Public Land Duck Hunting
Tennessee offers a variety of public land duck hunting options with access for hunters statewide in the form of tier one 60-day blind locations as well as hunt locations designated for quota hunts for 2, 3, 4, or 7-day periods at a marked location or an Agency-built blind. Below you will find detailed information for permit options, blind types, site conditions, application period and seasonal requirements.
Leftover permits are the result of people not turning in a notice of intent to hunt. Leftover permits will be allocated by an in-person, local drawing. Any license holder may register for a leftover drawing, but any applicant drawn must be present at the designated time and location to claim the permit.
For a list of hunt locations and dates available for each property, visit the registration site and click on each property. The Leftover drawings will begin at 6:00 p.m., please register prior to the drawing time. You can register on site if you don’t preregister.
In order for the agency to understand the quality of your duck hunting experience and how we can better serve you, a post season survey is sent to everyone who receives a permit for a blind. After your hunt, you will be emailed a link to fill out a survey. You must fill out this survey within 10 days from the end of your permitted hunt, even if you did not hunt. We will remind you via email 3 times. If you do not take this survey, you will not be eligible to enter for a quota hunt opportunity next season.
December 7th update: Weekend rain improved waterfowl habitat in West TN. Much needed rain fell Saturday and Sunday in West TN, most areas received around 0.5 inches, while some areas near Jackson received up to 2 inches.
Reelfoot – Pumping will continue and slash water in fields signals beneficial runoff into Black Bayou Refuge. Gains may be short-lived with the historically low Mississippi River drawing water tables down lower than normal.
Bogota, Thorny, White Lake Pumping is ongoing to maintain hunting pools. Dyersburg received only 0.5 inches of rain.
Big Sandy - Much needed rainfall brought Big Sandy River up to elevations that will feed the WMA and further increase water levels.
Camden – It was slightly below shooting pool over last weekend, but the recent rainfall should help to bring the shooting pool up by week’s end.
Gooch, Gin Creek, Barkley, and West Sandy WMAs – are all at desired depths
Haynes Bottoms, Cheatham, AEDC Woods Reservoir, and Old Hickory - have huntable or near normal water levels.
Permits for all tiers requiring permits will be issued by a computer application and drawing. An application may be made by an individual or party (max party size is 8 adults). Each party members' name will be included in the lottery, so a party of 5 has 5 chances to be selected, a party of 8 has 8 chances, etc.
No sign-ons can be made after the drawing. Permits are nontransferable.
Quota hunt application fees have been waived for the remainder of the 2021 season.
The cost is $12.00 (Fees waived for the 2021 season) non-refundable for the drawing. There is no cost to apply for holders of valid Sportsman (Type 004), Lifetime Licenses, or seniors possessing a Type 167.
Tier 1 (season-long) application period is June 30 - July 21, 2021.
Drawing held in August 2021.
Notice Of Intent (NOI) required. Hunters awarded a permit must return to TWRA a “Notice of Intent” (NOI) which states they do or do not intend to hunt during their permitted hunt. The NOI may be submitted online through your www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com account, by U.S. mail or e-mail. Detailed information will be provided to successful applicants. If TWRA does not receive the NOI by the specified deadline, the permit will be forfeited and become a Tier 4 Blind.
No priority points will be issued for this drawing.
Individuals/Parties who receive a Season-Long Waterfowl Permit are ineligible for other waterfowl drawings.
Applications must be submitted through at www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com. No mail-in applications are accepted. When applying through the website, it is critical you include a current email address for your account. The following notifications will arrive ONLY by email: your application has been submitted and accepted into the system, you have successfully made changes to your application (hunt locations, group members, etc.), you were/were not selected for hunts, and how to obtain permits. You can log into your account at www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com at any time and see hunts you applied for, permits you were awarded, and your priority points balance.
Tier 2 and 3 permits will be issued during three (3) application periods during the regular duck season- early, middle, and late; corresponding to three 20-day periods. Local vacancy (leftover) drawings will be held after a Notice of Intent (NOI) period.
