Tennessee Squirrel Hunting Season

Tennessee squirrel hunting season

Tennessee is a popular place to hunt. With over 7,000 acres of public lands available to hunt, it’s a hunter’s haven. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced hunter, Tennessee offers many small-game opportunities, including squirrel hunting. Let’s take a closer look at the state hunting regulations before you head out to the woods to hunt squirrels. 

Tennessee Squirrel Hunting Season

The state offers two hunting seasons for fox, gray and red squirrels; the first runs from August 26-March 15, and the second is the spring season from May 11 to June 9. 

Before diving into the rules and regulations, let’s look at which types of squirrels reside in the state and where to find them. 

Types of Squirrels In Tennessee

Five species of squirrels reside throughout the state; fox, gray, red, and the Northern and Southern Flying Squirrels. 

The state offers a suitable habitat for them, particularly dense hardwood forests in rural and urban areas with abundant forests, wooded areas, 

Best Squirrel Hunting Locations in Tennessee

According to several hunting forums, some of the best places to hunt for squirrels in Tennessee include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

These areas offer a diverse habitat for squirrels and other wildlife. 

There are over 1.5 million acres of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and refuges across the state. 

These areas are divided into regions which include the Wildlife Management Areas.

West Tennessee Region 1Middle Tennessee Region 2Cumberland Plateau Region 3East Tennessee Region 4
Beech River WMAArnold Hollow WMAAlpine Mountain WMABuffalo Springs WMA
Camden WMABark Camp Barrens WMACatoosa WMACove Creek WMA
Big Sandy WMABrowntown WMACharlotte Ann Finnel Neal WMAFoothills WMA
Cypress Pond RefugeEagle Creek WMAEnterprise South Nature ParkForks of the River WMA
Hop-in RefugeMaple Springs WMAHarp WMAFort Loudoun WMA
John Tully WMALaurel Hill WMAJackson Swamp WMAKyles Ford WMA
Parker Branch WMAOld Hickory WMAMt Roosevelt WMAFort Loudoun WMA
Reelfoot WMAShelton Ferry WMAOak Ridge WMAHenderson Island Refuge
Three Rivers WMATie Camp WMAPrentice Cooper WMANorth Cumberland WMA
White Oak WMAWilliamsport WMASkinner Mountain WMARankin WMA
Wolf River WMA Yanahi WMAThe Boils WMACove Creek WMA
Ghost River SNABear Hollow Mountain WMAYuchi RefugeChuck Swan WMA

You can view a full list of the available hunting regions by visiting this site.

Tennessee Squirrel Hunting Regulations

Hunters are responsible for understanding and abiding by the hunting rules and regulations. This entails when hours you can hunt, private and public land, bag limits, etc.

Many people enjoy hunting squirrels, but the laws differ in every state. Here’s what we found when researching the Tennessee squirrel hunting regulations.

Do You Need A License To Hunt Squirrels In Tennessee

The state requires anyone hunting squirrels or other small or big game animals to possess a valid hunting license. You can apply for a license at ten years old.

Landowners can legally shoot, trap, or euthanize nuisance squirrels to prevent damage to their property.

Types of Hunting Licenses In Tennessee

  •  Tennessee Resident: Anyone with a valid driver’s license or have lived in the state for 90 consecutive days. Anyone over the age of 13 must possess a resident hunting license. This includes active-duty military and non-resident full time-students who have attended an accredited school for six consecutive months.
  • Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone who does not reside in Tennessee and is 13 or older must possess a non-resident license.
  • Youth Hunting License: Tennessee residents and non-residents 10-12 years of age must complete a hunter education certificate course before applying for a license. This consists of completing an online course ($34.95), printing your online component completion certificate, and applying for your hunting license.
  • Senior Hunting License: Residents 65 years qualify for a reduced fee hunting license.
  • Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the eight military bases can purchase a resident license. Disabled veterans qualify for a discounted license, depending on their disability.

Tennessee hunting licenses are valid from the date of purchase through February of the following year. Don’t forget to ask about the lifetime hunting license, which can save you money.

