For hunters like Drew Manning, it's the excitement of the hunt that keeps him coming back every deer season.

He states, "I killed my first deer when I was seven or eight years old, and kind of fell in love with it ever since."

Manning hasn't had much luck so far this season, and he's not alone. The TWRA reports the number of deer killed by hunters is down. About 11 thousand fewer deer have been killed in Tennessee in the past five years.

"The more people that kill deer, the more they're going to want to be out in the woods," adds Manning.

The number of guns being sold locally to hunt them is down too. Kristi Manning, owner of Carter Shooting and Supply, says she normally expects an uptick in sales right before Christmas, but this year sales are down.

"Normally we've had at least on average sold anywhere from twenty five to fifty hunting rifles before going into hunting season, and this year we've probably done -- if even half that," states Manning.

Manning believes more development may mean less opportunity for hunting game. The TWRA lays out public hunting grounds on its website.

Here's how to find those grounds:

  • go to TWRA.org
  • click on "hunter education"
  • scroll to the bottom of the screen and click "GIS maps"
  • then click "Wildlife Management Maps"
  • the green area indicates if it's open to the public

Manning also points to higher hunting permit prices and weather as other factors in the decline. The colder it is, the more deer move. Last winter was mild and recent 60 degree highs aren't helping. She says they are hoping for a cold snap and a rush of business,  "We've run a lot of sales, but it has decreased somewhat in the past couple of years."

They suggest mimicking Alabama's deer season which continues a month later than Tennessee. Big game season sends in Alabama, February 10, 2018.

Have a weather related story? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.