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Tennessee deer harvest down so far this hunting season


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The gun portion of Tennessee’s deer hunting season begins Saturday, Nov. 18.

Bow and muzzle loader hunting have been underway the last couple of weeks and the state says the harvest so far has been light with just over 30,000 deer taken. Wildlife officials attribute that to unseasonably warm weather.

Barry Cross with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is stressing safety. He says most deer season injuries involve tree stand accidents.

“If you’re using a climbing stand and you’re going to climb up the tree, when you leave the ground you need to have your climbing harness on with a safety rope attached to the tree from the bottom to the top and back down.”

Cross says you should also remember that by law hunters must wear blaze orange. That's probably a good idea for anyone spending time in the woods for the next few weeks.

Cross is also asking hunters for a little help. Wildlife officials are monitoring Tennessee’s deer herd for disease.

“We’re taking lymph nodes from the deer’s neck and we’ll be checking those for Chronic Wasting Disease. We don’t have it in Tennessee. We don’t want it in Tennessee, but we have to check and make sure that if we ever do have it we know it as soon as possible.”

Donating samples is voluntary. Check the TWRA website for the six locations around the state where those samples will be collected this weekend. 

The Tennessee deer hunting season ends January 7.