Increased deer sighting makes for strange hunting season

POSTED: 7:56 PM Nov 10 2013   UPDATED: 8:10 PM Nov 10 2013

This weekend is the start of Tennessee's muzzleloader season meaning thousands of hunters in our area will so head into the woods to hunt for deer.

News 5 discovered that the start of deer season is coming at time when deer sighting have been above normal making for an interesting sporting season.

"Yea I've been pretty ready," said Jeff Dugger.

Jeff Dugger is at Mahoney's now but it won't be long before he goes hunting.

"My muzzleloader messed up, so I didn't get to go today for opening season."

Dugger is one of thousands of folks who plan to head out of into wildness to hunt on the first of three weekends of muzzleloader season.

"At any given time we can have 30 to 40 people in the gun department. It's very busy,” Rob Waddell, Mahoney’s Outfitters sales associate.

And the goal of most hunters in to catch a deer, but the deer aren't where you think they would be.

"Most of them have moved into the city, you see most of them right here in town,” said Dugger.

"There have been quite a bit of deer and vehicle collisions,” said David Carpenter, a Tennessee Wildlife Resource Officer.

We asked Carpenter about the sharp increase in deer sightings.

"Usually around November and that's when the rut starts to kick in, the deer breeding season. So a lot deer are on the move so that's when you're going to see a lot deer on the side of the road or cross the roads,” said Carpenter.

Dugger tells News 5 he hasn't seen deer where he normally hunts leading him to believe this season will be a tricky one.

"Hopefully I'll be at the right place at the right time."

Last year there were 5,911 deer related-crashes in the state according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

307 wrecks caused injuries and in 2012, 3 people died as a result of a deer-related crash.

THP says if you're involved in an accident involving a deer, first move the vehicle off of the road and call THP (*876) or 9-1-1 for assistance.

Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.

Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.

Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.

When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.

If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours.

For a listing of TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at click here.