View Full Version : Implications of decreased hunting and fishing

02-27-2009, 11:08 AM
I think if you've spent any time with Steve Moore, you have probably heard him tell you to keep trout of legal size caught in the park. He believes that the amount of people "catching and releasing" has allowed for the overpopulation of fish, which leads to smaller trout, because the food supply remains the same.

So does the decrease in hunters lead to smaller game? I've heard of states where the deer population is so large, that you are required to bag a doe before you can bag a buck. Just wondering if that will apply in TN. I'm not a hunter, at least not yet, I enjoy fishing too much.

I'll also apologize here to Steve, because I tend to practice C&R more than I harvest in the park. Then again, most of the fish I catch fall under the 7" range.


03-02-2009, 09:39 PM
Dan, I'm no expert in fish and game management, however, TWRA is trying to grow the deer herd in East TN. They limit the shooting of does, so the herd can grow. I normally see more bears than deer where I hunt. Middle and West TN have larger deer herds. Some places allow the shooting of up to 3 does per day for the entire season. That adds up to over 100 deer/person. Of course, noone actually shoots that many.

But, back to your question, deer can actually overgraze themselves and limit their growth. It takes alot of deer in a confined space to do this. The biggest threat is when the population explodes, disease is easily transfered between animals due to being in too close proximity to each other. Again, I'm no expert, this is just an opinion from someone who spends ALOT of time in the woods.

03-03-2009, 09:43 AM
I agree Buzz but not knowing how long you have been hunting, I have a question. Have you seen weight differences in the bucks/does you took a couple of decades ago compared to now?

03-03-2009, 03:35 PM
kytroutman, I have to say "yea", I have noticed the difference in the size of the bucks and does. But this has more to do with the fact that a decade ago I was living and hunting in Ohio. The does their are generally as big as the bucks here (put grinning smiley here). In Ohio (still hunt there), I've been targeting larger and larger bucks, so I can't give you an honest estimation of size, and I'm horrible at estimating a does live weight, when she is "on the hoof" (another smiley).

I've only been deer hunting TN for 5 years now (25 years overall), and have seen radical differences in the weight of mature bucks regionally. I'm going by memory from what I have read, so please forgive any inaccuracies. When TN started stocking in the 70's they brought in some midwestern deer with their genetics. These were "genetically" larger bodied deer. These deer repopulated most of the state. However, TWRA thinks there may still be pockets of deer with the "original" genetics still running in the mountains. These "original" deer are genetically smaller deer. My last 2 mountain bucks that I brought out whole were both 3.5 years old, one weighed 89 pounds "live weight", and the other weighed 135 pounds, field dressed. The 135 pounder killed me. I now just pack out the meat, head, and cape.

To repeat myself, the above may all be hearsay, and doesn't really answer your question, but I am slow at work, and don't really have anything better to do than type. You may want to check these out before accepting them as fact. Also, I think the bears keep the fawn population in check around these parts. The past couple years, it's not uncommon for me to see more bears than deer.

03-03-2009, 05:01 PM
You answered my question Buzz. I've seen the same thing and have hunted the entire time in TN and KY. Does that used to go 110-120 lbs (live weight) now are now smaller and usually weigh less than 100 lbs. The bucks are the same.

03-03-2009, 05:50 PM
Guys here in alabama it is much the same way. When I started hunting deer about 10 years ago only part of our state had doe days. Now all or nearly all our state has full season doe days and you can take 2 a day. It was 1 buck 1 doe but because people would not harvest the does the state implemented a tag system for bucks. This required hunters to harvest either does or only 3 bucks per season. Now mind you does are still 2 a day all season. But since so much (TROPHY) hunting is publisized on T.V. people forget about the population problem and then cause less trophies in the long run. It is like the pond theory, if you never harvest the smaller fish then the better quality fish will not receive the food supply or oxygen levels they need. In consequence you have smaller fish.

Byron Begley
03-03-2009, 08:44 PM
Most people don't know this but 15 years ago when you started a Trout Unlimited Chapter you adopted a boilerplate set of By-laws that stated "a chapter will promote catch and release fishing" or something like that. When I went to Steve Moore with this back then I was promoting a policy that was contrary to what he believed was best for the fishery. Over time he convinced the Little River Chapter that is was not best for the fishery. Finally, we have new By-laws that don't include that statement. I think Trout Unlimited National has changed their position too. Anyway, Steve and I are good friends, we have fished together we work together often and I believe he knows what he's talking about. I still practice catch and release but I don't look down on those who don't. I hate to see someone keep a big brown though.


03-03-2009, 11:53 PM
Middle and West TN have larger deer herds.

I hear that loud and clear. Smyrna is about 20-30 minutes south of downtown Nashville, and I live at the edge of a new neighborhood. My house has woods behind it and to the right, there is a large field to the left where houses are getting ready to be built. In front of my house is another house across the street to the left, and a field across the street to the right. Beyond that is woods that have been cut down, and more fields. Just a mental picture.

I woke up one morning and counted 17 deer in our sideyard. There were about 3 fawn to every doe, and 2 or 3 bucks, all small. One night I was wheeling the trashcan down to the curb and I heard a noise across the street. I looked and standing in the field across the street barely lit by the streetlight was the biggest buck I have ever seen, even in video games. I didn't have time to count all his points but I got to 12 before he'd seen enough of me. He jumped straight up, did a 180* turn in the air, landed, flipped his tail up once, put it down, and walked away. He was old and grey, talk about majestic :smile:

Brian Griffing
03-04-2009, 04:47 PM
I hate to see someone keep a big brown though.


Don't stand stream side when I bring one to hand.:biggrin:

Honestly, I've released every brown I've caught in the Park to date. But, come this spring/summer, they're in trouble. I have decided that I am not releasing legal browns anymore. I know my efforts won't add up to a hill of beans, but I'd like to see the brookies move further downstream.

03-04-2009, 09:14 PM
Not even 10 minutes ago I pulled into my driveway to see a spike eating on the grass that is growing in our sideyard.