Prentice Cooper State Forest and WMA

Site Directions: From Chattanooga, take Hwy 27 to Signal Mountain exit.  Turn right onto Signal Mountain Rd. Turn left onto Hwy 27 (Suck Creek Rd.) Do not go up the mountain on Hwy 127.

Continue on Hwy 27 for approximately 8 miles (into Marion County). Watch for sign of your left that says Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area. Turn left at that sign.

Bear to left again at the junction, and turn left at the next road. A small sign says Prentice Cooper WMA.

Go about one mile to the check-in station on your left. Park at the check-in station.

Access at Haley Rd - Lat: 35.12581°N Long: -85.50161°W

Game reserve road entrance coordinates:  Lat: 35.168348  Long: -85419350

Shooting range entrance:  Lat: 35.162562  Long: -85.416045

Hours: daylight hours, except for camping 

Seasonality: year-round

Fees: none

Marion county • 24,000 acres

Unauthorized entry or presence is prohibited between sunset and sunrise.

Organized competition events for motorized vehicles is prohibited.

The maximum noise limit for all motorized vehicles is 86 dBa, as measured 50 feet from the exhaust, except as otherwise permitted.

The maximum speed limit is 25 mph or less if otherwise posted.

All side roads and trails will be closed to motorized vehicles Dec. 20, 2023 – March 15, 2024.

Big game hunters are required to check in big game at the WMA check station when station is in operation.

Closed to all hunting March 1–the fourth Friday in August, except during spring turkey and spring squirrel seasons.

Small Game is the same as statewide seasons, except as noted. Small game hunting and dog training will close at sunset the day before and during scheduled big game hunts unless otherwise indicated.

Closed to quail hunting

Fox - Opossum - Raccoon First Friday in Nov. 2023, -  end of Feb. 2024, except hunting will be limited to Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights only. Bag limit is one per party per night.

Deer (Archery) - One hunt: Sept. 16 - 18, 2023. Hunter quota 400. Two deer, no more than one antlered (bonus deer).

Deer (Archery) - One hunt: Sept. 19 - 22, 2023. Two deer, no more than one antlered (bonus deer). 

Deer (Muzzleloader) - Two hunts: Oct. 12 - 14, and Oct. 26 - 28, 2023. Hunter quota 250. Two deer, no more than one antlered (bonus deer).

Deer (Gun - Young Sportsman) - One hunt: Oct. 21 - 22, 2023. Two deer, no more than one antlered (bonus deer).

Deer (Gun) - One hunt: Nov. 3 - 5, 2023. One deer, antlered only (bonus deer).

Deer (Gun) - One hunt: Nov. 25 - 30, 2023. Two deer, antlered only (bonus deer).

Turkey - Six hunts: April 16–18, 19–21, 24–26, May 2–4, 7–9, 14–16, 2024. One bearded turkey per day. Counts toward statewide bag limit.

Trapping - Dec. 2 - 12, 2023

Dog training - Sept. 1, 2023 - March 15, 2024

Firing Range - Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only, during daylight hours. Closed during big game hunts. Permit required.

Camping - Hunter check station and campground is open year-round (No Access to WMA During Big Game Hunts)

Davis Pond campground- open year-round, closed during big game hunts (Must be at the campground by sunset, no riding around privileges after sunset)

Tennessee Wall Campground is open year-round (no access to the area during big game hunts).

Site Description: Prentice Cooper State Forest is located in southeastern Tennessee, in Marion County.  The forest is approximately 10 miles west of Chattanooga. It is situated on the scenic Tennessee River Gorge.

Approximately 6,939 acres are designated as unregulated scenic zones that protect this view shed and other scenic areas of the forest. Hicks Gap Natural Area (350 acres) also occurs in the forest and was developed to protect the federally endangered Large-flowered Skullcap.

The forest also includes several in-holdings owned by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and 3 cemeteries. Management activities of the forest focus primarily on sustainable timber management, forest management demonstration, and wildlife habitat improvement while maintaining recreational opportunities for the public.

There are 35 miles of hiking trails, including the south end of the Cumberland Trail State Park. There also are two designated camping areas.

Hunting has been a traditional use of the forest. Other recreational activities include OHV use in designated areas, rock climbing, hiking,

Mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching, and camping.

Wildlife to Watch: Woodland birding can be excellent in spring and fall migration with a large number of birds passing through Tennessee.

Red-eyed VireoOvenbirdWood ThrushScarlet Tanager and other forest birds are commonly found in summer.

Contact Information

Region 3 Office: 931-484-9571
Toll-Free:  833-402-4698
E-mail the office
Area Manager: Marty Griffith (423) 658-0298


Interactive Map
Hunting Regulations Link
Driving Directions
Buy a license link
Prentice Cooper WMA Sign