Turkey Hunting in Tennessee

Back to All State Reports
  • A
  • 300,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 120,000

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $34

    Resident annual hunting/fishing license and big-game gun license. The type of hunting equipment to be used determines which supplemental license is necessary.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $214.50

    7-day non-resident all-game hunting license.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

With abundant public land, Tennessee offers room to roam for spring gobblers. Wildlife Management areas are good places to start, though for some, hunter pressure is high.

If you can picture a Southeastern setting in which to chase gobblers, Tennessee probably has it.

  • Low-lying river bottoms are found throughout West Tennessee.
  • Middle Tennessee is full of crop fields, cattle pastures and rolling hills.
  • East Tennessee is mountain country.

Recent hunting regulation changes over the past several years have been based on turkey population declines. As this goes, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officially states:

Wild turkey populations in many counties increased rapidly during restoration, reached a peak, and then declined for a time before stabilizing around carrying capacity, a natural occurrence for most restored wildlife populations. Localized annual fluctuations in population numbers are expected moving forward because spring turkey production, which primarily drives turkey populations, can be particularly affected by weather and other factors, especially when a population has reached the habitat’s carrying capacity.

More severe population declines have been observed in other areas of the state, causing local residents, hunters, and managers concern that additional population-level factors are impacting these populations. In response, TWRA seeks to determine the factors impacting these affected regions and as appropriate make management and hunting recommendations designed to improve conditions and wild turkey numbers.

Fortunately, as a result of the wild turkey restoration efforts, Tennessee has a wider distribution of huntable flocks which can absorb declines in some local populations without a significant drop in the total harvest. Since weather conditions vary greatly across the state some flocks exist in areas that will be unaffected by the same storms which could be detrimental to poultry survival in other localized flocks.

Good production in these areas provides an alternate place for hunters to hunt when local populations are low.

License fees are a bit expensive for out-of-state hunters, but if you buy an annual all-game license and hunt year-round, you have everything you need for deer and fall turkey hunting, too. 

– Steve Hickoff

 

Turkey Hunting in Tennessee (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

Read the Tennessee turkey hunting regulations here.

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.