South Cherokee WMA

Site Directions:

Bee House Gap  N35.40718 W084.08820

Eagle Gap  N35.36409 W084.10667

Cantrell Bridge Bald River  N35.28858 W084.18583

Basin Gap  N35.29007 W084.20623

Beech Gap  N35.34825 W084.03819

Grassy Gap  N35.35720 W084.08707

Lower Crowder Field  N35.43857 W084.05190

Farr Gap  N35.46341 W084.027355

Buck Bald  N35.20357 W084.32372

Indian Boundary N35.40205 W084.10683

North River Check Station N35.31357 W084.12595

North River check station is 2500 River Road, Tellico Plains, TN 37385

Citico Creek Check Station N35.53808 W084.10946

Tellico Lake/South Cherokee Workbase is 1111 Hwy. 360, Vonore, TN 37885


Tennessee-North Carolina state line (South of the Great Smokies National Park)
300,000 acres
Includes former Ocoee and Tellico Units.

Bear reserves are closed to all big game hunting when the bear season (dogs permitted) is open on the South Cherokee.

It is illegal to possess firearms with any breed of dog other than pointing breeds during daylight hours, excluding bear season, except as provided.

Cherokee WMA Nonquota Big Game permit or Sportsman License is required to hunt the nonquota big game hunts.

Some roads normally open to public travel may be closed from Dec. 15, 2023 - March 31, 2024.

Wild hog may be taken during any deer or bear hunt with no limit.

During gun and muzzleloader, Big Game hunts all wild hog hunters must comply with the blaze orange requirements.

A bear hunter who has filled the daily or seasonal limit may continue to carry a firearm and take wild hogs where the incidental taking is allowed.

Closed to all hunting March 1 through the 4th Friday in Aug., except turkey season.

Grouse, Rabit, Snipe, Waterfowl, Squirrel, Woodcock, Dove: Same as statewide, except as noted.

Quail: Nov. 4, 2023 - Jan. 15, 2024.   

Small game hunters, except raccoon and opossum hunters, must wear 500 square inches of blaze orange during big game muzzleloader and gun hunts.

Spring squirrel season is closed.

Small game hunting in bear reserves and party hunt areas during scheduled party hunts is prohibited one day before and during bear (dogs permitted) hunts.

Dogs are permitted for squirrel hunting outside of bear reserves during bear dog hunts and Jan. 1 - the last day of February.

Squirrel hunters utilizing dogs during bear hunts are limited to a maximum of 2 dogs per vehicle.

Season open on groundhog, fox, and skunk during any small game hunt with weapons legal for that small game hunt.

Bobcat may be taken on any scheduled big game or small game hunt that coincides with the statewide bobcat season with weapons legal for that scheduled hunt.  Bobcat hunting with dogs is prohibited.

Beaver and coyote may be taken on any hunt with weapons legal for that hunt. 

Deer/Bear (Archery)Sept. 16 - 28, 2023 one deer, antlered or antlerless, counts toward statewide bag limit. One bear either sex outside the bear reserve.

Deer (Muzzleloader) - One hunt: Oct. 23 - 29, 2023. One deer, antlered only (deer counts towards statewide bag limit).

Deer (Gun - Young Sportsman) - One hunt: Oct. 21 - 22, 2023.  One deer, antlered or antlerless (deer counts towards statewide bag limit).

Deer (Gun) - Two hunts: Nov. 18 - 26, 2023, Dec. 12 - 26, 2023. Two deer, antlered only (deer counts towards statewide bag limit)

Bear (Gun - Dogs Permitted) - Five hunts: Sept. 30–Oct. 1 2023, Oct. 7–13 2023, Oct. 30–Nov. 3 2023, Nov. 27–Dec. 10 2023.  One bear, either sex. Hunting confined to that area outside the Ocoee and Tellico Bear Reserves.

Bear Party - Dog Hunts (Gun - Dogs Permitted) - Four hunts: Sept. 30–Oct. 1 2023, Oct. 7–8 2023, Oct. 30–31 2023, Nov. 27–28 2023.

Quota party dog hunts, 75 permits per party. One party permitted in each of the following areas: Upper Tellico, Lower Tellico, Upper Bald River, and Lower Bald River. One bear, either sex. Party-Dog Area closed during scheduled quota party-dog hunts.  

Non-hunting juveniles under the age of 13 may accompany an adult hunter (18 years old or older) who has a valid party-hunt permit. Juveniles must also comply with all regulations specified for permitted hunters.

Opossum, Raccoon: Outside of Tellico and Ocoee Bear Reserves Nov. 4 - 16, 2023 and Jan. 1 - last day of Feb. 2024. Inside Tellico and Ocoee Bear Reserves Jan. 1 - 31, 2024, hunters are limited to a maximum of two dogs per vehicle. The only legal weapons on a raccoon hunt are .22 caliber short and long rifles.

Bear Season Dog Training:  Sept. 6 - 15, 2023. No bears may be harvested. No weapons may be possessed. No training in bear reserves.

TurkeySame as statewide spring turkey season.

Trapping:   Jan. 1 - through the last day of Feb 2024

Shooting Range: Open daylight hours only. 

Safety Zone - On the Cherokee WMA, hunting or discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a developed recreation area, campsite, residence, building, or occupied area, across or on a National Forest system road. Contact the appropriate U.S. Forest Service office for more information.

Horseback riding - Horseback riding on properties owned by the U.S. Forest Service shall be the same as U.S. Forest Service regulations. Contact the U.S. Forest Service (423-476-9700). On those properties owned or leased by the TWRA, horseback riding is only allowed upon roads opened for vehicle travel. No riding off-road into openings, fields, trails, or streams.

Dog training: Dog training is prohibited unless otherwise specified.   The use or possession of any electronic tracking devices from March 1 - Aug. 15 is illegal.  Hunting of coyotes with dogs is prohibited.

Camping: On Forest Service sites, available seasonally.

Contact Information

Region 3 Office: 931-484-9571
Toll-Free:  833-402-4698
E-mail the office 

Interactive Map
Hunting Regulations Link
Driving Directions
Buy a license link
USFS Southern Region Prescribed Burn Tracker. When hunting the South Cherokee, use this tool to plan your hunt regarding upcoming and past prescribed fire locations