Here is a report from the April meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission: The TWRA had figures on the most recent deer season. The total statewide reported deer harvest for 2016-17 was 157,702, consisting of 86,007 bucks and 71,695 does. This was a six percent decrease from the previous year. There is a continued positive trend in an increased age structure of harvested bucks. Bucks age 2.5 – 3.5 years comprised the greatest proportion (57 percent) of those sampled by staff, an all-time high. Additionally, the proportion of fawns in the buck harvest continues to decline over time, and to a lesser extent yearling harvest is declining.
There were few if any changes to the deer, turkey and bear hunting seasons recommended by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; those changes will be reviewed by the TFWC and set at its May meeting, which will be on May 23-24 on the campus of Bryan College in Dayton. The public is invited as usual.
Also at the May meeting the spring turkey bag limit will be discussed. Various changes have been recommended by the TWRA on wildlife management areas, public hunting areas, and national wildlife refuges. A public comment period on the proposals will be open until May 15, and a link to the proposed changes will be available for viewing soon on the TWRA website www.tnwildlife.org.
The TFWC is again discussing the definition of an antlered deer. Recently the definition of what qualified as an antlered deer was changed to any deer having any antler protruding above the hairline; previously it was antlers three inches or more in length. The commission will continue the discussion at its May meeting.