Tennessee Deer Population:    About 800,000 deer in 2019 down from 850,000 deer in 2018 and 2017.  An estimated 950,000 deer in Tennessee in 2015 and 2014 with a modest upward trend into 2016 for about 970,000 deer, but a general downward trend into 2018.  About 925,000 deer in 2013 and one million before the hunting season in 2012.  An EHD outbreak in 2017.  Herd analysis at right. 

Tennessee Deer News
... The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said its staff responded to a call in Henry County regarding a three-year-old doe who was “thin and exhibiting strange behavior.” ...

Little Ponderosa Zoo hosting Beers for Deer fundraising event July 13, 2021 Tennessee, WATE 6 On Your Side
... the Little Ponderosa Zoo has received dozens of calls to care for whitetail fawn. Baby deer require around-the-clock feedings, medical intervention, and care; with 40 fawns currently at the facility, Little Ponderosa is asking for help...

TWRA gives update on deer harvest July 13, 2021 Tennessee, Rheaheraldnews
... The statewide deer harvest currently stands at 159,935, a 20 percent increase from the 2019-20 season. The total is a 6 percent increase — 9,534 — from the average of five previous seasons. However, it is a 5 percent decrease from the 2015-16 season...

... packages include an elk tag for the Tennessee Premier Elk Zone, a deer hunt on Presidents Island ... One hundred percent of the funds from the raffle goes to support wildlife conservation in Tennessee...

... "She has been drinking goat milk and walking around the yard today, and the infection in her eye is looking a lot better after pulling the ticks and applying Neosporin."...

10 News
... The highly contagious and inevitably fatal neurological disease has firmly established itself in Southwest Tennessee deer, but has not been found in deer further east yet... its first testing lab..,

... the second Pere David’s Deer born at the Memphis Zoo in the last two years, and only a handful of U.S. zoos are home to the species ...
Hendersonville, City's deer population to be explored once again March 25, 2021 Tennessee, Hendersonville Standard
... an aerial survey of the 45 square miles within the city limits. Held on March 21, 2015 and April 11, 2015 ... The city’s deer population was estimated to be at least 872 deer, or 19.4 deer per square mile.  City leaders were told by USDA officials that the number didn’t warrant a cull ...

New children’s book highlights wildlife crossing project March 24, 2021 Tennessee, Mountain Xpress
...  Interstate 40, and the journey Bear, Deer and their forest friends embark on is one that animals trying to cross face on a regular basis ... “We can’t let roadkill just be this elephant in the room and not deal with it,” ...

Animal rehab groups optimistic about wildlife bridge efforts in TN, keeping animals safe Marh 3, 2021 Tenessee, WBIR.com
... an effort to create wildlife bridges near the Great Smoky Mountains... The Safe Passage Fund Coalition launched the I-40 Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Crossing Project last week ...

... found stumbling through the streets ... hair protruded from discs of flesh covering both the buck's cornea ... A dermoid, by definition, is a type of benign tumor ...  deer tested positive for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) ...

Tennessee deer harvest up 25,025 February 11, 2021 Claiborne Progress
... Weather was mild at the start of archery and muzzleloader season ... The rut was also a factor as it peaked early November ...  the harvest was up mostly because of the liberal bag limits out West Tennessee in the areas where deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)..,

CWD-infected deer found in eighth county February 6, 2021 Tennessee, Main Street Nashville
... A deer in Lauderdale County tested positive for chronic wasting disease and became the eighth county where the deadly disease was confirmed.  All are in West Tennessee...

