Duck hunting Tennessee is all about location. There are no gray areas here—you’re either in one of the best spots in the entire country for hunting ducks, or you’re listening to crickets for two or three hours every morning.
The portion of Tennesee away from the Mississippi River is pretty much a dead zone for duck hunting. But that doesn’t mean there are no excellent opportunities to bag your daily limit when duck season rolls around.
Tennessee is full of WMAs, some of which hold decent bodies of water, attracting migratory ducks when they make their way south for the winter. Tennessee’s Reelfoot is also known for its open-water hunting and is one of the top spots in the country for waterfowl.
Tennessee Duck Hunting
Tennessee has four categories and each one has its duck season dates, which are subject to slight changes every year. Phase 1, Phase 2, Youth Only, and Veterans and Military only, make up the duck hunting season dates in the state of Tennessee.
Youth duck hunting season in Tennessee is longer than in other states. It typically runs for about five days and starts early in February.
Veterans and Military only
Duck hunting season for veterans and active duty military usually runs about the same time as the youth-only hunting season. It starts a day later than the youths and ends a day later as well.
Phase 1 in Tennessee is just straight-up bizarre. It makes little sense in the big scheme of things, especially when compared to other states and how they break up their duck hunting seasons into two parts. Phase 1 is typically in late November and lasts 2 days. That’s it.
The second phase of duck hunting season starts in the first week of December and ends in late January or early February.
Where to Hunt
Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake is by far the most common and popular duck hunting spot in the entire state. In fact, it’s so popular that it tops the list for duck hunting areas in the entire US. It helps make up for the fact that there are a lot of dead spots in Tennessee for duck hunters.
It’s not the only place, however. Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake are also hot spots for duck hunters. We also can’t leave out Harmon Creek WMA (Wildlife Management Area), Camden Bottoms, and Big Sandy.
You have to look at the state of Tennessee in terms of hotspots because much of the state is no good for duck hunting at all. But you can always try your luck on private and public lands close to the water, especially lakes, reservoirs, and the Mississippi River.
What Ducks can you Shoot?
Tennessee follows similar numbers as other states, limiting some ducks more than others and splitting up the male and female in some species. Tennessee has bag limits each day, and they don’t include a possession limit.
- Wood ducks
- Black ducks
- Mottled ducks
As you can see, all of the standard ducks, which are limited in most states, also make the list here.
Tennessee is fairly typical in their bag limits as well, although they don’t have anything listed on their primary website for possession totals throughout the season. Tennessee seems to be more concerned about the removal of temporary blinds than they are about duck totals to round out the end of the season.
- Scaup – the daily bag limit is 1 during Phase 1 and in the first half of December
- Scaup – the second half of December, through the end of January jumps to 2 per day
- Wood ducks – limited to 3 per day
- Canvasbacks – limited to 2 per day
- Pintails – limited to 1 pintail per day
- Redheads – limit is 2 per day
- Mergansers – 5 total, with no more than 2 hooded
- Coots – 15 per day
- Mottled duck – limitation of 1 per day
- Black ducks – limited to 2 per day
While Tennesse will never go down in history as one of the greatest duck-hunting states of all time, there are ducks to be found there. This is especially true if you try your luck out at Reelfoot Lake, one of the hottest spots for duck hunting in the country.
There are other hotspots in Tennessee as well, which we listed above, but nothing that holds a candle to Reelfoot. There are a lot of guided tours available throughout the state as well if you fancy spending that kind of dough to bring home your bag limit of ducks.
One thing is for sure, Tennessee is one of the more beautiful states in the country, so you will get a very appreciative eyeful, no matter where you decide to throw down your blinds.
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