University Hunting Program


The University of the South opens portions of the Domain to hunting every year. The hunt began in 2000 in response to community concern over increasing deer population numbers and their impacts on the community and forest understory.

During the last 22 years, more than 2,100 animals have been safely harvested in and around central campus. The population of deer in Sewanee peaked in 2010 at 145 deer per square mile, approximately six times the herd density recommended by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. At the time, our ratio of does to bucks was in excess of 9 to 1, which creates an incredibly high annual reproductive rate. This ratio is the metric we track most closely to ensure that our population remains in check. In 2021 our doe to buck ratio is 2 to 1 in hunted areas, but remains many times that in areas that are not hunted.

The goals of the hunt are to reduce the total density of white-tailed deer on the Domain to approximately 25 deer per square mile, with a balanced sex ratio of one buck per doe. In order to better achieve these goals, the university hunt has harvest restrictions and quotas that are more stringent than those issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for our area. To review the specific rules for the hunt see the 2022 hunt rules https://new.sewanee.edu/files/...;. For details on why and how deer are managed on the domain, see the white-tailed deer management plan 2016 https://new.sewanee.edu/files/...;.

Beginning on Sept. 24, the regular University archery season will begin. This invitation-only hunt is generally open to all approved University faculty and staff, as well as their direct relatives (spouses, adult children, and parents). The hunt is also open to approved students. All participants must complete the Tennessee Bowhunter Safety Course (or other state equivalent) and in a TWRA Bowhunter Safety Field day, Hunters must also undergo a background check by the Sewanee Police Department, and participate in all mandatory meetings. All hunters are required to possess valid TN type 94 or sportsman’s license and follow all TWRA rules and regulations at all times. For information on participating in the hunt, email Domain Management <domain@sewanee.edu>.

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