Predators & Small Game
Season Dates: Tennessee is broken into three hunting zones, and each zone varies a bit in regulations and season dates. In general, however, archery season opens in late September (last full weekend) and runs through Jan. 1. Muzzleloading season opens in early November and runs for two weeks, followed by modern gun season, which typically opens the day after muzzleloader season and runs through the first of January.
The Grade: B
With seven National Wildlife Refuges and numerous other WMAs and 7,000 acres of PHA (privately-owned Public Hunting Area), Tennessee shines when it comes to public land hunting in the Southeast. License fees are a little steep if you’re deer hunting only, but it should be noted that you also get turkey tags with that all-game license. Though the trophy potential in Tennessee has improved in recent years, long firearm seasons in the heat of the rut and a three-buck limit per hunter keep many would-be monsters from reaching their potential.
Deer Nation Knowledge: One of the most coveted hunts in the state takes place in Tennessee’s largest city—Memphis. President’s Island, an island on the Mississippi River that’s owned by the city of Memphis and within view of the downtown skyline, might have some the best big-buck odds in the entire Southeast. Three three-day draw-only hunts take place each season on President’s Island. All are archery-only, and two of them are for antlerless deer/spike bucks only. There’s a hunt for antlered bucks in early December. Bucks must have a minimum of 9 points. Odds for success, if drawn, are outstanding.
Realtree’s Rack Report
Record B&C Typical
Taken by W.A. Foster in Roane County in 1959, ranked as No. 320 of all time.
Total B&C Typical Entries
Record B&C Non-Typical
Taken by David K. Watchtel III in Sumner County in 2000, ranked as No. 133 of all time.
Total B&C Non-Typical Entries
Est. Whitetail Population
No. Licenses Sold Annually
Deer to Hunter Ratio
Resident license and permit
Resident hunting license along with a gun, muzzleloader and archery big-game license totals out to $112.
An annual all-game hunting license for nonresidents is $251.