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Tennessee Hunting

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Written by:  Admin SERP 

May, 10 2021

Tennessee is one of America’s most traditional hunting states. Games in the state include deer, turkeys, elks and a variety of small game animals.

Tennessee Hunting Regulation

There are hunting laws, requirements, and regulations for hunters to abide by while taking games in Tennessee. Some of these laws apply to only specific hunting seasons, while others are general laws regardless of the game season.

Some of the most important hunting laws in Tennessee include the following:

Hunter’s Clothing Requirements

It is compulsory for all hunters and their assistance to wear an outer garment cloth with orange color. The color must be visible from the head, chest, and back region during the daylight hunting of games in firearm seasons, muzzleloader firearm seasons, or elk and bear firearm seasons.

However, you do not have to follow the dressing requirements for dove and waterfowl hunting seasons.

You can make use of mesh material for your hunter clothing, but the condition is that your mesh weave should not be larger than ¼ of the measurements. If you are wearing an orange garment, then a small pattern of other colors may be displayed.

Some of the violations to Tennessee hunter orange clothing include the following:

  • It is a prohibition to wear an orange garment that contains camouflage patterns and has no other orange color on the chest, head, and back regions.
  • It is a prohibition to wear your hunter clothing to a stand then remove it when you reach the stand.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt rabbits, quails, and squirrels without the dressing requirement.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt deer and elk firearms seasons without the hunter’s orange dressing requirement.
  • It is a prohibition for hunters making use of archery or crossbow equipment to hunt during firearm seasons without the required orange cloth.

For hunting deer with a firearm in some WMA, anyone hunting from a blind must make sure that the blind has hunter’s orange material attached, and it is visible from every side. Also, hunters in the blind must stick to the orange clothing requirement. For WMA or Tennessee public hunting lands where the taking of games like bears, elks, and deer is prohibited, hunters are not allowed to set up hunting blinds or wear orange clothing during the firearm seasons.

Tennessee Shooting Hours

The shooting hours for most game species in Tennessee are usually during daylights, between 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after sunsets. Notwithstanding, hunters are allowed to be on hunting fields and stand before the shooting hours. However, there are exceptions to these shooting hours for games like opossums, frogs, coyotes, and raccoons.

Hunters can take opossums and raccoons during the day or at night, with exception of modern firearm deer hunting season where you may only take opossums and raccoons in the night.

Prohibited Hunting Methods

Hunting practices that are illegal in Tennessee include the following:

  • It is a prohibition to discharge firearms, archery devices, or a similar hunting weapon or device across a major road or public highway in the state, in the name of hunting.
  • It is a prohibition to take or attempt to take games and wildlife with a vehicle or automobile, regardless of if they are protected or unprotected by the state hunting department. There is an exception for hunting from boats.
  • It is a prohibition to chase games like turkey, elk, and deer with hunting dogs, or with the aid of a horse while on the horseback. An exception to this prohibition is the use of dogs to locate turkeys during the fall turkey season.
  • It is a prohibition to take bears, elks, and deer when they are swimming.
  • It is a prohibition to give bears food either directly or indirectly, regardless of the reason for doing so.
  • It is a prohibition to take game or wildlife with explosives, fire, smoke, chemicals, or gas.
  • It is a prohibition to bait game animals in all wildlife management areas of Tennessee.
  • It is a prohibition for elks and deer hunters to make use of electronically generated calls or any form of decoy to draw the animals out.
  • It is a prohibition to take turkeys while they are roosting. Roost refers to any place a turkey spends the night, but this is mostly on trees.
  • It is a prohibition to use live turkeys as a form of decoy to hunt wild turkeys in Tennessee.

Baiting Games

It is a prohibition to hunt bears and wild turkeys with baits or try to hunt them in areas where bait is already present. This prohibition also covers the baiting of games in Tennessee's private hunting lands. For this law, any area that has been previously baited will still be considered baited until 30 days after the baits are removed.

Baited areas are lands or places where substances that can attract games like grains, or feeds have been placed to draw games like turkeys, deer, and bears out.

However, areas, where grains or other feed substances exist due to farm practices or growing crops for wildlife management, are not prohibited for hunting.

Game Calling Devices and Restriction

For game calling in Tennessee, the following are allowed:

  • You can make use of hand or mouth-operated calls to draw out all game species you want to take.
  • You can make use of electronic calling devices to draw out furbearer games during their legal hunting season.
  • You can make use of electronic or mechanical calls to take crows during their hunting seasons.
  • However, it is a prohibition to use electronic calls or possess the devices during hunting seasons for elks, deer, and turkeys.

Open Carry While Hunting

Tennessee gun law allows anyone to open carry while hunting in the state, with the firearm handled according to gun laws.

The state also has hunter harassment laws for the protection of hunting activities.

The law states that on no account should anyone deliberately interfere or disturb hunting activities in the state, that has to do with fishing, trapping, and the likes.

Tennessee Hunting License, Permits, and Tags

Hunting permits are usually game-specific, and you will need the combination of a hunting license and a game permit to hunt some animals during their specific season.

