Public Hunting Areas in Tennessee

 Over 7,000 acres of public hunting lands are available for Tennessee’s hunters.

This is a cooperative effort between the TWRA and landholding companies to provide public hunting with the landowner setting, collecting and administering permits, and the TWRA enforcing the rules and regulations governing these areas.

Seasons are open the same as statewide seasons.

Public lands are important to hunters and non-hunters alike, so all users should work to maintain a good relationship with the owners.

Never litter or abuse the land. 

Refuges & Other Federal Areas

Federal refuge seasons and regulations may be different from the ones listed in this guide. Contact the individual refuge for their specific seasons and regulations.

Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge - (731) 635-7621

Cross Creeks Natl. Wildlife Refuge - (931) 232-7477 All hunters must have a type 064 permit, even lifetime and sportsman license holders. Available at all TWRA license agents and gooutdoorstennessee.com.

Lower Hatchie Natl. Wildlife Refuge - (731) 635-7621 Same as statewide. In the portion of the refuge in Tipton County, deer seasons follow Unit CWD- dates and bag limits, including August G/M/A Hunt.

Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge - (731) 772-0501

Reelfoot and Lake Isom NWRs - (731) 538-2481

Sunk Lake Public Use Management Area (Northern Unit Only) - (731) 635-7621

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge - (731) 642-2091 All hunters must have type 064 permit, even lifetime and Sportsman license holders. Available at all TWRA license agents and gooutdoorstennessee.com.

General Regulations for National Wildlife Refuges

  • Vehicles must remain on established roads open to public vehicles.  Roads may be closed due to adverse weather conditions. Park vehicles in a manner that will not interfere with the normal flow of traffic or block gates.
  • Camping and fires are prohibited, except on Chickasaw NWR during small and big game hunts in designated areas.
  • It is unlawful to drive a nail, spike, or another metal object into any tree or to hunt from any tree in which a nail, spike, or other metal object has been driven. Temporary blinds or stands are permitted on the day of the hunt only. All blinds and stands must be removed at the end of each day's hunt.
  • Dogs are prohibited except when used during refuge open seasons for small game and migratory birds.
  • Designated areas of refuges will be closed to all public entry to provide sanctuaries for waterfowl.
  • All shotgun hunters may only possess and use shotgun shells containing approved non-toxic shots.
  • Hunters must possess and carry a signed refuge brochure/permit.
  • All National Wildlife Refuges which are open to fall turkey quota hunts based on county designation, close for the season ½ hour after sunset on Nov. 10, except as otherwise noted.
  • A federal permit may be required for hunts. Quota permits are required for quota hunts and special federal regulations apply as specified. A signed refuge brochure serves as the permit for non-quota hunts, except on Tennessee and Cross Creeks where an annual permit is required for all hunts.
  • All antlered deer taken on National Wildlife Refuges count toward the statewide antlered deer bag limit except on NWR quota hunts or as otherwise noted. Antler-less deer taken on NWR quota hunts or where specific NWR hunt dates are listed are bonus deer except as otherwise noted.
  • On all Young Sportsman Hunts, youth, ages 6-16 (youth waterfowl 6-15), may participate but must be accompanied by an adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device. Adults cannot hunt except as indicated otherwise. Adults must comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters when accompanying young sportsmen on Young Sportsman Big Game Hunts, except as indicated. Youth, ages 6-16, may participate in other NWR hunts (big game, small game, waterfowl, etc.) but must be accompanied by an adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device, except as otherwise noted.
  • The use or possession of bait, or hunting over bait is strictly prohibited.  Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, or scattering of any salt, grain, powder, liquid, or other feed to attract game.
  • The use or possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited while on refuge lands and waters.
  • The cutting of holes, lanes, or any other manipulation of the vegetation (e.g. cutting of bushes and trees, mowing, herbicide use, and other actions) or hunting from or adjacent to manipulated areas is strictly prohibited. The possession of saws, machetes, axes, or other tools for cutting vegetation is prohibited.

Other Public Hunting Lands

Other TWRA lands not proclaimed as a WMA or refuge are open with statewide seasons unless otherwise indicated. 

Big Hill Pond State Park (McNairy Co.) Huntable Lands

The portion that is south of the railroad track is open to hunting during the statewide seasons. Wild hog may be taken during deer season by licensed deer hunters. Same as statewide. Deer seasons follow Unit CWD dates and bag limits, including August G/M/A Hunt.

Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area & Obed Wild and Scenic River Special Regulations

Taking wild hogs incidental to hunting requires a permit from the National Park Service.

