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Big Game Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon Tennessee Hunting

All hunting seasons are closed unless opened by specific Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission proclamation. Big game animals are deer, turkey, bear, and elk.

Fluorescent Orange: Hunters must wear on the upper portion of their body and head a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange (blaze orange), visible front and back while hunting big game except on archery-only and turkey hunts. (A hat and vest fulfills requirements.) Blaze orange camo is legal if it contains 500 square inches of fluorescent orange. In those areas where the archery-only deer season dates overlap with another big game gun season (i.e. bear), archers are required to wear 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange.

Field Dressing Big Game: Evidence of species or sex of big game animals must not be destroyed prior to being checked in. Normal field dressing, quartering, and icing down of the meat is permitted. Turkeys must remain intact until checked in.

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, or any portion of the animal, must first contact the local Regional TWRA office within 48 hours for authorization.

Any vehicle in which an illegally possessed big game animal is found is subject to confiscation. Big game, except bear, accidentally killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed by any person for personal use and consumption if the TWRA or a local law enforcement agency is notified within 48 hours. A bear killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed only upon the issuance of a receipt from the TWRA.

Antlered Deer: Deer must have at least one antler measuring a minimum of three (3) inches in length on buck-only or antlered-only hunts.

Antlerless Deer: Defined as those deer with no antlers or deer with both antlers less than three (3) inches in length.

Albino Deer: Hunting, trapping or possession of albino deer is prohibited as set forth in TCA 70-4-130. An albino deer is a deer with a lack, or significant deficiency, of pigment in the skin and hair, and has pink eyes.

Mississippi River Flood Closure – When the Mississippi River stage reaches thirty-four feet (34.0 ft.) at the Caruthersville gauge all big game hunting will close in the Mississippi River Floodwaters Zone (hereafter Zone) and will remain closed until the Mississippi River stage falls to thirty-two feet (32.0 ft.) at the Memphis gauge The two foot (2 ft.) buffer will ensure that big game will no longer be isolated on islands, levees, etc. when hunting seasons resume. This closure is effective on both private and public lands within the Zone.