals at their next meeting, May 30-31, in Nashville at the Region II Ray Bell Building in the Ellington Agricultural Center. The approved changes will become effective March 1, 2014. The public is invited to attend these meetings and make comments as appropriate... Crockett County in West Tennessee be moved from Deer Unit A to Deer Unit L where hunters can take up to three antlerless deer per day ... Numerous counties in Deer Units A & B were also recommended for increases in antlerless deer opportunities...

Harvest among best ever with 176,951 tagged April 20, 2013 Tennessee, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
The 2012 Tennessee deer season closed in mid-January and the final harvest numbers provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency indicate that 176,951 deer were tagged during the 109-day season.  ... The all-time harvest record was set in 2006 when 182,782 deer were taken. The 2004 season is in second place with 179,542 deer harvested...

... The state initiative is part of a national program established last year by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to provide uniform herd certification standards and to support the domestic and international marketability of U.S. cervid herds. Through participation in the voluntary program ...

Bays Mountain Park has a rare piebald deer that it got when the TWRA confiscated the animal from a Hawkins County woman who had taken it in as a pet. February 24, 2013



... Giles County leads the way with 5,500 deer harvested, slightly ahead of Henry County at 5,496, which had a strong finish down the stretch to move into second place past Fayette County, which had a harvest of 5,433....

Rutting study results, hunting season comments sought January 15, 2013 Tennesse, Nooga.com
Last year, several deer hunters in southern Middle Tennessee expressed concern that the peak white-tailed deer mating season (rut) was later than biologists thought and that hunting seasons should be extended as a result... "The vast majority of the samples taken revealed a November or December breeding date, although there were some that were conceived in January. This reaffirms our belief that the peak of the rut occurs in the November-December time frame for the vast majority of the state." ... TWRA's Chief of Wildlife Daryl Ratajczak



Search for news and information by keyword above or find links to state news stories organized by topic.

Tennessee DataHarvest data for 2013 suggest a decline in population to about 800,000 - 900,000 in 2014. About one million deer in the state before hunting season in 2012.   An estimated 900,000 deer in the state in 2011.  The state deer population has been approximately stable for several years.  Some estimates put the herd about 20 percent lower than these estimates from TWRA.

Other useful links: 
Tenness Wildlife Resources Agency

Deer Management Objectives: 'Wildlife biologists determine how many animals need to be harvested then determine how many permits need to be issued in order to reach their harvest goals. The permits are then allocated and the end result is a quota hunt. '

Albino Deer in Tennessee - January, 2013



Amicalola Deer Park This 1200-acre park is nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains along the headwaters of the Amicalola River. It serves the needs of 150 rescued animals, primarily Sika and Fallow Deer, as a place of retreat, restoration, recreation, preservation and conservation. Amicalola Deer Park is now a toured facility offering many special events throughout the year to promote awareness and funding for their mission.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources News


11 Deer by Tennessee River - January, 2013