The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) focuses
on maintaining doe harvest numbers as a means of controlling deer herd propagation. The largest focus of such management is the western and central regions of Tennessee, where the Mississippi River Bottomlands and Great Basin ecosystems offer the richest resource saturation for herds, and the least probability of natural predation.
Here are three things to know about urban deer hunting in cities and suburbs.
1. Location is Everything
As a species, deer are sufficiently intelligent to determine patterns of behavior within their environment. They come to understand which areas are safe from sport hunting predation, which areas offer high saturation of resources necessary for survival, and pass this knowledge on to successive generations.
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Quite often this means deer herds migrate into urban areas during the hunting season, where they know they’ll be safe. While bucks are taken largely for trophy, it is the control of doe harvest figures that most greatly contributes to the successful management of deer herds. This is largely due to the fact that a single buck can breed a sizeable harem of doe during the course of a single rut season.
Landowner education and awareness of wildlife management issues and strategies is of great importance in this regard. Their cooperation is crucial to the success of sport hunt harvest control methods. Throughout Tennessee, the TWRA encourages hunting leases for the management of wildlife populations by sport hunters on private lands. The state agency also coordinates with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to manage large swaths of land under agricultural use during the off season.
While the TWRA prohibits hunting within sight of dwellings without explicit permission from landowners and homeowners, it does not rule out the permissibility of taking deer within normal seasons provided hunters are not trespassing. The Tennessee Attorney General has publicly indicated
that state law supersedes local ordinances in this regard.
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3. Safety First, Last, and Always
For various reasons, taking deer with bows or crossbows is safer than doing so with rifles in such scenarios. Lack of disturbance to the surrounding population, be it humans or other game, is one significant factor. Minimizing the potential for injury or accidents by stray ammunition is another. Hunters should take the time to verify local ordinances and contact the TWRA for explicit assistance in determining legality, should landowner permission be acquired.
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