Public Hunting Areas in Tennessee

There are many other public and TWRA lands that are not proclaimed as WMAs and are open to hunting, with statewide seasons, unless otherwise indicated.

This is a cooperative effort between the TWRA and landholding companies to provide public hunting with the landowner setting, collecting and administering permits, and the TWRA enforcing the rules and regulations governing these areas.   Please keep reading and see below for more information on specific area rules and regulations.

Public lands are important to hunters and non-hunters alike, so all users should work to maintain a good relationship with the owners. Never litter or abuse the land.  

The map below shows public lands open for hunting in Tennessee.

Tennessee Public Lands Hunting Map
2023-24 Hunting Guide
Tennessee Hunting Guide PDF Download - Spanish Version

TWRA Public Hunting Areas (PHAs)

TWRA has established numerous PHAs. A PHA is an area not intensively managed that is established for the protection of wildlife species and public use by both consumptive and non-consumptive users. PHAs are generally small and isolated from other TWRA managed lands.

General WMA Regulations also apply to PHAs. However, WMA Permits are not required on these lands.   

For information on these areas and their exact locations, search the interactive map.

Open with statewide seasons:

  • Cowan Marsh (Franklin Co.)
  • Shady Park (Robertson Co.)
  • Battle Creek (Marion Co.)
  • Whites Creek (Rhea Co.)
  • Mullins Island (Cocke Co.)

Open with statewide seasons except archery equipment only for deer hunting:

  • Anderson Pond (White Co.)
  • Hampton Crossroads (White Co.)
  • Long Branch (DeKalb Co.)

Open with seasons same as North Cherokee WMA:

  • Big Springs (Sullivan Co.)
  • Henderson Swamp (Washington Co.) 

Hunting On TWRA Lakes 

Hunting is permitted during the regular hunting season on the following lakes and adjacent state lands, except on areas posted as safety zones:

  • Garrett Lake
  • VFW Lake
  • Whiteville Lake;  On the Oak Dain Wetland portion of Whiteville Lake deer seasons follow Unit CWD dates and bag limits, including August G/M/A Hunt.  See seasons summary.
  • Coy Gaither Bedford Lake
  • Laurel Hill Lake
  • Carroll Lake; no big game hunting allowed on Carroll Lake and State-owned land adjacent thereto
  • Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes


Waterfowl Hunting

Waterfowl hunting is permitted from temporary or natural blinds only on the following lakes:

  • Garrett Lake; Blind and decoys must be removed daily; Boats may be used for waterfowl hunting
  • Laurel Hill Lake; Boats may be used for waterfowl hunting
  • Whiteville Lake; Blind and decoys must be removed daily; Boats may be used for waterfowl hunting 
  • Reelfoot-Indian Creek Watershed Lakes; Blind and decoys must be removed daily; Boats may be used for waterfowl hunting    

Other Public Hunting Lands

Open with statewide seasons unless otherwise indicated. 

The portion that is south of the railroad track is open to hunting during the statewide seasons. Wild hogs may be taken during deer season by licensed deer hunters. Deer seasons follow Unit CWD dates and bag limits, including the August G/M/A Hunt.

Not open to elk hunting. In addition to a state hunting license, a Big South Fork Permit is required to take wild hogs.  For information about obtaining a wild hog permit call Big South Fork NRRA at (423) 569-9778 or the BSFNRRA Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275 or

Hogs may only be taken during the deer season and the Jan.–Feb. small game season. All hogs must be taken with big game hunting devices.   Chasing wild hogs with dogs is not permitted.  Taking wild hogs incidental to hunting requires a permit from the National Park Service.    These special regulations apply at Obed Wild and Scenic River only on the lands administered by the National Park Service.  

For more information Big South Fork NRRA at (423) 569-9778

For more information (270) 798-9824 or

Attn: Deer Hunt Information
4509 West Stone Drive
Kingsport, TN 37660

For more information (423) 578-6276

LBL Hunter use permit required. 