Tennessee deer harvest was the largest in six years February 4, 2021 Tennessean 
... The increase, as significant as it was, did not come as a surprise to state wildlife officials who saw more hunters in the woods through the year as a result of COVID-19. Hunting was one activity that was not hindered by the pandemic.  "The hunters showed up and a lot of that was a lot of licenses sold this year that we hadn't sold in the past,"..,

Fish And Wildlife Commission Holds First 2021 Meeting February 3, 2021 Tennessee, The Greeneville Sun
...The statewide deer harvest currently stands at 159,935, a 20 percent increase from the 2019-20 season, according to a release. The total is a 6 percent increase (9,534) from the average of five previous seasons. However, it is a 5 percent decrease from the 2015-16 season..,

...  Declines in the abundance of deer in upland sites after ca. 4000 cal BP (before present) support depression of deer. However, deer did not decline in floodplain sites, perhaps due to anthropogenic environmental modification (i.e., burning). The upland decline coincides with a shift toward greater wetland patch use, which may have driven a reduction in deer hunting ..,

CWD positive deer confirmed in West Tennessee January 23, 2021 Elk Valley Times
... Lauderdale County has been confirmed as CWD (chronic wasting disease) positive ... The Lauderdale County detection is the farthest northwest detection and the Madison County detection is the farthest northeast from the original detections in Hardeman and Fayette counties in late 2018... 

... The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission reports for the 2020-2021 season, 556 deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease with another 2,319 tests pending...

... Henderson County is now classified as a CWD high-risk county with the confirmation of CWD in a hunter-harvested deer in Madison County within 10 miles of the Henderson County border...

2020 Deer Harvest Results January 15, 2021 Tennessee, Elizabethton.com
... hunters harvested 159,879 deer ... a 26 percent increase from the 2019-2020 season... The year 2020 saw an increase in the population of prey species such as squirrels and rabbits ... predators were getting their food sources from smaller species and not just deer... TWRA’s new rules allowing as many deer as possible to be killed in the Chronic Wasting Disease counties in west Tennessee..,

Fish and Wildlife Commission Holds Final 2020 Meeting December 11, 2020 Tennessee, TWRA News
... `Harvest results to date for the statewide deer harvest and Unit CWD were given in one and five-year comparisons. The statewide deer harvest total as of Dec. 9 is 118,515, a 21 percent increase (20,531) as the same time last year. The total is a 7 percent increase (8,027) from the 5-year average. In Unit CWD, the harvest stands at 12,988, a 33 percent (3,224) increase.  Statewide, minus Unit CWD, harvest is 105,497. That results in a 20 percent increase (17,318) from last year and a 14 percent increase (6,451) from the 5-year average.
     Reasons for the harvest increase could be an effect of favorable weather conditions, the COVID influence and an increase in licensed big games hunters, and a result of the new Tag Before You Drag system implemented this year...,

... "Tennessee's deer population has pretty much peaked and we're just starting to level off,"  ... TWRA Region III Biologist Ben Layton ..,

Managing deer population on your land November 12, 2020 Tennessee, Manchestertimes
... According to Craig Harper, UT Extension professor of wildlife management ... Where Quality Deer Management is desirable ... reduce the overall deer population so plenty of forage is available. He recommends removing does to even out the sex ratio and allowing bucks to reach 3.5 years of age to enhance the herd...

Incentive Program Offered In Unit CWD To Increase Deer Harvest November 5, 2020 Tennessee, The Chattanoogan
... The offer only applies to deer harvested in Unit CWD [chronic wasting disease]. The deer must be submitted for CWD testing. The license is not transferrable to another person...

Tennessee elk: a comeback success October 15, Wilson Post
... Tennessee’s last wild elk was killed in 1865 in Obion County ... a visionary elk-stocking program launched some two decades ago ...Despite some early setbacks by predation and poaching, the imported elk thrived ..,

... “10 thousand samples came from the CWD area here in West Tennessee, and we’re now at over 670 positive animals on the landscape in West Tennessee,”  ...“We’re encouraging hunters to kill more deer,” ..,

Buck shaming a symptom of a larger problem for deer hunters September 9, 2020 Tennessee, Times Free Press
... a habit of judging the deer that others take and belittling them because you think the antlers were too small    ... For many years now, hunters have watched celebrity hunters perched in tree stands and shooting houses as they fling arrows and pull triggers on whitetail deer with antlers like those of the extinct Irish Elk. (OK, slight exaggeration.) ...

... The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is encouraging hunters to harvest more deer in Unit CWD after a decrease in the unit’s harvest numbers last year. The fewer deer there are in the unit, the fewer CWD positive deer there are ...

