TENNESSEE

Deer Forecast 2004 -- SOUTH

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Unit L stands for "liberal" for 25 middle Tennessee counties in an expansion of an experimental antlerless harvest program that saw population numbers drop by about 8 percent last year.

Hunters will be able to kill three does per day and three bucks during the season in the newly formed Unit L. The season buck limit has been reduced to two in Unit B, the mountainous east Tennessee region. The statewide youth weekend is set for January 15-16 and the opening day of muzzleloader season has been moved to the first Saturday in November.

"We need to cut back some of those deer populations, and since no state is increasing in hunter numbers the only way to do it is through bag limits," says Daryl Ratajczak, state big-game coordinator.

Muzzleloading continued to increase, Ratajczak says. Mandatory tagging requirements show the total jumped to 38,291 last season, almost 6,500 more deer than in 2002-03.

Contact: The Wildlife Resources Agency (615-781-6610; www.state .tn.us/twra).