Tennessee deer hunters had a harvest of 7,683 on the opening weekend of muzzleloader season as reports continued to trickle in Monday (Nov. 5).
The current harvest number is an increase from the 4,949 recorded on the 2017 opening weekend.
Roane County had the top weekend with a harvest total of 237. Montgomery County was second with 223. Rounding out the top 10 counties were Sumner (189), Stewart (178), Wilson (176), Maury (167), Cumberland (163), Dickson (160), McMinn (156), and Smith (152).
The muzzleloader/archery season will continue through Friday, Nov. 16. The gun season will open Saturday, Nov. 17, the traditional opening of the season coming on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. The season for gun/muzzleloader/archery will then continue through Jan. 6, 2019. Archery equipment is legal during muzzleloader and gun seasons. Muzzleloaders are legal during gun season.
Muzzleloading firearms are defined as those firearms which are incapable of being loaded from the breech. Muzzleloading firearms of .36 caliber minimum, plus long bows, compound bows and crossbows are legal hunting equipment for this season. Hunters are also reminded that they must meet the blaze orange requirements while hunting.
The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is two. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day. Hunters are allowed the following antlerless bag limits: Unit L-3 per day, Unit A and B-2 per season, and Unit C and D-1 per season.
For the exact boundaries of the different deer units, hunters can refer to the 2018-19 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at all TWRA offices. A list of the state’s permanent annual opening hunting dates is on page 12 of the guide. The guide can also be viewed at TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.
Hunters must possess the appropriate licenses. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Sportsman license or any Senior Citizens license do not require additional licensure. However, hunters with a Combo Hunt/Fish (001) will require an additional annual big game license for the equipment type used, i.e. Muzzleloader (011) or Archery (010).
In addition to private lands, including public hunting areas, several wildlife management areas (WMAs) will be open to hunters during this muzzleloader season. Hunters need to refer to the 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide for a listing of these WMAs or go to TWRA’s website.