2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt

By Brodie SwisherAugust 29, 2022

It’s too hot to hunt deer in August – the ticks and mosquitoes are awful – and I don’t like poison ivy. 

These are just a few of the excuses I hear every year as hunters try to reason their way out of hunting the Tennessee velvet buck hunt the last weekend of August. However, for many hunters across the south, the hunt is a highly anticipated opportunity to kick the hunting season off early with a chance at a very unique trophy.  

In its 5th year, the Tennessee velvet buck hunt has continued to provide hunters with an exciting opportunity to climb into the treestand early and go head to head with a target buck on their hitlist. And despite the hot temperatures, it continues to  be one of the most exciting hunts of the season for many hunters. 

2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt
Lucas Howell with a big-bodied 8 pointer killed in the Tennessee hills during the velvet hunt weekend.

My boys and I spent the weekend making moves on a bachelor group of bucks we’ve been watching the last month. There’s been a couple shooter bucks hanging out in a group of 13. The bucks showed up in the beans each evening, however, shifty winds kept us from getting set up where we needed to be. And that seemed to be the case all weekend. We just couldn’t catch a break with the wind. 70 yards from a big 8 pointer was as close as we got all weekend. 

Fortunately, other hunters across the state seemed to find their groove early in the weekend, punching their first buck tag of the season on a velvet buck. Clint Morris was one of the first hunters to strike in the early hours of the opening morning’s hunt. After being a no show over the last week, his target buck showed back up just in time for the velvet hunt weekend. “I watched the deer pretty much all summer,” says Morris. “He disappeared last Wednesday, and I thought he had moved off pattern. But then he showed back up on camera the night before the hunt.”

“I know most guys hate hunting in the 90-100 degree heat, but that is exactly what I needed. Any daylight pics I had of these deer came on the hottest days. So it was exactly what I wanted, mosquitoes and all.  

My buddy and I had been in the tree for about an hour, watching a doe browse on beans, when we heard a stick crack and turned to see the buck walking right at us. He came to within 5 yards of the stand, and I drew back my Mathew’s VXR for the shot.”

2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt
Clint Morris with his opening morning buck.

“However, the buck seemed to wind us and trotted off about 15 yards. The buck then spooked and ran out to about 35 yards. I quickly adjusted my sight as the buck stood there stomping and trying to figure things out. I drew back, squeezed the trigger on my release, and the buck dropped in his tracks.”

2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt
Blane Willingham with his first velvet buck, taken with his trad bow.

Another Tennessee hunter, John Castleman, had one of his hitlist bucks consistently showing up on his trail camera all summer. However, the  buck was showing up between 10am-2pm every day. He knew he’d have to go in early and ride it out through the mid-day hours for a chance at the buck. And that’s just what he did.

“The wind was right, so I did my best to suffer through the heat, and wait out the buck,” says Castleman. “Sure enough, at 1:10pm, the buck came in and presented me with a 15 yard shot.” 

2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt
John Castleman with a mid-day buck in the beans.

One of the biggest bucks of the weekend came from none other than Lee Ellis of Seek One. Surprised? The dude is a stone cold killer when it comes to notching tags on some of the biggest bucks of the season each year. The team has been scouting and hunting the TN velvet hunt the last 5 years, and it finally paid off big. Real big! Lee killed the 190″ brute on opening evening of this year’s hunt. Be sure to check it out on a future Seek One episode on Youtube. 

2022 Tennessee Velvet Buck Hunt
Lee Ellis with his TN velvet beast. @seek1productions

A big congrats to all the successful hunters across the state during this year’s Tennessee velvet hunt weekend. Be sure to send us your success photos for future stories and big buck profiles this season. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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