To purchase a hunting license or permit, visit or call the Tennessee Wildlife Resources (TWR) office (or online) or stop by an approved license agent.

Do I Take A Hunters Education Course to Get A Hunting License?

According to the Tennessee Code Annotated 70-2-108 law, anyone born after January 1, 1969, must complete an agency-approved hunter education course satisfactorily. 

The law was enacted to prevent hunting injuries. 

Bag Limits

The bag limits for squirrels vary depending on the species and the season. For gray squirrels, the bag limit is ten squirrels per person for both hunting seasons. 

There is no bag limit for red squirrels. However, these limits can change, so check the current hunting regulations for specific dates, bag limits, and other updated information.

Tennessee Small Game Animals

Whether you enjoy hunting squirrels or not, Tennessee has several small game animals you can hunt. 

Below is a table and dates of the small game animals and dates for Tennessee residents and non-residents.

SpeciesDatesBag Limits
Fox and Gray SquirrelsAugust 27, 2022 – March 15, 2023
May 13, 2023 – June 11, 2023 (spring season)
Red Squirrels year roundNone
RabbitsNovember 5, 2022 – February 28, 2023
Groundhogyear roundNone

Here’s the full game species and hunting dates.

Hunting Methods

Shooting hours for squirrel hunting are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. 

Legal hunting methods for hunting squirrels in Tennessee include archery equipment, slingshots, etc. 

Additionally, cage-type traps are allowed as a hunting method. In addition, it is legal for homeowners to trap nuisance squirrels out of season without a permit. 

Can You Use A Dog To Hunt Squirrels In Tennessee?

It is legal to use and train dogs to hunt squirrels year-round on private lands, during daylight hours only. 

Dogs are not allowed in all hunting zones, so make sure you understand the rules and regulations in your hunting area.

Can You Hunt From A Motorized Vehicle In Tennessee?

The laws will vary depending on where you’re hunting. That said, off-road vehicles must abide by and use the roads designed for other motorized traffic and designed trails that are open to traffic. 

You must operate an off-road vehicle during daylight hours, and using them on any Agency-owned Wildlife Management Area is illegal.

It’s essential to understand the laws and regulations; failure to do so can result in harsh penalties and fines.

Do You Have To Wear Orange Or Camouflage To Hunt Squirrels?

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency website, hunters must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of hunter’s orange (fluorescent) clothing above the waist while hunting big game. 

Camo-colored clothing must contain 500 square inches of blaze orange.

Unfortunately, there is no mention of wearing camo or orange-colored clothing during small game hunting. 

However, it’s not a bad idea to make yourself visible to other hunters in the area.

Equipment and Gear

Equipping yourself with the right gear can make all the difference in your hunting experience. Here is some essential hunting gear:

  • Hunting License and Permit: A valid hunting license and a small game permit are required to hunt squirrels. 
  •  Boots: Sturdy and comfortable boots are essential for walking and hiking in the woods.
  •  Game Bag: A bag or backpack to carry hunting gear and harvested squirrels.
  •  Binoculars: for scouting squirrel activity from a distance.
  •  Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for field dressing and skinning squirrels.
  •  Hunting Clothing: Camouflage clothing that matches the environment can help blend in and stay hidden from squirrels.
  •  Ammunition: Depending on your weapon of choice or bow used, appropriate ammunition or bolts are necessary for hunting squirrels.
  •  Map and Compass: A map and compass can help you navigate in the woods and find your way back to camp or your vehicle.

Safety Tips and Considerations

Following safe hunting practices and being aware of squirrel conservation efforts is essential when hunting in Tennessee.

Since some squirrel species in the state are protected, understanding local regulations and conservation initiatives is crucial.

Final Word

Squirrel hunting is popular in the southern state due to its abundant squirrel population and diverse habitat. 

The squirrel hunting season in Tennessee typically runs from late August to late February, with a daily bag limit of 10 squirrels per person for gray and fox squirrels. There is no limit on red squirrels.

You won’t have any issues finding a place to hunt. Just make sure you have a valid license and other requirements to avoid unnecessary fees. 

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