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Middle Tenn White Tail Rut ???

Opening the floor for your opinions.  I have heard anywhere from Mid-Oct to Mid-Nov for peak Deer Rut in Middle Tenn.  What do you guys thinks.  I have only been hunting Tenn for 3 complete seasons.  Been in and out of the country so much I have yet to be abel to hunt back to back seasons there.   

Tndeerhunter's picture
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Tennessee deer hunting

I've hunted deer in middle Tennessee since the Army brought me here in the early 90s. It took me a while to find good areas and private land that I could hunt. I hunted on post at Ft. Campbell for a few years and had some success there. For those who don't know, Ft Campbell has a lot of land available to hunt and all of it is strictly regulated. A hunter must possess a valid hunter safety card (whether they require one to hunt elsewhere or not) and there is a priority system for selecting who is allowed to hunt on a daily basis. The flip side is that there are some awesome deer that have been taken on Ft. Campbell. Last I looked, the Tennessee record book has several Ft Campbell deer among it's all-time best. (Ft Campbell, Ky is actually located more inside the boundaries of Tennessee than Kentucky, but the Post Office is across the border in Kentucky).

My first good off-post areas consisted of Westvaco (Timber Company) held tracts in Henry and Stewart Counties. For a fee you could get a permit that gave you access to over 50,000 acres (then) statewide. I settled on an area in Stewart County that was fairly remote and then hunted several seasons from my camper which I would tow out there and stay in for 2, 3, 4, 5 days at a time.

Tennessee's seasons pretty much run like this: late September starts bow season (crossbow legal) early November is M/L (traditionally a split season) and the Saturday before Thanksgiving starts gun season (first segment). This area of Tennessee holds large numbers of deer and lies within the "L" area for bag limits. "L" stands for liberal. We can harvest 3 deer a day throughout bow and muzzleloader seasons (only one may be a buck) and with a single additional license (type 94) you can also harvest 3 deer a day throughout gun season(s) with the same restriction on bucks.

We are allowed a total of three bucks per season with NO antler restrictions except they must be at least 3" (one antler) to be considered a buck. This year they did something new with both weeks of M/L season being held prior to regular rifle. If a hunter wants to use the rut and it's increased activity as the basis for his hunts/hunting then he/she needs to be ready to roll for the three week period that starts with M/L and runs through week one of regular gun; roughly Nov 5th through Nov 26th +/-. These dates, of course will vary depending on the date M/L starts and when Thanksgiving falls.

In the last 15 yrs or so, since I've been familiar with some good areas and had some private lands (normally) to hunt I've taken perhaps 40 bucks in Tn. In this same time frame I've harvested perhaps 6 - 8 does. Where I hunt, I normally could/can harvest a doe at will and normally only do so at the tail end of the season (3+ months long). I've even waited til the last two days of the season to purchase my gun/doe tag.

The majority of my buck harvests have come during this three week span, but that is also logical because the deer are less spooky, having not been hunted hard as yet. Some say early bow season is best for finding big bucks, perhaps they are right. Early bow season in both Ky and Tn is simply too early to interest me normally (read that HOT!).

I do anything I can to be in the woods these three weeks in November. It is my experience that the pre and peak rut periods occur then here in north central Tn. Young bucks will be wandering & looking prior to this time, but the bigger, more mature bucks have learned to wait until they know does are in estrus before they begin to wander & chase (at least that's my firm opinion).

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Thanks for the informatio

Thanks that a lot of help.  Good uselful knowledge that only comes from exeprience.  I have been lving there 5 years and have yet to be able to hunt complete back to back seasons due to deployments.  I look forward to next year because I finally get to break the streak.

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I understsnd

I can certainly understand your loss of hunting due to your job. I have recently figured that my career in the Army likely cost me all or most of 12-14 hunting seasons. I lived out of country for about 8 years total myself. Did learn something worthwhile though; pays to keep your head down!  Thumbs up

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