... a total of 102,847 tickets raffle tickets sold, raising $1,146,560 for conservation efforts... a far, far cry from the early days when a single elk hunting permit was auctioned, generally raising around $10,000 ...

... Surveillance video from earlier in the night shows the deer had been wandering the school’s playground when something “spooked it,” ... The deer ran through the safety glass ...

Half-million dollars raised so far for Tennessee elk management July 25, 2020 WTVC
...  this year's raffle ticket sales, raising money for Tennessee elk management efforts, is lagging behind 2019...

... Food plots are not just for deer ... “It is widely acknowledged that important pollinators, such as monarch butterflies and honeybees, are in decline ...

...  fawns who have been injured or even left alone in the wild... they are often taken to Little Ponderosa Zoo & Rescue in Anderson County... we do our best to try to get these guys back into the wild ...

... Extinct in the wild, the birth is significant for the Pere David’s deer population...

Deer in a springfed pond in Tennessee - May 3, 2020


... An immediate focus for One Health will be researching Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease that affects deer in Tennessee ... “Our vision is for the UT One Health Initiative to be a clearinghouse for transformational discoveries to improve animal, human, plant and environmental health,” ...

CWD, Fish and Wildlife Commission holds first 2020 meeting January 28, 2020, Tennessee, Overton County News
... To date, there have been a total of 648 CWD-positive deer detected in CWD counties since the disease was first detected in December 2018. During the recently completed 2019-20 deer season, 462 were detected. The vast majority of CWD-positive deer were harvested in Fayette and Hardeman counties...

Relationships among white-tailed deer density, harvest, and landscape metrics in TN, USA   HL Adams, RE Kissell, D Ratajczak, EL Warr… - European Journal of Wildlife …, 2020
... Deer density was best predicted by harvest density and harvest density + percent woody area. However, harvest density was the only important variable in predicting deer density (Σωi = 0.700). Results of this study emphasize the significance of harvest density in deer management...

You Can Get Up Close & Personal With Deer & Exotic Animals At This Tennessee Farm January 23, 2020 Tennessee, Narcity
... Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo in Sevierville, Tennessee is a one-of-a-kind experience... tons of deer, zebras, kangaroos, goats and so many other animals you can touch and feed...

Three Counties Have CWD Status Changed January 16, 2020 Tennessee, TWRA News
... Haywood and Chester counties have be reclassified from high risk counties to CWD-positive counties after deer tested positive in the respective counties. Lauderdale County has been added as a high-risk county after a deer tested positive in Tipton County within 10 miles of the Lauderdale County border..,

... Compared to last season, the doe harvest declined about 20% this season in the eight West Tennessee counties identified as the epicenter of the outbreak in the state ... Through Friday, about 13,000 deer were tested since the season opened in September. Evidence of chronic wasting appeared in 409 deer ...

Scott's deer harvest is stunningly low January 7, 2020 Tennessee, Independent Herald
... As the statewide firearms hunting season closed Sunday evening, there had been a total of 438 deer harvested in Scott County during the 2019-2020 deer hunts ... down more than 25 percent from last year’s harvest of 587. It wasn’t quite as bad as 2017’s harvest of 390 deer — the year the EHD outbreak occurred ..,

... Cryptorchid deer ... have traits of both genders, the strangest of which is a full growth of hair, or velvet, that remains on their antlers throughout their life ...
TWRA to build deer carcass incinerator in Fayette County January 4, 2020 Tennessee, Columbia Daily Herald
... will build an incinerator to burn deer carcasses in Fayette County.  The TFWC approved the $1 million investment ... the large-scale incinerator will be available to processors and hunters to dispose of deer from the CWD-positive and high-risk counties of southwest Tennessee. The incinerator will reach temperatures above 1,800 degrees and killing the disease...

... identified by members of the public after a $2,000 reward was offered leading to the capture and conviction of the person responsible for killing the elk on December 23. The elk was part of a 3-year research study by the University of Tennessee's Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries....

Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area,  Radiological contamination in deer explained December 22, 2019 Tennessee, thedailytimes.com
... It is well known that after WWII some radioactive materials were improperly dumped or disposed of on the property ... Since the deer hunts began in 1985 and including data from 2014, more than 12,200 deer have been harvested, and 205 animals have been retained due to internal contamination, 1.68% historically...

