Waterfowl & Migratory Birds

2023-24 Hunting Guide
Tennessee Hunting Guide PDF Download - Spanish Version
duck

Migratory Bird Regulations


State Migratory Bird Regulations

  • Federal regulations relative to baiting, firearms, bag and possession limits, wanton waste, tagging, and methods of hunting are hereby adopted and will be applicable to hunting and/or taking of species listed.
  • No person shall hunt migratory game birds, except crows, with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three (3) shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three (3) shells.
  • All persons who hunt migratory game birds are required to have in their possession a valid Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit in addition to other required Tennessee licenses and permits, with the following exceptions:
  • disabled veterans
  • landowners hunting on their own land
  • lifetime license holders
  • residents of Tennessee under 13 years of age
  • residents of Tennessee who are 65 or older
  • Military personnel on leave or furlough
  • Refer to federal regulations 50 CFR Ch. 1 (21.41 and 21.43) for conditions and restrictions applicable to the taking of crows in certain depredation or health hazard situations outside of crow sport hunting season.
  • Pursuant to federal regulations, during the Light Goose Conservation Season, waterfowl hunters may use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls.

Youth Hunting

Youths, ages 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 except as otherwise noted. 

Federal Migratory Bird Regulations

In addition to state regulations, the following federal rules apply to taking, possessing, shipping, transporting, and storing 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 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 or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven vehicle, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics 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 motorboat or sailboat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled and its progress therefrom 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 an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
  • Using recordings of migratory bird sounds, or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls.
  • By driving, rallying, or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat 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.

Wanton Waste

All migratory game birds killed or crippled shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.

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.

Dual Violation

Violation of state migratory bird regulations is also a violation of federal regulations.

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 (a) the name and address of the person sending the birds, (b) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and (c) 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 in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required above), drawn and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp

The law requires that each waterfowl hunter, 16 years of age and over, must carry on his or her person a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) signed in ink across the face.

Caution

More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on federal regulations, contact:

Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
RM 132-C, U.S. Courthouse,
801 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203.
Telephone: 615-736-5532.

Please Report Banded Birds!

Reporting Banded Birds

The USGS Patuxent Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) encourages hunters to report banded birds. Band reports must be submitted through the mobile-friendly website, www.reportband.gov, by persons in the US and other countries, aside from Canada. Those who call the toll-free line will hear a message announcing the change and directing them to the website.

The BBL encourages everyone reporting a band to use www.reportband.gov. A report requires only around 5 minutes to complete online. After a report is submitted, the date and location where the bird was originally banded are provided and a Certificate of Appreciation along with additional banding details (date, location of banding) will be sent via email.

Capturing and banding birds requires considerable effort, and documenting the recovery or re-sighting of banded birds is essential to profit from that effort. Band recovery data are the basis for improving the conservation and knowledge of bird populations in North America. Please help the BBL, its many partners, and the birds of North America by continuing to report your band recoveries.

To Report Recovered Duck and Goose Bands: www.reportband.gov

Attention Hunters  ***  Special Regulations ***  

Plugged Shotguns

No person shall hunt migratory game birds, except crows, with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three (3) shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three (3) shells.

Legal Shot

All federally approved non-toxic shot (bismuth-tin, steel, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron,tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-bismuth or tungsten-tin iron-nickel) are legal for waterfowl and sandhill crane hunting. A complete list is available at www.FWS.govPossession or use of any loose shot other than a non-toxic shot or any shotgun shells other than non-toxic while hunting waterfowl, sandhill cranes, coots, gallinules, Virginia rails, and sora rails is prohibited. 

Migratory Bird Season Charts & Bag Limits


SPECIE S

OPENS

CLOSES

DAILY BAG*

Dove*

(Opens at noon on Sept. 1, 2023)

Sept. 1, 2023

Sept. 28, 2023

15**

Oct. 14, 2023

Nov. 5, 2023

15**

Dec. 8, 2023

Jan. 15, 2024

15**

Woodcock*

Nov. 11, 2023

Dec. 3, 2023

3

Jan. 10, 2024

Jan. 31, 2024

Gallinule and Moorhen*

Sept. 1, 2023

Nov. 9, 2023

15

 

Crow

June 11, 2023

July 12, 2023***

 

no limit

Sept. 1, 2023

Sept. 5, 2023

Sept. 9, 2023

Dec. 2, 2023***

Jan. 1, 2024

Feb. 28, 2024

Rails (Virginia and Sora)*

Sept. 1, 2023

Nov. 9, 2023

25

Snipe*

Nov. 14, 2023

Feb. 28, 2024

8

*  Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit required.

** No limit on Eurasian collared doves; however, any doves not readily identifiable as Eurasian collared doves will be considered mourning doves and count towards the mourning dove daily bag and possession limits.

*** Hunting is allowed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only.

The possession limit is three (3) times the daily limit for all migratory game birds, except on opening day when it shall be the same as the daily bag limit, and the second day of the season when it shall be twice the daily bag limit, and except for crows which have no limit.

Goose Seasons & Bag Limits


SPECIE S

STATEWIDE

DAILY BAG LIMIT

POSSE SSION LIMIT

 

Canada Goose

Sept. 1 – 17, 2023

Oct. 14 – 29, 2023

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 – Feb. 11, 2024

 

5 in Sept.

