Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Hunting Opportunities




Father and son harvest a nice buck on a Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge quota hunt

Father and son harvest a nice buck on a Tennessee
National Wildlife Refuge quota hunt. Credit: USFWS


A primary objective of a national wildlife refuge is to provide habitat for the management and protection of all native species of wildlife. The hunting of animals is one tool used to manage wildlife populations.

The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge continues to provide a quality recreational hunting experience. All three units of the refuge are open to hunting the following species:

  • Squirrel
  • Raccoon
  • White-tail Deer
  • Wild Turkey
  • Resident Canada Goose

Beaver and coyote may be taken on a scheduled hunt for other species with any weapon legal for the hunts. However, the taking of turtles or bullfrogs is not permitted on the refuge.

An "Annual Refuge Hunting Permit" is required for all hunting on the refuge. Along with regular hunting seasons, quota hunts are available for white-tailed deer and are held by means of a drawing/permit system.

For more information on our hunt program, or how to purchase an Annual Refuge Hunting Permit click here. For the 2013 resident Canada Goose hunt regulations click here.

Detailed topo maps of the Big Sandy Unit and the Duck River Unit can be purchased from the Friends of Tennessee NWR at $2.00 each at the refuge headquarters in Paris, at local sporting goods stores in Henry and Benton Counties or by written request to:

Friends of Tennessee NWR
3006 Dinkins Lane
Paris, TN 38242


Fishing Opportunities

Crappie Fisherman with a load of fish. Credit: USFWS

Crappie Fisherman with a load of fish. Credit: USFWS

With 144 species of fish, the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is considered a hotspot for fish species diversity and can boast a greater fish species diversity than any other inland national wildlife refuge in the country. In early spring, Kentucky Lake is known for some of the best crappie fishing in the nation. Later in the season, bass and catfish delight anglers throughout the lake.

About half of the refuge is water, primarily Kentucky Lake. Most of the refuge's waters are open to fishing year-round. Please note that some areas are closed seasonally to provide sanctuary for waterfowl and eagles.

Click here for a refuge fishing brochure that details fishing areas, boat ramp locations, seasonally closed areas and provides sport fishing regulations for the refuge.


Last updated: August 5, 2014