For more information (270) 924-2000

Deer Hunt Archery only, including a crossbow. Harvested deer must be checked in at the designated check-in station at the park. Bag limit three deer, no more than one antlered. The first deer harvested must be antlerless. Antlered deer count toward the statewide bag. Hunter safety meeting required.

For more specific information call (615) 885-2422.

  • Milan Volunteer Training Site

Hunts on this property are quota hunts and will be available during the quota hunt application period.  Milan Volunteer Training Site Quota Hunt Map

For more information: 731-423-5725 

    Milan Hunt Program Briefing Acknowledgment  PDF

    Milan Hunt Program Liability Waiver PDF

    Milan Hunt Avenza Map, with road labels PDF

Tims Ford State Park Huntable Lands

Permit required, available at the Park Office. Same seasons and regulations as Owl Hollow Mill WMA.

For more information call (931) 962-1183.

The State forests listed below are Operated by the Tennessee Division of Forestry and are open to hunting during statewide seasons. For information concerning locations and state forest user regulations, consult the website:

Bledsoe State Forest, Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, Franklin State Forest, Lone Mountain State Forest, Stewart State Forest

Refuges & Other Federal Areas

Contact the individual refuge for their specific seasons and regulations.

General Regulations for National Wildlife Refuges

  • Vehicles must remain on established roads open to public vehicles.  Roads may be closed due to adverse weather conditions. Park vehicles in a manner that will not interfere with the normal flow of traffic or block gates.
  • Camping and fires are prohibited, except on Chickasaw NWR during small and big game hunts in designated areas.
  • It is unlawful to drive a nail, spike, or another metal object into any tree or to hunt from any tree in which a nail, spike, or other metal object has been driven. Temporary blinds or stands are permitted on the day of the hunt only. All blinds and stands must be removed at the end of each day's hunt.
  • Dogs are prohibited except when used during refuge open seasons for small game and migratory birds.
  • Designated areas of refuges will be closed to all public entry to provide sanctuaries for waterfowl.
  • All shotgun hunters may only possess and use shotgun shells containing approved non-toxic shots.
  • Hunters must possess and carry a signed refuge brochure/permit.
  • All National Wildlife Refuges which are open to fall turkey quota hunts based on county designation, close for the season ½ hour after sunset on Nov. 10, except as otherwise noted.
  • A federal permit may be required for hunts. Quota permits are required for quota hunts and special federal regulations apply as specified. A signed refuge brochure serves as the permit for non-quota hunts, except on Tennessee and Cross Creeks where an annual permit is required for all hunts.
  • All antlered deer taken on National Wildlife Refuges count toward the statewide antlered deer bag limit except on NWR quota hunts or as otherwise noted. Antler-less deer taken on NWR quota hunts or where specific NWR hunt dates are listed are bonus deer except as otherwise noted.
  • On all Young Sportsman Hunts, youth, ages 6-16 (youth waterfowl 6-15), may participate but 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. Adults cannot hunt except as indicated otherwise. Adults must comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters when accompanying young sportsmen on Young Sportsman Big Game Hunts, except as indicated. Youth, ages 6-16, may participate in other NWR hunts (big game, small game, waterfowl, etc.) but 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.
  • The use or possession of bait, or hunting over bait is strictly prohibited.  Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, or scattering of any salt, grain, powder, liquid, or other feed to attract game.
  • The use or possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited while on refuge lands and waters.
  • The cutting of holes, lanes, or any other manipulation of the vegetation (e.g. cutting of bushes and trees, mowing, herbicide use, and other actions) or hunting from or adjacent to manipulated areas is strictly prohibited. The possession of saws, machetes, axes, or other tools for cutting vegetation is prohibited.

State Natural Areas

The following State Natural Areas (SNAs) are open with the statewide season, except as noted. For more information on these areas, see the Tennessee SNAs website