Skip to Main Content

Migratory Birds


Waterfowl Seasons and Bag Limits

-Daily Bag Limit: The maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season in any one specified geographic area for which a daily bag limit is prescribed.
-Possession Limit: The maximum number of birds that could have legally been taken in three (3) days, except on opening day and the second day of the season when the possession limit is the daily bag limit and two times the daily bag limit, respectively.

Species Statewide Duck Zone

(the remainder of
the state outside
the Reelfoot Lake
duck Zone)

Reelfoot Duck Zone (the lands and waters
within the boundaries
of Reelfoot Lake
 WMA only)
Daily Bag Limit Possession Limit
Ducks
Coots
Mergansers
Nov. 25- 26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Jan. 28, 2018
Nov. 11-12, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Jan. 28, 2018
Ducks: 6, and may include no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be female), 3 scaup, 3 wood ducks, 1 pintails, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 2 black duck.
Coots: 15
Mergansers: 5 (only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers)

Ducks:  3 times the daily bag limit.

Coots: 45

Mergansers:  3 times the daily bag limit.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season*
(for youths 6-15 years of age)
Feb. 3, 2018 &
Feb. 10, 2018
Feb. 3, 2018 &
Feb. 10, 2018
*Federal Regulations allow only youth waterfowl hunters from 6-15 years of age to participate. An adult at least 21 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field and must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult. Anyone 16 years of age or older within 25 yards of the youth may not hunt any migratory gamebird that has an open seasons. Geese, coots, gallinules, moorhens, and ducks may be taken by youths during the Youth Waterfowl Season. WMA's with special closing times are open all day, each day of the Youth Waterfowl Season.
Seasons close at the end of legal shooting hours on the closing date listed.

Species Standard Season Light Goose
Conservation Season*
Daily Bag Limit Possession Limit
Blue, Snow & Ross' Geese
(Light Geese)
Standard federal regulations apply (unplugged shotguns and electronic calls NOT allowed)
Nov. 25-26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Feb. 10, 2018

The following provisions apply during the Light Goose Conservation Season only: Unplugged shotguns, electronic calls, shooting from 30 minutes before official sunrise until 30 minutes after official sunset, no daily bag or possession limit. 

Feb. 11- Mar. 9, 2018

Standard season: 20
Conservation season:
no limit
There is no possession limit for blue, snow and ross' geese except on opening day and the second when the possession limit is the daily bag limit and two times the daily bag limit, respectively.
White-Fronted Geese Nov. 25-26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Feb. 10, 2018
- 2 6
Brant Nov. 25- 26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Jan. 28, 2018
- 2 6
*A Light Goose Conservation Season Permit and valid hunting license (from any state) are requiredfor all hunters over 16 years of age to participate in this season, available in late January.

Canada Goose Zones
Species Statewide Canada Goose Zone
All counties and portions of
counties not included in the
Northwest Zone.
Northwest Canada Goose Zone
Lake, Obion, and Weakley County, excluding
that portion south of Hwy. 104; and
Gibson County excluding that portion
bounded on the south by Hwy 104 and
on the west by Hwy 45W.
Daily Bag Limit Possession Limit
Canada Geese Oct. 14-31, 2017
Nov. 25-26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Jan. 28, 2018
Oct. 14-18, 2017
Nov. 11-12, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017- Feb. 10, 2018
3 9

September Duck and Goose Seasons 2017

1. Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit required.

2. Not to exceed 2 wood ducks. Total bag of 6 ducks.

Species Opens Closes Daily Bag Limit
Canada goose1 Sep. 1 Sep. 15 5
Wood duck/Teal1 Sep. 9 Sep. 13 62
Teal Only1 Sep. 14 Sep. 17 6

Waterfowl Quota Hunts (Computerized/Hand Held Draw)

Blind/pool sites at Bogota, Chickamauga (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek Units), Gooch (Unit E), Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Natural Area, Thorny Cypress, White Oak (Lebanon Pond area) will be allocated by a computerized drawing. Hunters can apply through any TWRA license agent or on the internet at www.tnwildlife.org from Sept. 7-28, 2016. There is a $12 application fee plus a $1 license agent fee for applying through a TWRA license agent. For applying on the internet the application fee is $12 plus a $2.50 fee charged by the company handling internet sales. Lifetime, Annual, and Senior Citizen Sportsman license holders are exempt from the application fee.  Hunters that are drawn will be notified in late October.