Plan to reduce Collierville deer population may not continue in 2020 December 19, 2019 Tennessee, WMC Action News 5 Memphis 
...  deer habitats have been disappearing because of growing communities pushing the animals into neighborhoods...

... That's out of the 8,700 deer ... TWRA said plans to address the deer carcass disposal issue has resulted in a $1 million expansion for an incinerator ..,

...  a $5,000 reward after someone killed a red stag on his farm ... Red deer are native to Europe, western Asia and parts of North Africa ...

  Snow white albino deer caught on video near Nashville December 7, 2019 Tennessee, 10 News
... albino deer is protected under Tennessee law -- it's illegal to hunt, trap or possess the rare animal...

TN man pleads guilty to illegally hunting piebald deer December 6, 2019 Tennessee, 10 News
... TWRA said it's not illegal to kill a piebald deer, but you can't hunt from a motor vehicle or public road...

... The CWD-positive deer confirms Shelby County’s transfer from a high-risk CWD county to a CW-positive county joining Tipton, Fayette, Madison and Hardeman counties along with parts of neighboring Mississippi...

Deer with chronic wasting disease found in Shelby County November 21, 2019 Tennessee, WREG
... Shelby County was a high-risk CWD county before this deer tested positive. The county joins nearby Fayette, Tipton and Hardeman counties as CWD-positive...

Deer gun hunting season opens Saturday with harvest lower than last year November 21, 2019 Tennessee,  Tennessean on MSN.com
... The current harvest is 50,708, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.  That is 14,679 fewer deer than were killed at the same point last season ...

Burial site for CWD infected deer is short term solution November 18, 2019 Tennessee, WKRN News 2
... just sent off 1500 samples of deer to Colorado to be tested for CWD.  “We see that we have about a 10 percent prevalence in the counties where we have positive results, so we expect you know about 10 percent of those are going to come back positive,” ...

Tennessee hunter catches video of golden eagle diving at deer November 14, 2019 WTVC, TWRA
... A deer hunter in Humphries County picked up his camera and was rewarded with quite a sight. Hunter, Craig Owensby noticed a large bird in a field that appeared to be hunting for food. The bird was a Golden Eagle and as it took flight Craig got video that would make Nationalgeographic.com proud...

... The statewide deer harvest is down from last year by more more than 6,000 with the statewide muzzleloader/archery hunting season set to open Saturday. ... current harvest is 18,606...

Deer smugglers will get in trouble as there's a deer import ban due to the spread of chronic wasting disease. - October 9, 2019 Tennessee


TWRA confirms, CWD spreads in West Tennessee October 3, 2019 Tennessee, WBBJ-TV
... It is actually the second one in Madison County ... brings the number of affected counties in West Tennessee to ten. Six are CWD high-risk counties, and four have positive cases of CWD..,

... “Reports are coming in daily as TWRA continues to monitor the situation,” ... The last substantial outbreak of HD in Tennessee was in 2017 and was predominantly in East Tennessee. The last major statewide outbreak of HD was in 2007..,

... even more deer have tested positive in the last month ... discovered in Tennessee in 2018 ... TWRA expects a sharp rise in the number of cases ...

A member of the deer family that is extinct in the wild. Ly is here to tell a little bit more about our deer and the species interesting history. September 16, 2019 Memphis Zoo


... a 3-year-old doe that appeared to be sick. She was found approximately eight miles from the Arkansas border...

  Woman spots rare deer in her Johnson City backyard August 9, 2019 Tennessee, WJHL-TV
... the deer has piebaldism ... a genetic anomaly...  in Tennessee ... it’s illegal to kill albino whitetails...

... Sgt. Smith ... was able to immobilize her with a tranquilizer dart within 30 yards of their residence and use wire cutters to remove what he believes to be wire from the top of a tomato cage. When the yearling doe revived, she walked off into the woods to rejoin the herd...