Wild hogs may be taken during any deer hunt, by legal deer hunters.  After the January closure of deer season, small game and furbearer hunters may take wild hogs if they are legally hunting small game or furbearers with equipment that would otherwise be legal for deer hunting.  

Chasing wild hogs with dogs is not permitted.

These special regulations apply at Obed Wild and Scenic River only on the lands administered by the National Park Service.

For information call Big South Fork NRRA at (423) 569-9778 or the BSFNRRA Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275 or www.nps.gov/biso.

Fort Campbell Outdoor Recreation

(270) 798-2175 or www.fortcampbellmwr.com/Recreation/hunt- ing/index.html.

Holston Army Ammunition Plant - (423) 578-6276

Attn: Deer Hunt Information
4509 West Stone Drive
Kingsport, TN 37660

Long Hunter State Park (Davidson/Rutherford Counties)

Deer Hunt Archery only, including crossbow. Har- vested deer must be checked in at designated check-in station at park. Bag limit three deer, no more than one antlered. First deer harvested must be antler- less. Antlered deer count towards statewide bag. Hunter safety meeting required. For more specific information call (615) 885-2422.

Milan Army Ammunition Plant

(731) 686-6682  website: www.milanarsenalhunting.com

Tims Ford State Park Huntable Lands

Permit required, available at the Park Office. Same seasons and regulations as Owl Hollow Mill WMA. For more information call (931) 962-1183.

Tennessee State Forests Operated by Tennessee Division of Forestry.

State forests listed below are open to hunting during statewide seasons. For information concerning locations and state forest user regulations, consult website: www.state.tn.us/agriculture/forestry/stateforests.html 

Bledsoe State Forest, Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, Franklin State Forest, Lone Mountain State Forest, Stewart State Forest

State Natural Areas

The following State Natural Areas (SNAs) are open with the statewide season, except as noted. For more information on these areas, see the Tennessee SNAs website.

Big Cypress SNA, coincides with Obion River WMA regulations, Duck River Complex SNA, Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade SNA, Fate Sanders Barrens SNA, Fall Creek Falls SNA, Hampton Creek Cove SNA (Only turkey, grouse, rabbit, squirrel, and deer hunting (tree stands prohibited and archery only) allowed. Hunting dogs, dog training and motorized vehicles are prohibited), Ghost River SNA coincides with Wolf River WMA Unit 1 regulation for deer, Hicks Gap SNA, Reelfoot SNA coincides with Reelfoot WMA regulations, Sunk Lane SNA (northern unit only), Twin Arches SNA, Honey Creek SNA (No hunting in the No Hunt Zone around Chariot Lodge), Walker Branch SNA, William L. Davenport Refuge SNA

TWRA Public Hunting Areas (PHAs)

TWRA has established numerous PHAs; see list be- low. A PHA is not intensively managed that is established for the protection of wildlife species and public use by both consumptive and non-consumptive users. PHAs are generally small and isolated from other TWRA managed lands. General WMA Regulations also apply to PHAs. However, WMA Permits are not required on these lands.

For information on these areas and exact locations, search the interactive map.

Open with statewide seasons: Cowan Swamp (Franklin Co.), Shady Park (Robertson Co.), Battle Creek (Marion Co.), Whites Creek (Rhea Co.), Mullins Island (Cocke Co.)

Open with statewide seasons except archery equipment only for deer hunting: Anderson Pond (White Co.), Hampton Crossroads (White Co.), Long Branch (DeKalb Co.)

Open with seasons same as North Cherokee WMA: Big Springs (Sullivan Co.), Henderson Swamp (Washington Co.)

Hunting On TWRA Lakes

Hunting: Hunting is permitted during the regular hunting season on the following lakes and adjacent state lands, except on areas posted as safety zones: Garrett Lake, VFW Lake, Whiteville Lake, Coy Gaither Bedford Lake, Laurel Hill Lake, Carroll Lake (no big game hunting allowed on Carroll Lake and State-owned land adjacent thereto), and Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes.

Note: On the Oak Dain Wetland portion of Whiteville Lake deer seasons follow Unit CWD dates and bag limits, including August G/M/A Hunt.

Trapping: Trapping is allowed on Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes as set out in statewide regulations.

Waterfowl Hunting: Waterfowl hunting is per- mitted from temporary or natural blinds only on Garrett Lake, Laurel Hill Lake, Whiteville Lake, and Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes. Blinds and decoys must be removed daily from Garrett Lake, Whiteville Lake, and Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes. Boats may be used for waterfowl hunting on Garrett Lake, Laurel Hill Lake, Whiteville Lake, and Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes.