Acts of disorderly, obnoxious or boisterous conduct, including acts which interfere with the orderly process of hunting, are prohibited. Violators shall be removed from the area and/or prosecuted.
Possession of any alcoholic beverage, narcotic drug, barbiturate or marijuana while hunting within the management area is prohibited. No individual may be under the influence of these substances at any time while within a management area. The use of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited on these areas year round: Catoosa, Cheatham, Chuck Swan, Forks of the River, Laurel Hill, Pea Ridge, and Prentice Cooper, except in designated camping areas.
Statewide bag and possession limits apply unless special exception is indicated.
The placement or depositing of any type of food to feed or attract wildlife on WMAs is prohibited.
Use, possession or transportation of firearms, bows and arrows or other arms and ammunition is expressly prohibited except when authorized. Firearms loaded with ammunition in either the chamber or magazine may not be transported in vehicles.
Recent legislative changes provide that individuals who possess a carry permit may possess their handgun while on TWRA wildlife management areas, public hunting areas or refuges open to hunter access. The handgun may not be used for taking game unless specifically permitted by TWRA regulation. This change will now allow those with carry permits to possess their handgun at times when previously it would not have been permissible such as during archery hunting. TWRA will apply this same interpretation to those possessing carry permits while hunting on private lands.
Horses are permitted on roads and trails open to motorized traffic and other trails or routes established for their use, except as otherwise indicated. Riding off roads into fields, woods or on foot trails is prohibited unless otherwise provided.
Hunters (except raccoon, opossum, turkey, and waterfowl hunters) may not enter prior to one hour before sunrise, and they must be out of the area by one hour after sunset. Raccoon and opossum hunters must be out of the area by one hour after sunrise except on Cherokee WMA. Public access will be prohibited in the sub-impoundments of Barkley Unit I, Cheatham Lake, Haynes Bottom, Old Hickory Units I and II, Camden Units I and II, Big Sandy, Gooch Unit A, Tigrett, and West Sandy from two hours after legal waterfowl shooting hours have ended until 4:00 a.m. the following day during the late duck season(s).
Hunting Near Private Dwellings
It is unlawful to hunt, shoot at, chase or kill with or without dogs, any wild animal, wild bird, or wild fowl on public lands and waters within 100 yards of a visible dwelling house, without the owner's permission,whether or not such a dwelling is on public or private lands.
No litter or sewage shall be deposited in the area.
All motorized vehicles must be muffler equipped to suppress noise and be spark-arrestor equipped to prevent fires. Operation of motorized vehicles is confined to roads not designated as closed. Off-road vehicles are restricted to roads open to other motorized traffic (except where prohibited by state or federal statute) and designated trails only. ORVs may be operated during daylight hours and at other times when participating in authorized activities.
Driving off roads into woods, fields or utility right-of-ways is prohibited for all motorized vehicles.
Motorized vehicles may be prohibited on any Agency-owned Wildlife Management Area if deemed necessary to protect wildlife, vegetation and/or property. Some exceptions apply. See individual WMAs for specific restrictions.
WMA Property Conservation
No person shall damage or remove any trees or other plants, dirt, gravel or sod from any Wildlife Management Area or other Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency-controlled lands without specific authorization.
No species of wildlife may be harassed except those authorized for the hunt and no animal killed shall be dismembered to the extent that its species and sex cannot be identified before checking out of the area.
Overnight camping may be permitted on designated areas by permission from area manager, park ranger, lake manager, park superintendent or national forest supervisor. Such camping is subject to the limitation prescribed in the permit, if required. On areas where overnight camping is permitted, weapons must remain in camp except during legal hunting hours. Individuals authorized to carry handguns (those with handgun permits) may not carry their sidearms within Wildlife Management Areas except on authorized hunts and then only during specified hunting hours.
Pen-raised Game Birds
The release of pen-raised game birds on WMAs is prohibited unless otherwise specified.
Hunting is prohibited in safety zones except where provided.
Target practice is prohibited except on designated ranges.
Unauthorized persons are prohibited from being in the area during big game hunts except when indicated. Unauthorized persons are prohibited from being in the Wildlife Management Area during managed turkey hunts, except on the Cherokee, Royal Blue, Sundquist, Tellico Lake, and Land Between the Lakes Wildlife Management Areas. Only persons having valid turkey hunt permits for the hunt date are authorized to be on the management area.
Exception: A licensed hunter may accompany a hunter with a valid permit to assist him in calling. The assisting hunter may not have a firearm in his possession at any time and may not harvest a bird. Check with the WMA area manager before to the hunt date.
Fanning or Reaping Wild Turkeys: On WMA lands, the practice of fanning or reaping is prohibited. Fanning/reaping is defined as hunting or stalking wild turkeys while holding or using for hunter concealment any of the following items: a tail fan, a partial or full decoy with a tail fan, or a tail fan mounted to a firearm. Tail fans include those made of real or synthetic feathers or an image or likeness of a tail fan applied to any material.
Wild Turkey Calling
Calling or attempting to call wild turkeys using any sound that mimics those made by a wild turkey is prohibited from March 1 to the opening day of the spring turkey hunts on all WMAs.
Hunters are to retrieve all crippled or dead game if possible and prohibits disposal of dead wildlife on WMAs.
Wheelchair-bound Hunts, Zones, or Blinds
These are open to hunters who are totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair as certified by a physician. On wheelchair-bound deer hunts, each wheelchair-bound hunter must be accompanied by a non-hunting assistant (age 16 years or older), except on Cordell Hull WMA and Yuchi WMA, where the assistant may also participate in hunting. On wheelchair-bound waterfowl hunts, each wheelchair-bound hunter must be accompanied by at least one, but not more than three assistants (at least one of whom must be age 16 years or older), who may also participate in hunting.
Permits Required on WMAs
SG - Small game WMA permit or combination waterfowl and small game WMA permit.
A small game permit is also required for trapping.
WF - Combination waterfowl and small game WMA permit.
BG - Big game quota trip permit or non-quota WMA annual permit.
NP - No permit required.
Big Game Hunting on WMAs
WMAs with a "BG" after the name require a Big Game WMA Permit in order to hunt big game, in addition to the regular hunting and big game licenses. There are two types of big game WMA permits for all WMAs depending upon the hunt: Quota and Annual Non-quota Special Season/WMA Big Game. Quota Permits must be obtained by application to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and are allocated based upon a computer random drawing. Annual Non-quota Special Season/WMA Big Game Permits (Type 094) or Type 167 permits are available at all license agents and offices of the TWRA and are valid for all non-quota big game hunts, including the Cherokee WMA, for the entire license year. Lifetime Sportsman and Sportsman License holders do not need to purchase the non-quota permit, and may apply for quota permits at no charge.
On the Cherokee WMA, a Type 094, Type 095, or Type 167 permit is required to hunt big game and is valid for all non-quota Cherokee WMA big game hunts. Type 095 permits are not valid for any other WMA.
Anyone hunting with a borrowed permit will be prosecuted for hunting during closed season. WMA permits are not transferable.
Youth Hunting Big Game On A WMA
An appropriate hunting license and proof of Hunter Education certification is required if 10 years or older. All youths 6-16 are required to have a WMA permit (Type 094) or a quota permit where applicable, unless they are hunting with a Lifetime License. Youths age 6-16 may also apply for WMA quota hunts. Youths age 6-16 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, who is not required to have a license (if not hunting) but must wear 500 square inches of fluorescent orange.
Specific Young Sportsman's Hunts
Proof of hunter education certificate is required for youths 10 years of age and older. Young Sportsman's deer hunts are for youths 6 through 16 unless otherwise noted. Proper licenses and permits are required. Each youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Both adult and youth must wear 500-square inches of fluorescent orange.
Quota Hunt Permits
When available, you can obtain an instruction sheet at any TWRA license agent, TWRA regional office, or online.
The applications can only be processed by TWRA license agents, personnel at a TWRA regional office, or online. If applying in person, remain until your application is processed to verify that the information is correct and to receive your receipt with your confirmation number. DO NOT MAIL THE INSTRUCTION SHEET.
If you have questions, call (615) 781-6621 during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central Time). A computer drawing will be conducted to determine successful applicants. Permits are nontransferable and hunt dates may not be changed.
Vacancy permits, if any, will be announced and sold on a first come, first served basis by TWRA license agents or online.
Cherokee Party Dog Hunts
Applications are available from the TWRA Region III Office (931) 484-9571.
Muzzleloaders are legal on all gun hunts except where indicated under the individual WMA listings.
Deer Bag Limits
For WMAs open with the statewide deer season, deer harvested count towards statewide bag limits. Deer taken on antlered deer-only hunts male or female deer must have antler protruding above the hairline. On antlerless only hunts, antlerless deer are defined as male or female deer with no antler protruding above the hairline.
Turkey Bag Limits
Turkey bag limit for spring turkey season is one bearded turkey per day unless otherwise indicated.
The use of wire, nails or other metal material is prohibited in the building or attaching of climbing devices or hunting stands. Portable devices or stands that do not injure trees can be used. Hunting from permanent, attached stands is prohibited. Leaving any personal property, including tree stands, unattended for more than 24 hours is prohibited without prior approval of the area manager.
Small Game Hunting on WMAs
In order to hunt or trap small game on WMAs with a "SG" after the name, individuals are required to have one of the following permits in addition to the regular hunting or trapping license. (The exception: Lifetime Sportsman, Sportsman License holders or youths age 6-16 who are accompanied by an adult with a valid permit). Annual Senior Citizen Permit (Type 167); Annual Small Game only (Type 093); 1-Day Small Game and Waterfowl (Type 092); or Annual Small Game and Waterfowl (Type 091).
Closures during big game hunts
Closures may apply; see specific WMA listing for those closures.
WMA Availability For Hunting Small Game
Fox, groundhog, and striped skunk hunting permitted on all Wildlife Management Areas during any scheduled small game hunt unless special exception is indicated.
Crow may be taken on small game hunt days that coincide with the statewide crow season.
Falconry open with statewide falconry seasons.
Bobcat may be taken on any hunt that coincides with the statewide bobcat season except Oak Ridge WMA.
Raccoon and opossum hunting is from sunset of the date shown to sunrise of the next day. Raccoon hound field trials permitted September 1 - April 30 unless prohibited.
Small game hunting with center-fire weapons
Rifles and handguns using center-fire ammunition are prohibited from hunting all small game species on Wildlife Management Areas with only a few exceptions: Rifles and handguns using center-fire ammunition are legal for hunting beaver, bobcat, foxes, coyotes, feral hogs, groundhogs, and crows, only during deer season and the hunter must be a licensed legal deer hunter. Coyotes and bobcats may be taken by big game hunters while hunting big game with any legal big game weapon or ammunition.
Small game (except raccoon) and retriever field trials permitted year-round with approval of the Area Manager unless otherwise specified.
Dogs During Hunting
Dogs allowed for small game hunting unless special exception is indicated. A permit is required for dog training on areas which require a small game permit. On Cherokee and LBL management areas, dogs allowed on improved roads and in permitted camping areas. All dogs must be detained by chain or leash if not being legally used for hunting. Dogs are allowed during the spring squirrel season except where noted.
Youth Hunting Small Game On WMAs
Youths, ages 6-16, must be accompanied by a permitted 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.
Waterfowl Hunting on WMAs
WMAs with a "WF" after the name require either an Annual Small Game and Waterfowl permit (Type 091); or a 1-Day Small Game and Waterfowl permit (Type 092) in addition to a regular hunting license (Type 001) and Waterfowl license (Type 005). There are three exceptions: Lifetime Sportsman License and Sportsman License holders, and youths age 6-16 who are accompanied by an adult with a valid permit, do not need a permit. Nonresidents, however, must have either a Type 091 or Type 092 in addition to their license.
A designated waterfowl hunt location is a marked location (via physical stake or Global Positioning System [GPS] coordinates) established by the TWRA upon which a permanent blind may be constructed, depending on Tier designation as determined by TWRA, at Barkley Unit I, Big Sandy (including Gin Creek Unit), Camden Units I and II, Cheatham Lake, Gooch Unit A, Haynes Bottom, Old Hickory Units I and II, Tigrett, AEDC (Woods Reservoir), West Sandy, and Reelfoot.
- Tier 1 designated hunt location is a marked location with a permanent blind assigned by a random drawing to a permittee for an entire waterfowl hunting season.
- Tier 2 designated hunt location is a marked location with a TWRA constructed and maintained permanent blind assigned by a random drawing to a permittee for a period of time during the waterfowl hunting season.
- Tier 4 designated hunt location is a marked location that may be hunted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tier 1 Blind Sites
Tier 1 permits will be valid for the entire regular waterfowl season. Hunters can apply through any TWRA license agent or at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com from June 29 – July 20, 2022. Tier 1 Locations shall have a permanent blind at the location built or maintained (if a permanent blind already exists) at the location, by the permittee(s). The maximum hunt party size for Tier 1 Locations is eight (8) adults, but there is no maximum party size for youth hunters. However, youth hunters (ages 6-15) must be accompanied by an adult at least eighteen (18) years of age while hunting a Tier 1 Location. All Tier 1 Location permanent blind construction and/or placement must be complete by the fourth Monday in October. To be considered complete, a permanent blind structure must be at least four (4) feet wide, four (4) feet high, and eight (8) feet long, but may not exceed thirty (30) feet in length and may not exceed three hundred (300) total square feet. The walls of the permanent blind structure must be solid material to which camouflage may be attached. A permanent blind structure at a Tier 1 Location must be in place and remain in place throughout the regular waterfowl season. All camouflage must be completed by opening day of regular waterfowl season. Any Tier 1 Location with a permanent blind structure not in compliance with the above requirements will result in the Tier 1 Location Permit being cancelled and the Tier 1 Location being designated as a Tier 4 Location for the remainder of the waterfowl season. Tier 1 Locations redesignated as Tier 4 Locations may be drawn as Tier 1 Locations the following year. If adverse environmental conditions prevent the construction and/or placement of a permanent blind at the site by the deadline, as determined by the TWRA, the area manager may grant an extension. The area manager must receive a written request for an extension, from a permittee, prior to the fourth Monday in October. Should these adverse environmental conditions persist and completely prevent the construction and/or placement of a blind on the site, as verified by the area manager, a permittee shall not be denied the opportunity to participate in the drawing the following year. Blinds rendered unusable or destroyed may be repaired or replaced at the discretion of the area manager. Permanent blinds built on Tier 1 Locations must be within five (5) feet of designated stakes or GPS coordinates. Permittee(s) must remove all associated blind materials, including all litter and trash, stakes, weights, and lines within fifteen (15) days after the last day of the regular waterfowl season or the last day of a special youth or military hunt, whichever occurs later. All blinds must be removed from Tier 1 locations by April 30, but an area manager may allow more time for removal upon written request. Any blind not removed will become the property of the TWRA for future use and/or destruction. If a Tier 1 Location permittee does not meet the deadline for having the blind on site, or violates any other provision of this rule, the permittee forfeits the permittee’s opportunity to participate in any waterfowl quota hunt drawing the following year. Successful applicants drawn for a Tier 1 Location are prohibited from applying, as an individual or in a party, for a Tier 2 or quota permit.
Tier 2 Blind Sites
Typically, Tier 2 permits will be valid for a two, three, or four-day hunt period. Hunters can apply through any TWRA license agent or at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com during three separate application periods (Early Segment Sept. 28 - Oct. 18; Mid Segment Oct. 26 - Nov. 15; Late Segment Nov. 16 - Dec. 6). Tier 2 Locations shall have a permanent blind at the location built and maintained by the TWRA. The maximum hunt party size for Tier 2 Locations is eight (8) adults, but there is no maximum party size for youth hunters. However, youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult at least eighteen (18) years of age while hunting a Tier 2 Location. A Tier 2 Location permittee must be present any time a Tier 2 Location is hunted. No other individual may hunt a Tier 2 Location even if a permittee is not in the blind by the legal daily opening shooting time. Permittee(s) are responsible for removal of all decoys, litter, and trash on the last day of the hunt period.
Tier 4 Locations
Tier 4 Locations may or may not have permanent blinds. Any permanent blinds at Tier 4 Locations are structures leftover from Tier 1 Sites that have become Tier 4 Locations because the successful applicant failed to construct a blind by the deadline. No person may construct new permanent blind structures at Tier 4 Locations. Temporary blinds may be used at Tier 4 Locations, but the blinds must be removed at the end of each day. Any temporary blinds and decoys must be removed from the area at the end of shooting each day. All temporary blinds must be within twenty-five (25) feet of designated stakes or GPS coordinates. No permit is required to hunt Tier 4 Locations, but the first person or party to the location before the legal daily opening shooting time has priority use (exclusive and uninterrupted use) of the location until the end of the shooting hours that day. Exclusive and uninterrupted use entitles the person or party to the right to exclude all others from the location, at the person’s or party’s option, except for law enforcement personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. The maximum hunt party size for Tier 4 Locations is eight (8) adults, but there is no maximum party size for youth hunters. However, youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult at least eighteen (18) years of age while hunting a Tier 4 Location. Any person or party hunting a Tier 4 Location is responsible for removal of all decoys, litter, and trash at the end of each day.
A waterfowl hunt permittee, an individual to whom the TWRA issued a permit for Tier 1 blinds, must occupy his/her blind or hunt location by the legal daily opening shooting time on days he/she wishes to hunt, and if the blind or hunt location is unoccupied at that time by the permittee, the first person or party occupying the blind ("blind hopper") shall be entitled to the privilege of its exclusive and uninterrupted use until the end of shooting hours that day. Exclusive and uninterrupted use entitles the person or party the right to exclude all others from the blind or hunt location at the person’s or party’s option, except for law enforcement personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. The permittee has priority use (exclusive and uninterrupted) only if he/she is at the blind or hunt location on or before the legal daily opening shooting time, even if the blind or hunt location is occupied by another person or party, provided the permittee produces identification and his/her permit. The “blind hopping” allowance does not apply to Tier 2 blinds.
