Young deer hunters had  the woods to themselves last weekend in the first  of two special youth deer  hunts but this weekend things will  be a bit different.

The 2018 muzzleloader/archery season for deer opens in Tennessee on Saturday and continues through Nov. 16 in all of Tennessee’s deer hunting units, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

For a lot of deer hunters, the muzzleloader segment sort of kicks off the deer season as many hunters don’t go to the woods until it opens.

The opening of muzzleloader season in the state has a permanent opening date on the Saturday three weeks prior to Thanksgiving.

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.

So far, deer hunters across Tennessee are running a little behind last year at this time. Statewide harvest stands at 16,135.

Around the region, harvest totals were 288 for Henry County which ranked it 11th in the statewide chart. Montgomery is the leading county as hunters there had checked in 404 since the season opened.

Neighboring counties had the following totals: Stewart ranks seventh at 329; Weakley is 21st with 233; Carroll is 33rd with 196 and Benton is 42nd with 146.

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 — three a day, Units A and B — two a day, and Units C and D — one a day.

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

Resident hunters ages 16-64 must possess, in addition to other appropriate licenses, an annual big game license for the equipment used. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Adult Sportsman license and Permanent Senior Citizens license holders are not required to purchase supplemental big game licenses.

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.

Tennessee’s gun season for deer opens on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year’s date is Nov. 17. The season for gun/muzzleloader/archery will then continue through Jan. 6. Archery equipment is legal during muzzleloader and gun seasons. Muzzleloaders are legal during gun season.


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

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