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TnDeer.Com Your Tennessee Deer Hunting Resource

A Few General Deer Hunting Regulations

Always review the current "Official TWRA Regulations" brochure or contact the TWRA for the complete and the most current Tennessee deer hunting rules and regulations. The information contained on this page is for quick reference purposes only.

Firearms:

  • Rifles using any center-fire ammunition, in all counties except where regulated by legislative acts.

  • Handguns using any centerfire ammunition, except those with multiple shot, and having a barrel length of four inches or more, in all counties except where regulated by legislative acts.

  • Shotguns using ammunition loaded with single solid ball or rifled slugs. No restriction on number of rounds in magazine.


Archery

  • Longbows, compound bows, crossbows and other bows drawn or held by a mechanical device.

  • Hunting arrows and bolts mustbe equipped with broadheads of a barbless design with sharpened blades.

Sights
Weapons may be equipped with sighting devices except those devices utilizing an artificial light capable of locating wildlife. Night vision scopes are illegal.

Fluorescent Orange Requirements:
Hunters must wear on the upper portion of their body and head a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange, visible front and back while hunting big game except on archery-only hunts. (A hat and vest fulfills requirements.) Blaze orange camo is legal if it contains 500 square inches of fluorescent orange.

Mandatory Hunter Education:
All hunters born on or after January 1, 1969, must possess proof that they have successfully completed a hunter education course. Those under age 10 do not need the certificate, but must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device. Check with the TWRA for a schedule of hunter education courses in your area.

Tagging and Checking Stations

Big game tagging: - It is unlawful to move, transport or field dress any big game animal, except for feral hogs, without invalidating and attaching a properly completed temporary kill tag. If additional animals are to be harvested on that day, the hunter is not required to stop hunting and tag the animal until he/she is ready to move, transport, or field dressed the animal. At the conclusion of the hunt, all harvested animals, one of which must be tagged, must be transported to the nearest checking station on that calendar day. At the checking station a permanent kill tag will be issued for each animal harvested plus one new temporary tag will be given to the hunter for their next hunt. The permanent harvest tag is a legal document and must be signed by the hunter. By signing the permanent kill tag, the hunter is affirming that the information, as it appears on the permanent tag, is correct and valid. The permanent kill tag must remain with the carcass until final processing. All big game taken to taxidermists must have proper documentation showing the permanent kill tag number, checking station number, and date of kill. Persons legally hunting without a license (See "No License Needed For" under "License Fees") or possessing a permanent license must also take any big game animal, except for feral hogs, they harvest to a checking station where a kill tag will be issued. After receiving the kill tag from checking in the first kill, these persons must comply with all tagging regulations.

Persons legally hunting without a license or issued a free hunting license are also required to take any big game animal harvested to a check station where a kill tag will be issued. After receiving a kil tag from checking in their first kill, these persons must comply with all tagging regulations.

Field Dressing Big Game
Evidence of species or sex of big game animals must not be destroyed or removed (normal field dressing is permitted) prior to a permanent kill tag having been issued at a checking station.

Big Game Found Dead
All big game found dead should be left where found and need not be reported. Individuals wanting to keep big game found dead must first contact the local Regional TWRA office for authorization. Any vehicle in which an illegally possessed big game animal is found is subject to confiscation. Deer accidentally killed by a motor vehicle may be possed by any person for personal use and consumption if the TWRA or a local law enforcement agency is notified within 48 hours.

Legal Bucks
Antlered deer must have a minimum of 3 inches in length on buck only or antlered only hunts.

Antlerless
Deer are defined as those deer with no antlers or deer with antlers less than 3 inches in length.

Albino Deer
Hunting, trapping, or possession of albino deer is prohibited. An albino deer is a deer with a lack, or significant deficiency, of pigment in the skin and hair, and has pink eyes.

Number in Party and Age Requirements:
A WMA party hunt is limited to 15. Otherwise, there is no limit to the party size on statewide big game hunts, and no age requirements except as follows: Juveniles under 16, hunting small game and waterfowl on a WMA, must be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid WMA permit. In addition, only ages 10-16 (accompanied by a nonhunting adult) may participate in the special juvenile hunts. Juveniles under 16 hunting big game on a wildlife management area must have a WMA permit and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult on Juvenile-only hunts (unless otherwise specified).

Public Hunting Areas:
Tennessee offers almost 800,000 acres of public hunting lands. Just click "HERE" for Public Hunting Land Info from the TWRA.

License Information

Big Game License:

For residents to hunt deer, an annual Combination Hunting and Fishing license (Type 01) and the appropriate supplemental Big Game license are necessary. If the hunt is on a wildlife management area, a WMA big game nonquota or a quota permit is also necessary. The correct supplemental Big Game license is determined by the type of hunting equipment to be used:
  • Big Game Gun (Type 09)
  • Big Game Archery (Type 10)
  • Big Game Muzzleloader (Type 11)
  • Tennessee's special resident Sportsman license (Type 04) covers the cost of all the above licenses and permits.

    Wildlife Management Area Permits:
    WMA permits are required of everyone who hunts on a wildlife management area except for the following: Sportsman license holders, juveniles under 16 when hunting small game and waterfowl, who are accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid WMA permit. The permits include: WMA Small Game and Waterfowl (Type 91); WMA Small Game Only (Type 93); Special Season/WMA Nonquota Big Game (Type 94); and Cherokee Nonquota WMA (Type 95). A WMA Quota Permit is is required on all quota hunts and is issued by a drawing. A Reelfoot Preservation permit (either Type 88, 89, or 90) is required of everyone hunting on Reelfoot WMA and Reelfoot NWR, except persons under 16 or 65 and over. The Sportsman license covers the costs of all required permits.

    Spotlighting Deer

    TCA: section 70-4-110. It is unlawful for any person, or one or more of a group of persons together, to willfully throw or cast rays of a spotlight, headlight, or any other artifical light in an apparent attempt or intent to locate deer by use of such light.

    Roadkill Law

    TCA 70-4-115 allows that, except for non-game and federally protected wildlife species, wild game animals accidentally killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed for personal use and consumption. However, possession of a deer killed by a motor vehicle is permitted only if the person notifies the TWRA or any law enforcement officer and supplies his/her name within 48 hours. A bear killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed only upon the issuance of a receipt from the TWRA.