Hunters that are successful in drawing a blind/pool site on Gooch (Unit E), Bogota, Thorny Cypress, and White Oak (Lebanon Pond Area) must, two weeks or more prior to their hunt date, return to TWRA a “Notice of Intent” which states they do intend to hunt their assigned blind/pool. Hunters that are successful in drawing a blind site on Chickamauga (Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek) and Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Natural Area must, by Nov. 4, 2016, return to TWRA a “Notice of Intent” which states they do intend to hunt their assigned blind pool.

If the “Notice of Intent” is not received by TWRA by the specified deadline, the blind/pool will become vacant. Any vacant blinds/pools will be reallocated by a hand-held drawing.

For the Candies Creek, Johnson Bottoms, Rogers Creek, and Yellow Creek Units of Chickamauga, a hand-held drawing for vacant blinds will be held Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 at 6 p.m. (EST) at the Hiwassee Refuge, 525 Priddy Lane, Birchwood, TN 37308. Information concerning availability of vacant blinds/pools can be obtained at www.tnwildlife.org, or by contacting the Region III Office at 1-800-262-6704.

For Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, hand-held drawings for vacant blind sites will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Registration for the drawings will begin at 8 a.m. and take place at 10 a.m. at the Park Recreation Lodge (for information contact Chris Park at (901) 876-5169).

Gooch (Unit E) hand-held drawings for vacancies will occur each Monday from Nov. 21 - Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Kenton Gym, 206 West College St., Kenton, TN 38233. For more information contact Larry Armstrong at (731) 749-5587.

White Oak (Lebanon Pond area) will conduct hand-held drawings for vacant blind sites on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the Milledgeville City Park, behind the Milledgeville Fire Station off of Highway 22A (for information contact Chad Harden at (731) 687-3444).

For Bogota and Thorny Cypress, hand-held drawings for vacancies will occur each Monday from Nov. 21 - Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Dyersburg TWRA Workbase.  Information concerning availability of vacant blinds/pools can be obtained at www.tnwildlife.org, or by contacting Jason Maxedon at (731) 285-6124.

All hunting on computer drawn areas is permitted only from designated temporary blind sites. A blind may not be hunted unless a hunter who was drawn for that blind site and hunt date is present and possesses a valid TWRA blind site confirmation number.

If a drawn hunter is not present the blind site will not be hunted.

A hunter drawn for a blind may bring up to four additional hunters. Decoys and temporary blinds may be left out during the specified hunt period but may not be set out until the first day of your permitted hunt.

No portion of a blind used for discharging firearms at game may be locked or barricaded when the blind is not in use.

Waterfowl Hunting on WMA

Annual Draw Blinds (1st Saturday in August)

Hand-held drawings will be held on the first Saturday in August for waterfowl blind sites on AEDC (Woods Reservoir), Barkley (Unit I), Big Sandy (including Gin Creek Unit), Camden (Units I and II), Cheatham Lake, Gooch (Unit A), Harmon Creek, Haynes Bottom, Old Hickory (Units I and II), Reelfoot, Tigrett and West Sandy WMAs. 

Individuals wishing to compete in the drawing must appear in person at the designated location and submit an application between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.  The drawings will be held immediately after the last person signs up.  One application is permitted per person and no one may apply for more than one area. Each applicant must be at least sixteen (16) years of age to compete in the drawing or sign-on.   A valid Lifetime, Annual or Senior Citizen Sportsman License, or an Annual WMA Small Game and Waterfowl Permit (along with a Type 001 or 071 as appropriate) are the minimum needed to enter the blind site drawings in August.  For full list of license requirements to waterfowl hunt, see above.

The permittee, who is the person to whom the TWRA issued a permit, or any of their sign-ons, must occupy the blind by the legal shooting time on days they wish to hunt. The permittee or sign-ons have priority use (exclusive and uninterrupted) only if they are in the blind on or before the legal shooting time, regardless of whether or not the blind is occupied by another person or party, provided the permittee produces identification and his/her blind permit.  

If a blind is not occupied by the permittee or a sign-on by legal shooting time, the first person or party occupying the blind 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, at the person’s or party’s option, except for law enforcement personnel engaged in the performance of their duties;

No more than 8 individuals, age 16 or older, may occupy a permanent (annual) draw blind at any time; no restrictions on the number of youths under age 16.

