Jason Wade of Paris took advantage of Tennessee’s special three-day archery antlered deer season last week and bagged a dandy buck still in full velvet.
The hefty buck had a 10-point rack with an 11-point kicker to form a trophy display.
It was indeed a unique hunting segment as late August hasn’t been a popular time for local deer hunters with temperatures dancing around the low 90s. That’s a far cry from a traditional deer hunting day when hunters don heavy coats and pants plus a toboggan to keep their ears warm.
The Volunteer State decided last year to allow the early hunt as many hunters asked to hold a short segment when bucks were still in velvet. A few other states have done it but this was a first for Tennessee.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted at its May meeting to establish this short season to give hunters an opportunity to harvest a buck with velvet-covered antlers. The hunt was not open on any Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s wildlife management areas.
Across the board, it seemed participation was sort of ho-hum among the ranks of avid deer hunters, most of which delayed their maiden voyage to the woods until the official archery opener, which occurs on the fourth Saturday of September each year. This year’s season kicks in on Sept. 22.
“In my opinion it’s a great three-day hunt,” said Wade, when asked to comment about the new and early segment for deer hunters who were allowed to hunt private lands only. “It’s a hunter’s best opportunity to harvest a mature deer while they can be very predictable before the velvet comes off.”
Wade said he didn’t bother to weigh the nice buck as with the warm temperatures he was in a hurry to get it to a cooler environment that morning and preserve the meat.
A spot check of the statewide harvest showed a total of 784 deer were checked in during the three-day hunt. Hunters here in Henry County checked in a total of 10. Williamson County hunters had the most as 30 deer were reported there.
WOOD DUCK/TEAL COMBO NEARS
Waterfowlers across Tennessee can take to the marshes and swamps for an early duck season beginning Sept. 8. It’s the annual wood duck and teal combo season, which last only five days — Sept. 8-12 — with a teal-only season extending four more days and expiring Sept. 16.
Sportsmen are reminded to obtain the Federal Duck Stamp for any hunter age 16 and over. And, make sure you have the supplemental licenses required for waterfowling and hunting on wildlife management areas if you’re planning to hunt there.
Bag limit is a liberal six ducks but not more than two woodies daily.
EARLY SEASON ON GEESE
Each year, Tennessee has an early season on resident Canada geese and it opens Sept. 1. It’s a 15-day season with a liberal daily bag limit of five. Hunters age 16 and older are reminded to stop by their local post office or favorite sporting goods store and purchase the Federal Duck Stamp in addition to state license requirements for waterfowl hunting.
PUBLIC DEER MANAGEMENT MEETING
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will host three public meetings across the state seeking feedback regarding deer management. The meetings are planned for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Jackson, Murfreesboro and Knoxville, respectively.
The public is invited to attend and view a presentation about progress on a 5-year strategic plan for deer management in Tennessee. The plan is still in draft form and the public’s input is a vital part of its development. Immediately after the presentation, those attending will have an opportunity to interact directly with TWRA staff. The agency looks forward to hearing the public’s thoughts and answering any questions.
The meetings are set to begin promptly at 7 p.m. local time in each of the three locations. The Jackson meeting will be held at the UT Agricultural Center, 605 Airways Blvd. Those planning to attend are encouraged to let TWRA know by visiting the TWRA Facebook events page, but an RSVP is not required to attend.
TWRA FIELD DAY
The TWRA offers field days throughout the year for those who take online hunter safety courses. The field day is required for completion of the online course where live firing sessions are held.
The TWRA will host one on Sept. 15 at Holly Fork Shooting Complex here in Henry County. It begins at 9 a.m. Participants must have taken an approved online course prior to the field day and have proof of completion. Pre-registration for the field day is required at www.tnwildlife.org.
The next TWRA hunter safety classroom course is scheduled for Oct. 1-6 at Hulme Sporting Goods in Paris. Participants must register online for it as well.
AUGUST FISHING WINDS DOWN
From the Kentucky Lake fishing scene comes consistent reports of sluggish activity. Not a lot of anglers have ventured out on the lake lately as warm days no doubt had an adverse effect, but there have been some mornings when temps had a little fall nip in the air and humidity was low.
Despite a few days of reprieve from the summer doldrums, the overall bite has been off for catfishermen. Bass and crappie anglers haven’t been bragging either.
Traditionally, the late summer time frame has been productive for catfish and a few were taken last week by boaters working the main river channel and slowly drifting with the current. Depths of 35 to 40 feet produced a few channel catfish and some blue cats for anglers bouncing the deep edge of the main river channel.
Bait of choice was night crawlers. Some anglers reported using cut shad as well.
There has been some slow current this week at times. TVA forecasts an elevation of 356.3 in the Kentucky Dam sector for the upcoming weekend. Similar elevation was forecast upstream around New Johnsonville.
Surface temperatures were staying in the 85-degree range this week. Water color remained clear.
Not much was going on in the bass and crappie arena this week. Very few boats were out testing the water as the overall bite has been slow.
Watch for a gradual improvement once September arrives and cooler conditions enter the picture.
FRIENDS OF NRA
The Henry County Friends of the NRA will host its annual appreciation banquet Sept. 29 at the Paris Convention Center, 1501 E. Wood St. in Paris. Tickets are $30.
Hulme Sporting Goods has donated two rifles for door prizes. Each early bird ticket purchased will be eligible to win a Remington .308 Model 783 Rifle. Tickets must be bought by Sept. 15 for the early bird drawing. And, a door prize — Ruger 10/22 Takedown Camo Rifle 22LR — will be given away and you must be present to win both door prizes.
Tickets can be purchased locally at Hulme Sporting Goods and from JMC Firearms. You can also purchase tickets online at www.friendsofnra.org/tn/events. For additional info on the event contact Robert Horner at 333-9151.
LABOR DAY HOLIDAY SIGNALS
END OF BOATING SEASON
The upcoming Labor Day holiday will see the curtain fall for most of the summer season recreational boaters. Memorial Day kicks off the boating season each year and Labor Day seems to bring it to a close.
That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of great days ahead out on the waterways as fall is a great time to be out there. However, as cooler days arrive it takes swimming, tubing and skiing out of the picture plus school activities and that thing they call football pulls lots of folks off the lake.
Be careful out there during the upcoming and long holiday weekend. There’s going to be lots of traffic on the waterways so do your part to keep it safe and sound.
Saturday — Dove season opens, early season opener for resident geese.
Tuesday — TWRA public meeting on deer management, UT Ag Center, Jackson.
Sept. 8-12 — Wood duck/teal combo season.
Sept. 13-16 — Teal only season segment.
Sept. 15 — Friends of NRA early bird ticket purchase deadline.
Sept. 15 — TWRA field day, Holly Fork Shooting Complex.
Sept. 16 — Early resident goose season ends.