Tennessee’s 2021-22 statewide gun hunting season for deer opened Saturday, Nov. 20. During gun season, sportsmen may also use muzzleloader or archery equipment. The season will continue through January 2, 2022.
“This is the most exciting time of year to be in the woods,” said Bobby Wilson, executive director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “We hope everyone will get out and enjoy the tradition of hunting in Tennessee, and this year be sure to take someone with you to continue the tradition.”
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License, along with other required licenses, while hunting any species in Tennessee. Hunter education can be completed online for free.
For more information about Tennessee’s 2021-22 deer hunting seasons, refer to the 2021-22 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide available online at https://www.eregulations.com/tennessee/hunting/ or the TWRA App. Physical copies can be picked up at a license agent or agency office.
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-3 per day, Unit A-2 per season, Unit B-1 per season, and Unit C-1 per season (November 20-December 5 only), and Unit D-1-per season (November 20-26 only).
In Unit CWD, there is a limit of three antlerless deer per day with no season limit. The statewide bag limit of two antlered deer applies in Unit CWD; however, the statewide bag limit of two antlered deer may be exceeded within Unit CWD if taken under the Earn-A-Buck Program or taken under the Replacement Buck Program. Details on each of the programs are on page 29 of the 2021-22 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. For the exact boundaries of the different deer units, hunters can refer to the guide. For complete license and permit requirements, refer to the 2021-22 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide.
New Fight CWD
incentive program launched by TWRA
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has developed the Fight CWD Incentive Program for the 2021-22 deer hunting season, which contains new hunting incentives to support TWRA’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) management effort.
TWRA is helping people who harvest CWD-positive deer in two new ways. Hunters who harvest a positive deer will receive a $75 voucher redeemable for processing deer on their next deer harvest at participating processors. Residents who harvest two or more CWD-positive deer during the 2021-22 season will receive an annual sportsman’s license for 2022. If the hunter has a lifetime license, the annual license can be gifted to a person of his/her choice.
“Based on feedback from hunters, we have made improvements to the harvest incentive program this year,” said Joy Sweaney, TWRA biologist. “We are excited to be able to offer hunters free processing on their next harvest when a deer comes back positive for CWD, and hope that helps hunters to keep harvesting deer to help the fight against CWD.”
Hunters and landowners are the TWRA’s greatest partners in the fight against CWD. The goals of hunter incentive programs are to motivate hunters to harvest more deer in CWD affected counties, which reduces deer densities and helps prevent the spread of CWD. TWRA will continue to strive to identify new ways to support deer hunting, which is the number one tactic for keeping CWD in check.
Hunter incentive programs may not be applicable to all CWD-affected counties. Those hunting in Unit CWD (Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, McNairy, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton counties) have access to CWD hunter programs. Those hunting in Henry and Weakley counties have access to the Fight CWD Incentive Program and the Replacement Buck Program, but not the Unit CWD Earn-a-Buck Program.
Complete details on Fight CWD Incentive Program, Unit CWD Earn-a-Buck Program, Replacement Buck Program, and Landowner Program may be found on the TWRA website at https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/cwd.html.
CWD-positive deer found in Gibson and McNairy counties
Gibson and McNairy counties are now positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) after confirmation through multiple tests from hunter harvested deer. These results change the CWD status of both counties from high-risk to positive and makes Carroll County high-risk because of the proximity to the new positive deer. As a result, carcass transport, feeding, and mineral placement regulations are immediately enacted. For more information visit CWDinTennessee.com.
“We want hunters to know that it is imperative to move only approved deer parts out of a county that is positive or high-risk for CWD,” said Stephanie Durno Karns, assistant chief of game species. “These two positive deer found enact changes to the transport laws and wildlife feeding laws in these counties and we need everyone to follow those to slow the spread of CWD.
“With deer season in full swing, it is the most popular time for hunting. There are no changes to hunting regulations in Gibson, McNairy, or Carroll counties at this time.”
Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission instituted deer carcass exportation and wildlife feeding restrictions to positive and high-risk counties to best manage CWD in the state. Only approved parts, including de-boned meat, cleaned (free of meat and tissues) skulls/skull plates & teeth, hides & tanned products, taxidermy, and antlers- including those attached to clean skull plates may be transported out of positive and high-risk counties.
Supplemental feeding of wildlife is banned in high-risk and positive counties. Therefore, placement of grains, salt products, and other consumable products for wildlife is prohibited.
The ban does not apply to feed placed within 100 feet of a residence, feed placed in a manner not accessible to deer, or feed and minerals as the result of normal agricultural practices. Food plots are still legal in affected counties.
More information about CWD is available at CWDinTennessee.com.