All decoys must be removed by the owner of the blind within ten days after the close of waterfowl season, unless otherwise indicated under the individual WMA listing. Refer to the Waterfowl Hunting Guide for additional restrictions.

Waterfowl hunting on all the above WMAs (except Big Sandy, Camden (Unit II), Harmon Creek, Reelfoot, and West Sandy) permitted only from permanent blind sites allocated by the annual hand-held drawing, unless otherwise specified.

On Big Sandy, Camden (Unit II), Harmon Creek, Reelfoot, and West Sandy, hunting is permitted from registered blind sites and from temporary blinds or hides.  Temporary blinds and decoys must be at least 200 yards from any permanent blind.  Blinds, blind materials, boats, hides and decoys must be removed at the end of shooting hours each day.

Walk-in Areas (no special permits needed)

Hunting is permitted on several WMAs (or special portions of WMAs) with only the required license(s) and a WMA Permit (no special quota or draw permits required).  Areas with Walk-In hunting include:   Big Sandy, Camden (Unit II), Harmon Creek, Reelfoot, and West Sandy, hunting is permitted from registered blind sites and from temporary blinds or hides.  Temporary blinds and decoys must be at least 200 yards from any permanent blind.  Blinds, blind materials, boats, hides and decoys must be removed at the end of shooting hours each day.

Wheelchair-bound Blinds

Wheelchair-bound hunts, zones, or blinds are open to hunters who are totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair as certified by a physician. Certain WMAs have special blind sites established for wheelchair-bound hunters which include: Camden, Cheatham Lake, North Chickamauga Creek, Old Hickory, Reelfoot, and West Sandy. See specific WMAs for regulations. 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 the hunt.

West Sandy wheelchair-bound hunts are first-come, first-served. Applications for Cheatham and Old Hickory are available from the Region II office, (615) 781-6622. Applications for Camden and Reelfoot are available  below and at the Region I office (731-423-5725) or Reelfoot office (731-253-7343). Information for North Chickamauga Creek (Varner Unit) is available from the Region III Office, (931-484-9571). Applications for wheelchair-bound hunts must be received by noon on the fourth Friday of October at the Region I Office (Camden), Reelfoot Office (Reelfoot), or Region II Office (Cheatham and Old Hickory)

Temporary Blinds & Decoys

Temporary blinds and decoys must be removed at the end of shooting hours each day, unless otherwise indicated under the individual WMA listing.

All decoys must be removed by the owner of the blind within ten days after the close of waterfowl season, unless otherwise indicated under the individual WMA listing. Refer to the 2011 Waterfowl Guide for additional restrictions.

Youths Hunting Waterfowl on a WMA

Youths, ages 6–15, must be accompanied by an adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in position to take immediate control of the hunting device except as otherwise noted.

Waterfowl Federal Regulations Summary

In addition to state regulations, the following federal rules apply to taking, possession, shipping, transporting and storing of migratory game birds. This is only a summary, Each hunter should also consult actual regulations, which may be found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

Restrictions

No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10-guage, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  • From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven vehicle, or any aircraft, except that paraplegic and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle. "Paraplegic" means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs, usually due to disease or injury to the spinal cord.
  • From or by means of any motor boat or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled and its progress therefore has ceased.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting and confined within as enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
  • Using records or tapes of migratory bird sounds, or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls.
  • By driving, rallying or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sail boat to put them in range of hunters.
  • By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any baited areas. Hunters should be aware that a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait, and it is not necessary for the hunter to know an area is baited to be in violation.

Closed Season

No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season.

Shooting or Falconry Hours

No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting and falconry as prescribed.

Daily Bag Limit

No person shall take more than one daily bag limit per day.

Field Possession Limit

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or while returning from the field to one's car, hunting camp, home, etc.

Tagging

No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: The hunter's signature, address, the total number of birds involved by species and the dates such birds were killed. No person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged

Possession of Live Birds

Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.

Dressing

No person shall completely field dress any migratory game bird (except doves and band-tailed pigeons) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to one's home or to a migratory bird preservation facility.

Shipment

No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with:

  1. the name and address of the person sending the birds.
  2. the name and address of the person to whom th birds are being sent, and
  3. the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.

Importation

For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between a port of entry and one's home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed an any foreign country, except Canada.