Deer hunters across the Volunteer State are likely watching and waiting to hear more on a five-year deer management plan, especially here in deer-rich Henry County.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s five-year strategic deer management plan was presented during the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s final meeting of 2018.

The two-day meeting concluded Dec. 7 at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building at the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville.

The strategic deer management plan has six major goals, including to gather more information about Tennessee’s deer herd, the harvest of deer and the desires of Tennessee hunters.

It also encompasses the development of support programs for landowners and communities and to address potential deer-related problems.

In addition, it will seek to minimize the threat of chronic wasting disease, increase communication efforts with the public and identify the resources and funding necessary to improve the hunting, management and overall health of Tennessee’s deer herd.

The draft plan is available online on the TWRA website for a 30-day public comment period at

The agency will consider all public comments and modify the draft plan as appropriate. TWRA plans to release a final version in late February.

The TWRA and TFWC honored the Tennessee Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation with a resolution for its longtime partnership with the agency.

Ross Melinchuk, NWTF vice president of conservation, was among the guests.

The TWRA and NWTF have had strong partnership through the years in efforts to restore the wild turkey population. The NWTF is involved annually on various projects with the TWRA.

Joe Benedict, Wildlife and Forestry Division chief, gave a presentation on how the TWRA plans to increase habitat management on four featured wildlife management areas (WMAs).

These include one each from the four TWRA regions; they are Wolf River, Cheatham, Bridgestone/Firestone and North Cumberland.

The TWRA Fisheries Division previewed proposed changes to Rule 1660-1-26 Rules and Regulations for Fish Farming, Catch-out Operations and Bait Dealers.

In an effort to prevent invasive species from being transferred into or propagated in Tennessee, the TWRA proposes a list of species that will be authorized for use in these operations.

The TFWC will vote on the rule in February 2019.

The TFWC’s first meeting in 2019 will be Jan. 17-18 at the Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters in Germantown.


STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is

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