Scott County’s youth hunters harvested 57 deer over the weekend, in spite of the less-than-ideal weather.
With off-and-on rain dampening things on Saturday, and dreary weather persisting into Sunday, the county’s “juvenile hunters” nevertheless managed to post their second-highest kill total of the past five years.
Tennessee’s first of two youth deer hunts takes place on the final Saturday in October and the following Sunday, for ages six through 16. It is timed to be the first firearms hunt of the fall season, and coincides with the peak of the pre-rut, when whitetail deer are most active.
This year’s harvest included 29 antlered bucks, five antler less bucks and 20 does.
Statewide, there were 4,439 deer harvested over the weekend. That was down substantially from last year’s harvest of 6,714, but those numbers are always largely dependent upon the weather.
In Scott County, there were 60 deer harvested during the youth hunt in 2020.
At one point, youth hunters posted harvests in excess of 100 deer each year during the two-day hunt. That was before a widespread outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) decimated the local deer population in 2007.
Even after that 2007 EHD outbreak, harvest numbers were high for a couple of years. But they’ve gradually dwindled since then, as the local herd never completely bounced back. Then, in 2017, a second outbreak of EHD further reduced the herd. That year, only 36 deer were harvested during the two-day youth hunt.
The youth hunt numbers finally began to bounce back last year, when 60 deer were harvested during the two-day hunt. Those numbers were more in line with the harvest totals the two years prior to the most recent EHD outbreak, when 68 deer were harvested in 2016 and 78 were harvested in 2015.