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Tennessee Bear Season Regulations and Information

Tennessee Black Bear Hunting Regulations 

Refer to the TENNESSEE HUNTING AND TRAPPING GUIDE for more information.

  • Bear Limit: One (1) bear either sex per year.
  • Cubs or female bears with cubs at side may not be taken at any time. A cub is defined as any bear weighing seventy-five (75) pounds or less.
  • All harvested bears must be checked out at an official checking station. Bears MAY NOT be checked in via the Internet or with the TWRA mobile application.
  • Bears may be whole or field dressed, but must weigh 75 pounds or greater when checked in.
  • The reproductive sex organs shall remain attached to each bear harvested at least until the bear has been officially checked out at an official bear checking station.

Prohibited Acts

  • Hunting private property without landowners permission.
  • Hunting prohibited over a site where bait has been placed to feed or attract wildlife unless the bait has been removed at least 10 days prior to hunting.
  • It is illegal to hunt, shoot at, chase, or kill any wild animal, wild bird, or wildfowl from a public road right-of-way, or from any motorized vehicle, or to shoot any firearms across or from any public road or vehicle.

Hunting Bear Reserves

Bear hunting is not permitted in bear reserves unless a special exception is provided by proclamation.

Taking Wild Hogs During Bear Dog Hunts

Individuals licensed to hunt bears may take wild hogs during any proclaimed bear-dog hunt.

Bear Zones

For the purpose of these hunting regulations and better wildlife management, the State of Tennessee is hereby divided into five (5) bear hunt zones (BHZ’s) as follows:

BHZ1: Carter, Cocke (North of I-40), Greene, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, & Washington.
BHZ2: Blount, Cocke (South of I-40), Jefferson (East of Hwy 411), Sevier
BHZ3: McMinn (East of Hwy 411), Monroe, Polk (East of Hwy 411 & North of Hwy 64)
BHZ4: Cumberland (North of I-40), Fentress, Morgan, Pickett (East of Hwy 111), & Scott (West of Hwy 27)
Transitional: Bradley, Hamblen, Hamilton (East of TN River), Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger, Jefferson (west of Hwy 411), Knox, Loudon, McMinn (West of Hwy 411), & Polk (West of Hwy 411)

Black Bear Reserves

Appalachian Population: Including the Tennessee portion of the GSMNP, Bear Reserves totaling over 450,000 acres have without a doubt played a significant role in the recovery of bear numbers in the Appalachian Population.

Reserve Hunt Zone Total
Andrew Johnson 1 17,280
Kettlefoot 1 59,638
Laurel Fork 1 55,608
Ocoee 3 56,465
Tellico 3 22,957
Unicoi 1 38,906
  Total: 250,854

Andrew Johnson Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area and private inholdings lying southwest of Hwy. 70 east of Hwy. 107 and north of Hwy's. 25-70.

Kettlefoot Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area and private inholdings lying north of Hwy. 421, east of South Holston Lake, south of the Tennessee-Virginia state line, and west of Hwy. 91.

Laurel Fork Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area and private inholdings lying south of Hwy. 321, west of Poga Road, west of the Tennessee-North Carolina state line, and north or Hwy. 19E.

Unicoi Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area lying west of U.S. Hwy. 23, and the Devils Fork Road, north of the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, east of the Horse Creek Road to Hwy. 107 and south of Hwy. 107 to Erwin.

Ocoee Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area and private inhodings bounded on the north by the Ocoee Lake and Ocoee River, on the south by the Tennessee/Georgia state line and on the east and west by the National Forest Boundary.

Tellico Bear Reserve

The Cherokee Wildlife Management Area in Monroe County that lies north of the Tellico-Robbinsville Road, east of Forest Service Road 35, south of the Forest Service Road 26 and west of the ridge running from Farr Gap through Little Fodderstack to Big Fodderstack and following the North Carolina state line to the  Tellico-Robbinsville Road.