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Reelfoot WMA

Located about 5 miles NE of Tiptonville, TN and east of TN Highway 78, Lake County, TN

Site Directions: From Tiptonville, TN take TN Highway 78 north and northeast. Go about 3 miles. 

The Wildlife Management Area lies east of Highway 78 and may be accessed by several roads (Eagle Nest Road, Ernie Pierce Road, Choctaw-McCutcher Road) leading east from the Highway (look for signs). 

Lat: 36.44052°N Long: -89.41579°W (entrance to the WMA on Ernie Pierce Rd)

Seasonality: year round

Fees: none

Site Description: The area contains a mix of habitats across its 24,000 acres.   The more elevated lands contain cultivated fields and a mix of shrub and early successional forest habitats. 

Wetter and lower elevation areas contain bottomland hardwood and cypress swamp habitats.

There are also freshwater sloughs, bayous, marshes, and some lake habitat.

There is a wetland area that is pumped with water for waterfowl in winter (and hunting access for handicapped hunters).

At the end of the road is a small parking area with a trailhead. The trail traverses through the woods for upwards of a mile.

Site History: Reelfoot Lake was created by a series of earthquakes in the winter of 1811-12.

Although the lake was up to 40 feet deep, excessive siltation from poor land use practices surrounding the lake has led to the lake being generally less than 20 ft deep. 

Wildlife to Watch: 
Site is a good location to observe waterfowl in the winter when up to 750,000 individuals may use the site at one time!

Large numbers of Bald Eagles may be seen in winter, although several pairs nest around Reelfoot Lake.

Woodland birds are generally good and many species may be seen along the hiking trail.

Prothonotary Warblers are a common breeding bird, while migrant birds of most species occurring in Tennessee can be found here.

Short-eared Owls are found in the vicinity in winter months.

Reelfoot Lake is the only place where some species of water snakes can be found in Tennessee.

Across all protected lands on and around Reelfoot, there have been many mammalsamphibians and reptiles documented.

NOTE: Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.  For more information:

Tennessee Hunting Guide

TWRA WMA Rules and Regulations

Tennesee Fishing Guide

US Fish and Wildlife Service web page

Reelfoot NWR map

Reelfoot State Park - Tennessee State Parks web page

Reelfoot Lake Class I Scenic-Recreational State Natural Area web page