East Tennessee Outdoors: New Regulations for 2019-2020 Hunting Season

Published 11:52 pm Monday, October 14, 2019

Hunting season is upon us. Squirrel season has already opened, and the archery-only deer season began on Saturday, September 28, 2019. With this, it is time to review a few of the changes to the hunting season this Fall.
The first and most important change has been to the state deer season. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected for the first time in Tennessee during the December 2018 hunting season. The disease was found in the western counties of Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has implemented changes to try to stop the spread of CWD and contain it in those three counties. The changes they have made are the following:
  • A new Deer hunting unit was established called the CWD Unit. The unit is made up of the three CWD positive counties and the high-risk counties of Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Selby, and Tipton. High-risk counties are those that have had CWD detected within 10 miles of their borders.
  • TWRA strongly recommends testing any deer taken in the CWD counties for the disease and that any animal that tests positive should not be consumed.
  • To help deer management in the CWD counties, the TWRA is establishing an “Earn-A-Buck” and Replacement Buck Program.
  • To help stop CWD the TWRA is implementing new restrictions on deer urine. The use of natural deer urine is prohibited unless the product is labeled bearing certification from the manufacturer that the urine is produced in a facility that complies with federal approved CWD requirements.
The most far-reaching of these changes is the ban on natural deer urine. Many hunters use these products that are made with natural deer urine and are very successful with them.
In many cases, the hunters kill a deer and use the deer’s natural glands or urine to call in other deer. That is now against TWRA regulations.
As always remember that all hunters must have a Hunter’s Safety Course if they were born after January 1, 1969. The only exception to this is a hunter hunting under an apprentice license.
A hunter is allowed to hunt for one year with this license, and they can only purchase it one time.
 All hunters need the type 001 fishing/hunting license to hunt small game. To hunt big game, such as deer, bear or turkey, hunters need an appropriate big game permit along with the basic 001 license.
Don’t forget that if you are big game hunting in the Cherokee National Forest that you have to have a special permit.
These licenses can be purchased online or at a designated license agency.
Remember that each deer or turkey harvested must be checked in at a designated check-in station or online. If you kill a bear, it has to be taken to a check-in station and cannot be checked online.
Pick up a copy of the TWRA Hunting and Trapping Guide at any license agent and study the laws and regulations.
Nothing gives hunting and hunters a bad name more than road hunting or disobeying the Tennessee hunting laws. They are there to help manage the wildlife, and hunters are an important biological tool. Do your part to help the culture of hunting.
Finally, take time to take a kid hunting. This is the best tool in our belt to guarantee the future of hunting.  Show them that hunting is important as a management tool and teach them safe gun handling.
We are blessed with a variety of big and small game.
Remember that the rules are there for a reason – to manage the game and guarantee there are animals there for the future generations of hunters.
The least we can do is our part to promote legal hunting and preserve hunting for the future.

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