Temporary hunt locations
Hunting will be permitted from permanent draw blinds and temporary blinds on Camden-Unit II, Big Sandy (including Gin Creek Unit), Barkley Unit II, Cordell Hull, Reelfoot, Tigrett, and West Sandy in accordance with statewide rules and regulations. Any temporary blinds and decoys must be at least two hundred (200) yards from any Tier 1, 2, or 4 waterfowl hunt locations blind and must be removed from the area at the end of shooting each day.
Hunters can apply for Tier 2 Sites through any TWRA license agent or at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com during three separate application periods (Early Segment Sept. 28 - Oct. 18; Mid Segment Oct. 26 - Nov. 15; Late Segment Nov. 16 - Dec. 6).
Notice of Intention (NOI)
Hunters that are successful in drawing a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Quota Permit must complete a notice of intention to claim their permit by the deadline established by the TWRA (Tier 1 Aug. 15; Early Segment Oct. 31; Mid Segment Nov. 28; Late Segment Dec. 19). The notice of intention (NOI) must be completed by each and every party member and indicate whether the successful applicant does or does not intend to hunt during the applicable permitted hunt period. Permits will be available to print after NOI completion. A confirmation number will be issued upon completion of the NOI. Successful parties where all members either indicate that they do not intend to hunt or fail to return all of their NOIs will result in the Tier 1 Site location being forfeited. Individuals in the party that fail to submit their NOI forfeit their individual permit. Any unclaimed or forfeited Tier 1 Site will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at the respective regional office for that Tier 1 Site. For Tier 2 and Quota Permit sites, any license holder may enter for a leftover drawing, but any applicant drawn must be present at the prescribed time and location to claim the permit.
Reelfoot and West Sandy (Springville Bottoms) permanent registered blinds
Reelfoot blinds must be registered with the TWRA from February 18 through July 31 and require the purchase of a Reelfoot Duck Blind Permit (Type 025). To register a permanent blind at West Sandy an individual must purchase a combination waterfowl and small game annual WMA permit or a sportsman’s license on or before July 31. By the first Saturday in August, the TWRA will verify whether a permanent registered blind site was renewed. Registration of permanent blinds at West Sandy will be in-person at Henry County Fairgrounds on the first Saturday in August. Individuals claiming blind sites on these areas may not compete for blind site drawings on other areas. All blind sites will be given a registration number, which must be displayed, using lettering 2 inches or larger inside the blind, or on a stake at floating blind sites. When floating blinds are moved to designated blind stakes, the number must be immediately transferred from the stake to the blind. No blind may be constructed, repaired or any floating blinds moved onto the area that have not met the deadlines for registering the blind and displaying the registration number. Unregistered and/or unnumbered blinds are subject to removal. No blind may be locked or barricaded to deny entrance to other hunters when the blind is not in use.
Mandatory Post-hunt Survey
Successful Tier 1, Tier 2, and Quota Permit applicants must complete and submit a Post-season Waterfowl Quota Hunt Report to the TWRA. The TWRA must receive the Post-season Waterfowl Quota Hunt Report by the required deadline, even if the permit holder did not participate in the hunt. Failure to submit a completed report by the deadline will disqualify the permit holder from entering into the following season’s drawing. Post-season Waterfowl Quota Hunt Report must be submitted at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com. Please verify your email is correct in your account so that you receive all communications.
Wheelchair-bound Blind Sites
Certain WMAs have special blind sites established for wheelchair-bound hunters. See specific WMAs for regulations if applicable. Properties with accessible blinds:
• Cheatham Lake
• Cordell Hull
• North Chickamauga Creek Varner Unit
• Old Hickory Unit 1
• West Sandy
Youth Hunting Waterfowl On A WMA
Youths, ages 6-16, must be accompanied by an adult, 18 years of age or older, who must remain in position to take immediate control of the hunting device except as otherwise noted.
Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl on a WMA
Veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), participate in the special Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Season on WMAs.
Trapping on WMAs
Other TWRA lands not proclaimed as a WMA or refuge are open with statewide seasons unless otherwise indicated.
Permits: A WMA small game permit is required to trap on all areas that require a small game hunt permit.