Small Game Hunting & Trapping Seasons

All hunting seasons are closed unless opened by specific Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission proclamation.

Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit except on opening day when it shall be the same as the daily bag limit. Dogs allowed for hunting all small game species, except on specific WMAs where indicated.

2017-2018 Small Game Hunting Seasons
Species Opens Closes Daily Bag
Squirrel (fox, red, gray) Aug. 26 Feb. 28 10
Spring Squirrel  May 12 June 10 10
Grouse (closed W. of I-65) Oct. 14 Feb. 28 3
Rabbit Nov. 4 Feb. 28 5
Quail Nov. 4 Feb. 28 6
Dove1
(Opens at noon on Sept. 1)
Sep. 1 Sep. 28 152
Oct. 14 Nov. 5 152
Dec. 8 Jan. 15 152
Woodcock1 Nov. 11 Dec. 25 3
Wilson snipe1  Nov. 14 Feb. 28 8
Crow (Fri./Sat./Sun.) June 1 Feb. 28 No Limit
Canada goose1 Sep. 1 Sep. 15 5
Wood duck/Teal1 Sep. 9 Sep. 13 63
Teal Only1 Sep. 14 Sep. 17 6
Armadillo Year Round   No Limit
Beaver Year Round   No Limit
Coyote Year Round   No Limit
Groundhog Year Round   No Limit
Striped Skunk Year Round   No Limit
Bobcat* Nov. 17 Feb. 28 1 per day
Fox** Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Mink Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Muskrat Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
River Otter*** Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Spotted Skunk Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Weasel Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Raccoon
(Private Land Season)
WMA's and all other public lands are Closed.
Sunset
July 1
Sunrise
Sept. 15
1 per person
per night
(night is defined as one 24-hour period beginning
at sunset)
Raccoon Sunset
Sep. 15
Sunrise
Feb. 28
2 per person
per night
(night is defined as one 24-hour period beginning
at sunset)
Opossum Opossum can be taken during the raccoon hunting season. No limit.    

 

1. Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit required.

2. No limit on Eurasian collared doves. Doves not readily identifiable as collared doves will be considered to be mourning doves and will count toward the mourning dove daily bag and possession limits.

3. Not to exceed 2 wood ducks. Total bag of 6 ducks.

*Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee US CITES tags in order to be exported from the U.S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.

**Exceptions to the statewide fox season are:

  • Benton - unlawful to take or kill red foxes
  • Dyer, Lauderdale, Smith, and Wilson - open year round to hunting and trapping red and gray foxes

***All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee US CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.

Bullfrog Hunting

All waters of the state are open to bullfrog hunting except waters within state and federal wildlife refuges. Season is open year-round, except on TWRA managed lakes the season is June 1–30. Bag limit is 20 per person, per night. The use of firearms is prohibited for bullfrog hunting on wildlife management areas and TWRA lakes, except air guns may be used. Only domestically raised bullfrogs or parts thereof may be sold. A hunting license is required to take bullfrogs. No WMA permit is required.

2017-2018 Trapping Seasons

All trapping devices must be clearly marked with the owner's name. All traps must be inspected every 36 hours or less and animals removed. When trapping on another's property, the trapper must carry on his or her person written permission from the landowner, and make a written report to the owner of any domestic animal caught and pay damages for those animals.

Species Opens Closes Bag Limit
Beaver Year Round   No Limit
Coyote Year Round   No Limit
Groundhog Year Round   No Limit
Bobcat* Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Fox** Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Mink Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Muskrat Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Opossum Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Otter*** Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Raccoon Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Spotted Skunk Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Striped Skunk Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit
Weasel Nov. 17 Feb. 28 No Limit

 

*Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee U.S. CITES tags in order to be exported from the U.S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.

**Exceptions to the statewide fox season are:

  • Benton - unlawful to take or kill red foxes
  • Dyer, Lauderdale, Smith, and Wilson - open year round to hunting and trapping red and gray foxes

***All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee US CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.

Legal Traps & Specific Regulations

Trappers shall mark all of their traps with their name or TWRA ID number.

Lethal sets such as instant kill traps and water set (“drowning”) traps must be inspected every seventy-two (72) hours. All other traps must be inspected every thirty-six (36) hours and any wildlife caught in the traps shall be removed.

Live traps
Live traps are legal for taking any species of wildlife listed as having a trapping season. Live traps are defined as those traps that act as a cage after capture.

​​Steel Cable Snares
These have a minimum cable diameter of 5/64 inch and maximum cable diameter of 3/32 inch. All snares shall have affixed a tag bearing the name of the owner. Spring activated snares, except Collarum snares, are prohibited.

Dog Proof Traps
Dog-proof traps, also known as species-specific traps are legal for trapping.

Steel traps placed inside a hole, cave or den or in a hollow log, hollow stump or any like place shall be placed twelve (12) or more inches inside the entrance of such place, and it is unlawful to place steel traps in the open, except for water sets and traps listed below. 

Water Set
For trapping purposes "water set" is defined to mean traps set in water adjacent to and part of streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands or other water courses and includes floating sets.

Steel Leg-Hold Traps
Steel leg-hold traps must have an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point. Steel square instant-kill traps must have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and steel circular instantkill traps must have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point​

Steel Instant-Kill Traps
Square instant-kill traps that have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and circular instant kill traps that have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, are legal. Instant kill traps are considered steel jawed traps and their use is restricted to that allowed for steel jawed traps. Conibear traps are instant-kill traps.

Steel Traps
Cushion-hold traps, laminated jaw traps, off-set wide jaw traps, off-set laminated jaw traps and wide jaw traps with an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch, may be used for all sets. Double-jaw traps with an outside spread of 9 inches or less of the upper and lower jaw combined and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch may be used for all sets.

Dog Training

Training of bird dogs and squirrel dogs is permitted year-round on private lands, during daylight hours only.  Training of rabbit dogs is permitted year-round on private lands day and night. The chasing of foxes with hounds is permitted year-round, day and night. A hunting license is required while training dogs except when a person is competing in recognized field trials. When training on a WMA, a small game permit is required. Refer to specific WMA listings for WMA dog training seasons.

Raccoon Dog Training (No Taking)

Year-round except where regulated by Private Acts. The following counties are regulated by private acts: DeKalb is open for year-round training except in the portion lying south and west of State Hwy. 96 and U.S. Hwy. 70, where the training season will open 30 days prior to the hunting season. Refer to specific WMA listings for WMA raccoon dog training seasons.

Ginseng Harvesting

Important Notice of Ginseng Harvest Season Law Change (TCA 70-8-203)

Effective July 1, 2012 the harvest season for wild ginseng shall be from September 1 - December 31, inclusive, of each year. For additional information contact the Department of Environment and Conservation, (615) 532-0431.