Hunting licenses, permits, and tags issued in Tennessee include the following:

Tennessee Annuals Fishing License

Holders of this license can partake in Tennessee hunting seasons as long as they have the required permits to hunt. The license is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $27 and $140 respectively.

One Day Hunting License

This hunting license is only valid for 1 day. With this license, hunters can take part in various game animal hunting except for big games like turkeys, bears, elks, and deer. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $7 and $15 respectively.

7 Days Hunting License

This hunting license is only valid for 7 days. With this license, hunters can take part in various game animal hunting except for big games like turkeys, bears, elks, and deer. It is available for only non-residents at a cost of $55.

Annual Youth Hunting License

Youth that wants to hunt in Tennessee will need to purchase this license. However, for the taking of big games like deer and turkeys, additional permits will be required along with this license. The age requirement for a Tennessee youth hunting license is between the ages of 12 and 15 and the license will be valid for a year. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $6 and $10 respectively.

Shooting Area License

This license is issued to hunters that want to take games with firearms in some areas of Tennessee. Hunters must obtain these licenses with any other additional ones. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $5.

Annual Trapping Licenses

To trap some games in Tennessee, you need a trapping license. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $20 and $130 respectively.

Landlord/ Tenant Trapping Licenses

Hunters must obtain permission from private landowners before they set traps on their properties. They must also purchase the landlord/ tenant trapping license. The license is only available for residents and it costs $10.

Annual Youths Trapping License

Youths that want to trap games in Tennessee will need to purchase this license. The age requirement for a Tennessee youth trapping license is between the ages of 12 and 15 and the license will be valid for a year. It is available for only residents at a cost of $5.

Hunting and Fishing Combination License

Holders of this license will be able to hunt and fish in Tennessee. It is only available for residents of the state, and it is valid for one year. However, extra permits and tags will be required for the hunting of games like turkeys and deer. It costs $42.

Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License

This license is not only limited to the combination of hunting and fishing in Tennessee water bodies. It covers deer permits, turkey permits, migratory birds permits, waterfowl permits, and trout fishing permits. It is available for only residents of the state at a cost of $95.

Youths Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License

This license is not only limited to the combination of youth hunting and fishing in Tennessee water bodies. It covers deer permits, turkey permits, migratory birds permits, waterfowl permits, and trout fishing permits. It is available for only youth residents that are between the ages of 123 and 15 at a cost of $95.

Senior and Disabled Sportsman License

This license covers all the privileges of the Sportsman Hunting and Fishing License in Tennessee, but it is only available for senior and disabled residents. Seniors must be 65 and above before they can apply for this license. It costs $12.

Deer Permits

There are various types of deer permits issued in Tennessee. They include the following:

  • Statewide Deer Permit

This permit will allow hunters to take deer in every part of the state. It has a bag limit of 4 deer in the hunting season. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $35 and $120 respectively.

  • Youth Deer Hunting Permit

Youths between the ages of 12 and 15 can purchase this deer permit. It has a bag limit of 4 deer. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $10 and $15 respectively.

  • Additional Deer Permit

This is an additional deer permit available for residents and non-residents. The permit has a bag limit of 2 deer and costs $15.

Turkey Permits

Turkey permits available in Tennessee include the following:

  • Spring Statewide Turkey Permit

This permit will allow hunters to take turkeys in every part of the state. It has a bag limit of 2 turkeys in the hunting season. It is available for residents and non-residents of the state at a cost of $35 and $75 respectively.

  • Youth Turkey Hunting Permit

Youths between the ages of 12 and 15 can purchase this turkey permit. It has a bag limit of 1 turkey per season. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $10 and $15 respectively.

Tennessee Hunting Fishing License, Permits, and Tags

Hunting fishing licenses, permits, and tags, available in Tennessee include the following:

Tennessee Annual Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various water bodies of the state. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $23 and $55 respectively.

One Day Fishing License

This license is only valid for 1 day. With this license, you can harvest fishes in Tennessee water bodies. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $7 and $15 respectively.

3 Days Fishing License

This license is only valid for 3 days. It is available for only residents at a cost of $55.

7 Days Fishing License

This hunting license is only valid for 7 days. It is a Tennessee out of state hunting license for non-residents and costs $35.

Trout Permit

The permit is available for only trout harvesting. It is valid for residents and non-residents and it costs $10.

Tennessee Hunting Season

Hunting season in Tennessee varies for various games and weapons to take the games. Hunters must be aware of the starting and ending dates for the game animals they want to take.

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Tennessee includes the following:

Tennessee Deer Hunting Seasons

  • Archery Hunting Season (5th of September to 18th of January)
  • Crossbow Hunting Season 19th of (September to 18th of January)
  • Muzzleloader Hunting Season (17th of October to 18th of October and 12th of December to 20th of December)
  • Modern Gun Hunting Season (14th of November to 29th of November)
  • Youth Only Gun Hunting Season (10th of October to 11th of October)

Some firearm seasons for deer hunting in Tennessee may vary based on the hunting zone. It is important that hunters visit the Tennessee Department of Fish and Wildlife to confirm the specific date for their hunting zone.