Tennessee Data:    Based on harvest data an estimated 800,000 deer in 2019.  A significant increased in the deer kill for 2020, but the population is thought to have peaked and now leveling off with increased hunting due to the pandemic, weather, and liberal bag limits in the west accounting for much of the increase.  About 850,000 deer in 2017, reflecting a 14 percent drop in the deer harvest from 2015.  TWRA estimated 950,000 deer in 2015 and 2014.   An EHD outbreak in 2017 reduced the herd.  Weather and a massive acorn crop also limited the deer kill.  About 240,000 big game hunters in 2018.  A reported estimate of only 700,000 deer in 2018.  A rough estimate of one million in 2019.
     Harvest data for 2013 indicated a decline in population.  About one million deer in the state before hunting season in 2012 and 900,000 deer in 2011.  The state deer population has been approximately stable for several years.  Some estimates put the herd about 20 percent lower than these estimates from TWRA.  The agency expects the herd to grow by one or two percent with most growth in East Tennessee and along the Mississippi.  A two buck limit was set for 2015, the first change since 1999 when the limit went to three.  Fewer male deer and more does were killed in 2015.   A state population estimate of 900,000 in 2005 and 800,000 in 1993.   Peak of the rut is around November 20.
     Chronic Wasting Disease  The first cases of chronic wasting disease were detected in December, 2018 in Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison Counties.   As of November, 2017, no chronic wasting disease discovered from testing in the state.  By January, 2018, 91 reported cases, for the 2018-19 hunting season 168 positives.  By fall of 2019, 10 counties tested positive with 149 positive cases for the year. By the end of the 2019-20 deer season there were a total of 648 CWD-positive deer detected, 462 were detected during the season.  In 2021 the state opened its first testing lab.
     Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).  Reports in 2019.  The 2017 outbreak of EHD was the worst since 2007 which killed many deer.  A limited outbreak in 2018.
    History:  Deer populations were hunted to near extinction in the early 1900's and hunting was closed to protect the herd.  One estimate puts the bottom of the deer population at 350 deer.  An estimated 12 deer in the state in 1934.  In the 1940's there were fewer than 1,000 to 2,000 deer, all located in the hills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hunting was reopened in the 1950's. From the 1950;s to 1985, about 9,000 deer were relocated into the state.  "During 1966-67, 75 black-tailed deer purchased from Oregon were released at the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant. They were used in an experimental breeding program until 1973. At that time, the 46 remaining black-tailed deer were released in Hamblen County and the hybrids were released at Milan Arsenal. Because of the blacktail's susceptibility to meningeal worm, the gene pool is believed to have been eliminated from Tennessee."  From:  A History of Deer Restoration in Tennessee.  Archaeological evidence indicates declines in deer population far earlier that the arrival of Europeans. 
    Population Estimates:  1,000 in 1940, 75,000 in 1968.  Estimated population in 1989:  625,000.  In the 1940s about 2,000.
    Woodland Buffalo:  Hunted to extinction by 1805.   
    Elk a 2018 estimated population of over 400, about 400 in 2015 after a restocking effort.  Plentiful in 1783, as reported by road surveyors.  By the 1820's they were gone from the middle of the state, western herds soon followed.  The last known wild elk was killed in 1865.  Beginning in December of 2000, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) began the reintroduction of elk with the release that were relocated from Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada, to the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.  Through 2007, 201 elk were released.

Mountain lions are occasionally reported.

Stop Poaching Hotlines:  For Middle Tennessee, the number is 1-800-255-8972. For West Tennessee, including Stewart, Houston and Humphreys counties, call 1-800-831-1173.

Other useful links: 

Amicalola Deer Park This 1200-acre park is nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains along the headwaters of the Amicalola River. It serves the needs of 150 rescued animals, primarily Sika and Fallow Deer, as a place of retreat, restoration, recreation, preservation and conservation. Amicalola Deer Park is now a toured facility offering many special events throughout the year to promote awareness and funding for their mission.


 

This five-minute long, high-definition feature explores Tennessee's heritage of abundant wildlife, biodiversity, and conservation successes, and is largely a visual narrative of the work of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation since its creation in 1946. - June 10, 2014