Tennessee on map
About hunting in Tennessee
Tennessee’s hunting history and heritage goes back to the days of the Longhunters in the 1760s and 1770s, when hunters and explorers such as Daniel Boone and Richard Callaway made “long hunts” into the state from southwestern Virginia, blazing trails through the high, rugged mountains of East Tennessee and opening up the state to European settlement. Today, Tennessee is still a hunter’s paradise. Habitats vary widely, with the Appalachian Mountains dominating the eastern part of the state and the rolling hills and bottomland along the Mississippi River forming the western border. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and black bears are abundant. Upland birds, ducks and geese, and small game are also found in Tennessee, and traditional nighttime raccoon hunting with dogs is a popular pastime. Black bears are also hunted with dogs in designated areas. Hunting opportunities are available for wild hogs in some areas in conjunction with other big-game seasons. The range of white-tailed deer in Tennessee includes all 95 counties in the state; statewide, the deer herd numbers approximately 900,000 animals. Growth of the Tennessee deer herd is expected to continue, with most expansion occurring in the Mississippi River counties and in eastern Tennessee, which has traditionally been the slowest area of the state for deer population growth. The deer herd in middle and west Tennessee is so robust in some areas that management efforts are focused at slowing or stabilizing herd growth. Tennessee even has a limited-quota elk season. Elk were reintroduced to the state in the late 1990s, and the elk herd currently numbers a little over 400. In 2009, Tennessee held its first elk hunt in 150 years. In 2017, 15 draw permits for elk were issued. Hunters must wear on the upper portion of their body and head a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange (blaze orange), visible front and back, while hunting big game, except on archery-only and turkey hunts. For more information about hunting in Tennessee, see https://www.tn.gov/twra/section/hunting-in-tennessee.
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