Tennessee Elk Hunting Seasons

  • Archery and crossbow hunting season (12th of September to 25th of September and 5th of December to 11th of December)
  • Firearms Hunting Season for Bulls (26th of September to 30th of September and 3rd of October to 7th of October)
  • Firearms Hunting Seasons for Cows (28th of November to 2nd of December and 26th of December to 30th of January)
  • Youths Only Hunting Season (All elk season dates)

Elk hunting season in Tennessee varies by hunting season and antler or antlerless Elks.

Tennessee Turkey Hunting Seasons

  • Fall Archery Season (5th of September to 18th of September)
  • Fall Firearms Season (24th of October to 30th of October and 5th of December to 11th of December)
  • Fall Crossbow Hunting Season (1st of October to 18th of October and 14th of December to 31st of December)

Turkey's spring hunting season is still in the proposal phase, hunters that are interested should visit the state hunting department website to confirm the date.

Tennessee Small Games Hunting Season

  • Crow Hunting Season (1st of September to 7th of November and 4th of January to 28th of February)
  • Groundhog Hunting Season (1st of March to 28th of February)
  • Squirrel Hunting Season (15th of August to 13th of November and 16th of November to 28th of February)
  • Grouse Hunting Season (1st of November to 28th of February)
  • Rabbit Hunting Season (1st of November to 10th of February)
  • Quail Hunting Season (1st of November to 10th of February)

Hunting season for small games will vary based on Tennessee hunting zones. Also, bag limits, hunting laws, and regulations for hunting season will vary based on the game animal you want to take. Hunters are advised to visit the Tennessee Department of Wildlife and Fish website to verify all important information about the specific games they want to take.

Tennessee Wildlife, Games, and Fish

Some of the most common wildlife and games in Tennessee include the following;

Tennessee Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Tennessee has a bag limit of 2 per season and one a day for each hunter. Antler deer in Tennessee must have at least 3 inches’ antler. Anything aside, this is considered an antlerless deer. It is also a prohibition to take albino deer in Tennessee.

Tennessee Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting in Tennessee has amassed consistent numbers over the years, especially when it comes to harvesting wild turkeys. Also, they are fairly distributed in all counties.

Tennessee Elk Hunting

Elk hunting in Tennessee is more concentrated in the eastern part of the state since this is where they are abundant. Breathitt county is the home to the largest elk herd in the state.

Tennessee Quail Hunting

Quail hunting in Tennessee is not as pronounced as it usually is in the past years. But there is still a lot of preserve hunting for the games, and many other opportunities to take quail in Tennessee public hunting lands.

Tennessee Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting in Tennessee is not common because the games are not native to the state. Notwithstanding, there are a lot of preserves and game farms that have stock pheasant for licensed hunters to take.

Tennessee Hunting Shooting Ranges

Shooting ranges open for the general public in Tennessee includes the following:

  • Stones River Hunter Education Center.
  • Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area and State Forest.
  • Smoky Mountain Sports Club.
  • Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area Firing Range.
  • Montlake Classic Clays.
  • Prairie Shooters Club.
  • Nashville Gun Club.
  • Bend of River Public Shooting Club.
  • Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area.
  • Henry Horton Skeet & Trap League.
  • Fayetteville City Gun Range.
  • Cheatham Wildlife Management Area.

Tennessee Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease.

Hunting lands for sale in Tennessee include the following:

  • Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (Humphreys County) 32.51 acres.
  • Hampshire, Tennessee (Lewis County) 281.59 acres.
  • Tennessee (Hickman County), 225.02 acres.
  • Deer Lodge, Tennessee (Morgan County) 1,932 acres.
  • Outstanding recreational and hunting property in North Central Tennessee, Whitleyville, Tennessee (Clay County) 1,184 acres.
  • Greeneville, Tennessee (Greene County) 52 acres.
  • A premier hunting opportunity located in Indian Mound, Tennessee (Stewart County) for producing big deer, 2,000 acres.
  • 20 Acres of Hunting Land in Kingston Springs, Cheatham County.
  • Over 2,000 acres of land for lease in Warren County.
  • Property Available in Sequatchie County Tennessee 36 Acres

Hunting lands for lease in Tennessee include the following:

  • 93 acres of prime deer, duck and turkey hunting property in Hardin County will be leased for a three-year contract to the highest bidder.
  • 700 acres hunting lease available in Marion county, Tennessee
  • 150 Acre lease in Junction County, with Water and Electricity
  • 950-acre farm hunting lease pasture and woods with houses and barns if you want, in Grundy County.
  • Hunting/fishing/living rights to 110 acres adjoining 1800 acres of federal no firearms land in Stewart County.
  • 926 acres near Cedar Grove in Henderson County, a yearly lease and allows the opportunity to renew.
  • 594 acres filled with mature hardwoods to bedding ground. Yearly leases available and all hunting rights are exclusive.
The information provided on the Website is for general information purposes only and is not an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer. We may receive commissions from our partners when you click on some of the links. Learn More
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