You will receive a priority point for each unsuccessful application. For example you apply for an Early Waterfowl Permit and are unsuccessful, you will receive a priority point for future Early Waterfowl drawings.
Waterfowl quota hunt application fees have been waived for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Priority Points are not transferable from one drawing to another. You will have the ability to apply for a priority point only if you wish not to hunt this year. These applications can only be submitted by individuals (not parties) and must be completed during the allotted application period.
For Early, Mid and Late waterfowl quota hunts, hunters awarded a permit must return to TWRA a “Notice of Intent” (NOI) which states they do or do not intend to hunt during their permitted hunt. The NOI may be submitted online through your www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com account, by U.S. mail or e-mail. Detailed information will be provided to successful applicants. If TWRA does not receive the NOI by the specified deadline, the permit will be forfeited and become invalid. Any forfeited or invalid quota permits will be reallocated by a local, in-person drawing.
Customers wishing to sign up for vacancy drawings will need to sign up for the desired location using TWRA’s Event System and then attend the local drawing. You must be present to be awarded a vacancy permit.
Priority Point Details
Each of the 3 waterfowl quota hunt periods have unique and separate priority points. An individual is awarded one point for each unsuccessful application in a drawing. When a person is drawn for a quota hunt, their priority points for that application period will be reset to zero (0). Priority points only apply to the individual drawing in which they were earned, i.e., WMA Big Game, Spring Turkey, and the new Early Waterfowl, Middle Waterfowl, Late Waterfowl drawings.
Applicants with the highest priority are always drawn first. Points are not transferable from one drawing to another.
Priority points of parties will be averaged. If a party application is drawn, all members are awarded a permit and removed from drawing. If a party application is not drawn, all members receive one priority point
Existing Waterfowl priority points will all be applied to the Mid-Season application period. Points may not be moved to another application period nor be used on a season-long permit application.
How does the drawing work?
Applicants select specific hunt choices by location (WMA and hunt site) and dates and arrange these choices by preference. Please select only hunts you are interested in. Applicants will not be awarded a hunt they did not select.
The computer draw process awards applicants with the highest number of priority points first. If the applicant’s first choice is available, it is awarded. The program then moves on to the next applicant’s first choice. If the applicant’s first choice is not available, the program moves to that applicant's second choice, either awarding that choice if available (and moving on to the next applicant), or if not available, the program moves to the third choice, etc.
Each eligible application is included in the drawing. If you are in a party, each applicant in your party is entered into the drawing (so a party of 5 has 5 chances, etc). When a party application is selected, the drawing runs the location/date choices in the order they are entered on the party leader’s application. If successful, all members of the party are awarded a permit and removed from the drawing. If unsuccessful, all members of the party are unsuccessful and awarded one (1) priority point.
A different methodology was used for the July 31, 2021 drawing of Tier 1 duck blinds. Read Full Release
Licensed Duck Hunting Guides in Tennessee
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Duck Hunting In Tennessee Background
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) approved several proposals by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for changes to public land duck hunting and blind draw procedures.
For many years Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received public comments about how the current public land duck hunting system operates. The comments mostly fall into 2 categories: the need for increased duck hunting opportunities on public lands (i.e. more access) and concerns over the fairness of the handheld duck blind draw system. A scientific survey of duck hunters done in partnership with the University of Tennessee validated these comments, as well as other issues with in-person handheld draws, and desire for opportunities to hunt for shorter time periods.
In 2019, we made changes to make the in-person drawings more fair and equitable, with limited success. In 2020, due to COVID, all handheld duck blind drawings were computerized and online, which made the process fair and equitable for hunters across Tennessee.
For 2021, we are taking another step, by increasing the number of duck hunters who get drawn to hunt our public WMAs each season. This is an effort to increase public access for duck hunters. TWRA’s final approved proposal for public land duck hunting is a significant effort to increase access for hunters statewide and retain traditional season-long, 60-day blind locations as offered currently. In addition to the 414 season-long blinds, there will be 53 hunt locations designated for quota hunts for 2, 3, 4, or 7-day periods at a marked location or an Agency-built blind. There are no changes proposed to privately-owned/permanent registered blinds.