I was wrong(first Tennessee muzzleloader season)

Wobblyshot1

Wobblyshot1

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Oct 13, 2010
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Rutherford County
Grit's post about Tennessee's first muzzleloader season bugged me that there was no clear consensus as to when it was first implemented. I was guessing sometime between 83 and 85. This kind of info must not be publicly available from the TWRA so I began an internet search and stumbled upon this from a 1981 newspaper article out of Nashville. I could find no mention of a ML season in 1980 in that paper. This is what was reported in 1981:

" Tennessee's blackpowder enthusiasts will participate Saturday in the opening day of a greatly-expanded deer season in deer management Units A and B. The blackpowder season is being held for only the second time in Tennessee. Last season the special hunt was held Jan. lull, after all other deer hunting seasons had ended in the state. The activity was confined to Unit A only. Because of the late date, short season and the confinement to Unit A, muzzleloaders bagged only 12 deer during the first season. THIS SEASON the hunt is being held between Part I and Part II of Tennessee's two-part gun-archery season. Muzzleloaders will have seven days of hunting in both units A and B with the season ending on Dec. 18. Also, a special muzzleloader hunt will be held in Units' C and D on Dec. 19-20, giving hunters a possible nine days of hunting. The bag limit is one buck per hunter. To participate, a hunter must have a state hunting-fishing license and a big game license."

From 1980 this could be looked on as notable: "To hunt deer one must purchase a $7.80 hunt-fishing license and a $7.80 big game license."

In 1982 an article gave the Muzzleloader Season in Unit A, Dec.10-16; Unit B, Oct.22-30; Unit C, Dec.14-18 with all having a 1 buck limit.

I was leaning toward a later 85 date after talking to a long time friend, hunter and world class offhand flintlock shooter(LOL) who is retired TWRA and has kept records of all of his kills. He had killed a doe in Dec. 85 with his .50 caliber flint gun. That 85 date was what he was thinking of as well. He did recall the first ever dedicated ML hunt in Tennessee. It was at the Central Peninsula WMA(now Chuck Swan) in 1966. He couldn't participate because he was working but in 67 he made it up there and killed a buck with a .45 caliber flintlock.

One other thing that I thought about and probably contributed greatly in the general interest to muzzleloader deer hunting is that in 1985 Tony Knight introduced his model MK85 inline.
 
G

GRIT

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Mar 21, 2016
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Thanks for the info it's been eating on me every since i thought of it. I remember when the Knight come out that was a big deal back then.There was a lot of aggravating days when muzzle loader first opened but i had a blast trying.
 
S

scn

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Feb 5, 2003
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Brentwood, TN US
I remember hunting the Central Peninsula hunt in 1969 or 1970 with a borrowed muzzleloader. I know I didn't get a shot, but it was still a neat hunt. My first serious muzzleloader hunting began when I transferred down to the main office from ETN in 1988. I used a TC Hawkins until I moved on to the MK85. That rifle is still killing deer with a friend up in ETN.

Next time you talk to Norman, please tell him hi for me. He is a class act, and was always a great help to me in the agency.
 
T

TheLBLman

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Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
Part of why few can recall the first muzzleloading season segment is due to there being so little participation. About the only people initially interested were more into ancient guns than into deer hunting. AND, it didn't start "statewide" either.

As far as the muzzleloader season segment beginning in November (rather than December or January),
it was more as many remembered.

Today, the November muzzleloader season segment is at least twice as many days long as it ever was during any time of the 80's & 90's.
 
S

Smo

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Sep 6, 2012
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North of Al. & South of Ky.
Thanks Wobbly,

It's been bugging me too.

Great info Thanks for posting.

I could not remember exactly how it went ,but did remember it was during the split seasons.
 
W

Winchester

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Dec 5, 2003
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TN
I wish I had saw the post as I actually hunted the MZ season in 1981 at 10 yrs old with an old 45 cal KY rifle, patch and round ball, it was longer than I was tall at the time, and just a wedge and a V for sights!!!!
 

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