NASHVILLE — The 2020 spring turkey hunting season is set to be open for business in Tennessee beginning Saturday, April 4. Turkey hunting is an excellent way to keep social distance, enjoy the outdoors, and take part in a popular activity which has seen tremendous growth in recent years.
The coronavirus outbreak has affected many aspects of normal life. Fortunately for the thousands of Tennesseans who head to the woods each spring in pursuit of the wily gamebird, the season will go on as scheduled through May 17. Conditions have forced a change in that turkey check stations at wildlife management areas will not be operational this year.
“We are in extraordinary times that none of us have ever seen before,” said Ed Carter, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s executive director. “At TWRA, we have taken precautions while still providing essential services to the public and our resources. We are pleased that our spring turkey season will go on as scheduled as it adheres to guidelines of social distancing and other recommendations.”
New requirement this year is “Tag Before You Drag” where hunters tag their big game animal in the field prior to moving. They will be able to use the TWRA on the Go app to simply E-tag and report their harvest in the field in one easy step, with or without cell phone service, prior to moving. If you do not have a phone, attach one of the temporary transportations tags that printed at the bottom of your license this year and you have until midnight on the same day of the harvest to check in online at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.
Spring turkey harvest numbers have been consistent for years in Tennessee. Last year’s harvest again hovered around the 30,000-mark with 28,967 turkeys taken across the state.
A hunting and fishing combination (Type 001), plus a supplemental big game license, or a sportsman license is required. More information on the 2020 spring turkey season can be found in the 2019-20 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide. The guide is online at www.tnwildlife.org and available at TWRA offices and license agents.
Maury County had 879 harvests to lead the state last year. Dickson County was second with 827 and Greene County third at 785. All but six of the state’s 95 counties had harvest of 100 or more.
Hunting hours are 30 minutes prior to legal sunrise until legal sunset (times found based on your location in the TWRA On the Go app). Legal hunting equipment includes shotguns using ammunition loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller, longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows.
Firearms and archery equipment may have sighting devices, except those devices utilizing an artificial light capable of locating wildlife.