3 in all other Phases

 

 

The possession limit for Canada goose, White-fronted goose, and Brant is three (3) times the daily bag limit, except on opening day and the second day of the season when the possession limit is one (1) and two (2) times the daily bag limit, respectively.

White-Fronted Goose

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 – Feb. 11, 2024

3

 

Brant

Sept. 1 – 17, 2023

Oct. 14 – 29, 2023

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 – Feb. 11, 2024

 

1

 

 

Blue, Snow & Ross's Geese (Light Geese)

Standard federal regulations apply (unplugged shotguns and electronic calls NOT allowed)

Sept. 1 – 17, 2023

Oct. 14 – 29, 2023

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 – Feb. 11, 2024

 

 

 

20

 

There is no possession limit for Blue, Snow, and Ross’s geese, 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.

 

 

Light Goose Conservation Season* (Blue, Snow & Ross's Geese)

The following provisions apply during the Light Goose Conservation Season only:

Unplugged shotguns, electronic calls, and shooting from 30 minutes before official sunrise until 30 minutes after official sunset.

Feb. 12 – Mar. 31, 2024

 

 

 

no limit

 

 

There is no possession limit for Blue, Snow, and Ross’s geese during the Light Goose Conservation Season.

A free Light Goose Conservation Season Permit is required to hunt during the Conservation Season, available at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.

No Federal or state waterfowl stamps are required to hunt during the  Conservation Season.

Hunters must possess a Tennessee Light Goose Conservation Season Permit and have a valid hunting license, but the license may be from any state.

A post-season survey is required.

Duck Seasons & Bag Limits


Duck Seasons and Bag Limits

Early Application Dates:

Sept. 27– Oct. 17, 2023

Mid Application Dates:

Oct. 25 – Nov. 14, 2023

Late Application Dates:

Nov. 15 – Dec. 5, 2023

Season Long Application Dates:

June 28 – July 19, 2023

Includes hunt days:

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023 &
Dec. 5 – 21, 2023

Includes hunt days:

Dec. 22, 2023 – Jan 11, 2024

Includes hunt days:

Jan 12 – 31, 2024

Tier 1 Blind Hunt Dates:

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023 &
Dec. 5, 2023 – Jan. 31, 2024

 All waterfowl drawings require a party application of 4 persons minimum, 8 person maximum.  

SPECIE S

STATEWIDE

DAILY BAG LIMIT

POSSE SSION LIMIT

Wood Duck & Teal

Sept. 9 – 13, 2023

The daily bag limit of ducks is 6 and may include no more than 2 wood ducks. 

 

 

The possession limit is three (3) times the daily bag limit, except on opening day and the second day of the season when the possession limit is one (1) and two (2) times the daily bag limit, respectively.

Teal

Sept. 14– 17, 2023

The daily bag limit is 6 of any teal species.

 

 

 

Ducks, Coot & Mergansers

 

 

 

Nov. 25 – 26, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 – Jan 31, 2024

Coot: 15

Ducks: The daily bag limit of ducks is 6 birds/day which may include no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be a female), 3 wood ducks, 2 canvasbacks,

2 redheads, 2 black ducks, 1 pintail, and 1 mottled duck. The daily bag limit for scaup is 1 scaup from Nov. 25–26, 2023, and Dec. 5–17, 2023 then 2 scaup from Dec. 18, 2023 to Jan. 31, 2024.

Mergansers: 5 (only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers)

Youth Waterfowl

Hunting Season*

Feb. 3 and 10, 2024

Same as regular season daily bag limits.

 

Veterans and Active Military

Personnel**

 

Feb. 4 and 11, 2024

 

Same as regular season daily bag limits.

 

*   Only youth hunters from ages 6–16 years may harvest coot, gallinule, moorhen, ducks, mergansers, and geese during the Youth Waterfowl hunt days. Youths aged 16 are still required to possess a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp). Non-hunting adults at least 21 years of age shall accompany the youth hunter(s) into the field during the youth waterfowl season and must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult; however, adults and other persons accompanying youths shall not hunt during these youth waterfowl hunts. Adults not accompanied by youths 6–16 may still harvest geese during those dates. Geese, coot, gallinule, moorhen, and ducks may be taken by youths during the Youth Waterfowl Season. WMAs with special closing times are open all day, each day of the Youth Waterfowl Season.
** Veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code) and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may participate and harvest coot, gallinule, moorhen, ducks, mergansers, and geese. During the Veterans and Active Military Personnel waterfowl season, non-veteran or non-active duty personnel may be present; however, only veterans or active military persons may hunt. When other migratory game bird seasons are open during the Veterans and Active Military Personnel waterfowl season, any properly licensed youth or adult not accompanied by veterans or active military may harvest legal game.

Wheelchair-bound Blinds Information and Applications 


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 LakeNorth Chickamauga Creek, Old Hickory Unit !, 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.

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 on a WMA 


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, Reel-foot, 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 unless otherwise indicated under the individual WMA listings. 

All decoys must be removed by the owner of the blind within ten days after the close of the waterfowl season unless otherwise indicated under the individual WMA listing