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Archery hunters turn out in large numbers

Archery hunters turn out in large numbers
The weekend of Sept. 22-23 marked the traditional opening of Tennessee’s deer hunting season with archery hunters statewide turning out in large numbers to take advantage of the plentiful white-tailed deer resource, now estimated at more than 1 million.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported statewide that bow hunters took 2,407 deer, which is up 3 percent over last year’s opening weekend harvest of 2,327. The use of crossbows was added to recurves, compound bows and long bows as legal for use during Tennessee’s early fall primitive weapon’s deer hunting season. The TWRA legalized the use of crossbows in 2005 in an effort to allow a suspected sizable number of hunters to enjoy a bow hunting method that is less physically challenging than other types of bows.
Many of the state’s deer hunting archers have eagerly adopted the use of crossbows, which is evidenced by the 36 percent jump in crossbow harvested deer on the opening weekend this year compared to last year’s archery opener.
The TWRA reports that statewide, 685 deer were reported taken with a crossbow Sept. 22-23, 2007, which is up from 503 deer taken with a crossbow during the comparable 2006 opening weekend.
Madison County reported a 12 percent jump in deer harvested on the opening weekend this year. This fall’s deer hunting opportunities are expected to be very good. The freezing weather seen in April has nearly wiped out the white oak acorn crop, which is a primary deer winter food source. Following such a severe oak mast failure it is common for white-tailed deer in Tennessee to switch their primary food sources, which may lead them to forage in crop fields. This type of condition will make deer more visible and available to hunters in those types of habitat.
Hunting is a popular pastime in Tennessee, as evidenced by the number of residents purchasing a license to hunt in 2006.
During the calendar year of 2006, more than 780,000 Tennesseans held a hunting license. This is up dramatically from the 2005 number certified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
During 2005, approximately 730,000 Tennessee residents held a license to hunt.
Published in The Messenger on 10.04.07

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