The Tennessee statewide spring Turkey Season is set to open March 30 and run through May 12, with a statewide Young Sportsman Hunt set for March 23 and 24.
The Young Sportsmen and Young Sportswomen (ages six through 16) will take to the fields and woods March 23 and 24 with the bag limit being one bearded turkey per day which counts toward the statewide bag limit unless taken on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) where turkeys are designated as bonus birds. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting devices. The non-hunting adult is not required to have a license.
The regular statewide season will start on March 30 with the bag limit also being one per day and not to exceed four per season except when a bonus bird is harvested on qualifying hunts and WMAs. For more information on WMAs and bonus turkeys be sure to consult the 2013 Tennessee Wildlife Spring Turkey Hunting Guide.
Hunting hours are designated as 30 minutes before legal sunrise to legal sunset.
Legal hunting equipment is defined as:
1. Shotguns using ammunition loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller. No restriction on number of rounds in magazine.
2. Longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, crossbows and other bows drawn or held by a mechanical device.
3. Firearms and archery equipment may be equipped with sighting devices except those devices utilizing an artificial light capable of locating wildlife; however, night vision scopes are illegal.
• It is illegal to bait for turkeys.
• Rifles and handguns are prohibited.
• Turkeys may not be shot or stalked from a boat in Dyer, Haywood, Lauderdale, Obion, Shelby or Tipton counties.
• Use or possession of electronic calls while turkey hunting is prohibited.
• Use of live decoys is prohibited. However, artificial and mounted decoys are permissible.
• Possession of ammunition loaded with shot larger than No. 4 while turkey hunting is prohibited.
• A licensed turkey hunter, who has filled his bag limit or does not possess a valid permit for a quota hunt, may accompany another turkey hunter who has a valid permit (except on WMAs where prohibited) and assist him in calling, but may not have a gun or bow in his/her possession.
Spring Turkey hunting on WMAs
• The use of any type of food to feed or attract wild turkeys on WMAs is prohibited.
• Calling or attempting to call wild turkeys using any means to mimic the sounds made by turkeys is prohibited on all WMAs from March 1 until the opening day of the spring turkey hunts on the Wildlife Management Areas.
Most WMAs are open with statewide seasons and bag limits but some have restricted dates or quota hunts. Refer to the WMA section in the Spring Turkey Hunting Guide for specific dates and regulations.
Turkey hunting is safe as long as hunters obey the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety:
1. Watch that muzzle! Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.
2. Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun. It might be, even if you think it isn’t.
3. Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop — don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.
5. Check your barrel and ammunition. Make sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions, and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.
6. Unload firearms when not in use. Leave actions open; carry firearms in cases and unloaded to and from the shooting area.
7. Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a gun.
8. Don’t run, jump, or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
9. Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely. Store each in secured locations beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
10. Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during shooting. Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.