Hunt Goes on in Tennessee Park Despite Controversy

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Enterprise South Nature Park in Tennessee is open to archery hunters twice in October. The deer population needs management, so the park is opened to archers and other recreationists are turned away. As happened to bike rider Robert Greene, he showed up to use the trails at the park, but was told by a park ranger that a hunt was being conducted. Greene is supportive of the hunt, just wishes he knew in advance so he didn't drive all the way out there for nothing.

50 people showed up around 5 am when the park opened. These 50 were here for the hunting. What once was a TNT factory is now a nature park, and a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency quota hunt opens the park to 80 hunting permit holders. The hunters are allowed two deer, but the first one must be a doe to help with the population management.

Brayton Bird, 16, whose mom said he could miss one day of school was one of the first to bring a doe out of the woods. Wildlife biologists were there to weigh the doe and check it. They are keeping an eye on the health of the herd to see if management is still needed. Low weight could indicate too many deer and an unhealthy herd. Bird's deer after being field dressed came in at 57 lbs, where last year's average was 72 lbs. The biologists asked if he could cut the cheek to determine the doe's age, which was around 2 1/2. For Bird it will make some nice roasts.

What used to be the deer's primary grazing field is now a new Volkswagen assembly plant, which has more deer competing for food at the park. Despite opponents, the hunt must go on to keep the ecosystem healthy. TWRA chose to open the park to hunts on Monday and Tuesday as that was shown to have the least number of park users. From


SGM's picture

Very poor head line as a few

Very poor head line as a few folks complaining in not a controversy. You could throw $20 bills out in the same place and someone would complain about it. Headline should read Successful hunt to manage a growing deer herd or something like that. The whole head line to me makes it almost sound as they want a controversy. OK off my box, the hunt itself sounds like a big succsses and that the park is doing the right thing for sure. Would like to see more of this as urban deer are a problem is some areas. As mentioned before, wish Rocky Mountain National Park would do this to control the elk rather than waste millions of dollars have a sharp shooter take them out.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Registered Guide Tags

I would surely be in favor for more tags for the hunter but the state hasn't done it yet so another alternate maybe what it hasn't considered.  I'm assuming the state wants a certified "professional" (however they determine it) out there thinning the herd and not the common hunter.  A partnership with a registered guide organization can be effective.  I’m not sure how it works in Colorado but perhaps an increase in Tags given out to Registered Guides by lottery may work way better then sharp shooters and save the state some money to include an increase in Tag revenue.  Need to get a hunting organization involved at the right levels to lobby for it.  Maine does this with its Moose Population in areas where they have seen an increase in vehicle accidents.  It’s probably not the only reason Maine issues tags to Guides in conjunction with it normal lottery but you get the idea.  I think organizations should take a look at state laws and successes to see if those same best practices can be applied to other areas with similar issues.  This is probably already happening and I’m just not educated enough on the facts.  Apologies if I’m Captain Obvious.

SGM's picture

I agree a lotto system or

I agree a lotto system or just collecting preference points for the hunt would be good. I do not like the idea of the guides as all that does is cost the hunter another $4000 or so and would price allot of hunters out of the tags. The park can do it just like the Teton and Roosevelt National Parks do. The system is in place but they refuse to use it for some reason. I would guess bunny huggers and the like. Rocky Mountain is very close to Boulder which does not help.

hunter25's picture

Like the others have said

Like the others have said there really isn't any cotroversy here by the looks of things but a really good opportunity for some much needed herd thinning. I don't think I've ever heard of anyplace an adult doe of that size would be considered normal. Maybe a coues deer in Arizona or something but not a normal whitetail. The part I like the best here is the mom supporting her 16 year olds hunting and actually letting him skip sghool for a day to get out there. Really cool I think. Especially since he was the first one to actually bring one in that day.

deerhunter30's picture

These hunts are always better

These hunts are always better for the animals, may not sound right but if there is not enough food to sustain the herd something needs to be done and it cost entirely way to much money to move the animals to a differant area.

I think it is a great idea to let the resident hunters go in and thin the herd. That way the county makes money and the huners get to put a little meat in the fridge.

Good luck on controlling this problem and hopefully it works out for everybody.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Similar Organization


The Maine Bow Hunter's Organization conducts quota hunts in densely populated rural areas in Maine.  In some instances they are called upon by Land Owners to assist with reducing crop depravations.  This organization is an active group that collaborates with Maine Landowners and Maine Fish and Wildlife.  If you were selected to the organization you could be called upon to show up for a hunt on a given date and time.  Some instances you could take everything that comes on the stand or just take one doe 1st then a buck.  It’s a great program and several times meat was distributed to soup kitchens in local areas.  Glad to see other states have similar organizations and local governments coming up with unique solutions.


Retired2hunt's picture

  I definitely agree with


I definitely agree with both of you.  Reading the full article and the multiple links to the other articles on this park hunt the only controversy was one attorny representing a "group" defined as a "loose coalition of residents" sending a letter to the mayor and two county officials to stop the hunt... and the mayor wisely sided with the county and TWRA officials who's job it is to manage the wildlife within this park.  Supposedly there was a "group" present during the hunt and the article states, "...would describe events near the gate Monday as a clash of stakeholders."  If that was the case you would think the article would have a picture of this "clash" taking place.  I actually feel the only controversy is the newspapers use of specific pictures within all of the articles they have published - all pictures that would tend to fuel something.

Bottom line - they did the right thing in managing this deer population within the park... and doing so with hunters.  It was great that the news agency did report of the father and two sons out on this hunt.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, does it really seem

Well, does it really seem like a controversy?  I mean, all it mentions is that one person showed up to mountain bike, and he was a little inconvenienced.  and, that guy even said he supported the hunt.  The only controversy I could see is that the land used to be a TNT factory.  Whoops! lol

As Numb said, it's great that they are raising money, instead of hiring some professional "hunter" to do it.  The hunters get a chance, in this economy, to put some food on the table, and even though i don't see if they charge for the permits, I assume raise some money for the town.

Interesting that the doe was 2 1/2 years old, but only 72 pounds.  Maybe because of the overpopulation, they are not getting enough to eat.  In my neck of the woods, most yearling fawns will be about 90-100 pounds by the fall season.  At 2 1/2, they are well into the 100's.  Heck, my dad shot an 8 point 3 years ago that they said was 2 1/2 years old, and it weighed in at 169 pounds.

Very cool hunt!  Glad for the hunters in that community!

numbnutz's picture

This seems like a great idea.

This seems like a great idea. Instead of hiring sharpe shooter's and waisting money to cull the herd they are allowing hunter's in and making money off the tags they sell. Hunter's are the best way to thin out a herd in my opion. Sounds like Park officals did their homework on when the park was the least busy to allow the hunt to go on. To me this seems like a great management plan. From the weight of the deer compared to last year sounds like there are too many deer competing for food. Hopefully the hunter's that got the tag will all be sucessfull. I like the idea of the first deer has to be a doe thats good herd management. I hope this plan works out and the deer herd will again be healthy and will support future hunts.