TWRA announces Free Hunting Day Saturday

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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NASHVILLE — Tennessee residents have reason to mark their calendars for Saturday, August 26, 2023, as it ushers in the state’s Free Hunting Day, coinciding with the highly anticipated opening day of squirrel season.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) presents Free Hunting Day annually with the aim of stoking interest in the cherished tradition of hunting. Squirrel hunting, deeply rooted in Tennessee’s heritage, holds a special place in the hearts of residents, making this day an ideal opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the joys of the sport.
The TWRA encourages seasoned hunters to share their passion by introducing friends and family, both young and old, to the outdoor pursuit. It also serves as a welcome return for those who have taken a hiatus from hunting.
Alongside the squirrel season opener, an exclusive three-day archery-only antlered deer hunt on private lands is scheduled from August 25 to August 27, with limited exceptions in Unit CWD and specific public lands.
On Free Hunting Day, resident hunters enjoy a reprieve from licensing and WMA permit requirements. Several Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) grant public access to hunters on August 26, with detailed information available in the 2023-24 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. For hunting on private lands, sportsmen must secure permission from landowners.
The TWRA underscores that hunter education prerequisites persist on Free Hunting Day. Individuals born after January 1, 1969, must have successfully completed a hunter education course, although an apprentice license provides a one-year exemption.
The squirrel season extension, allowing hunters to harvest up to 10 squirrels daily until March 15, 2024, was enacted last year by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. Each hunting day commences half an hour before sunrise and concludes half an hour after sunset.
For comprehensive information on hunting in Tennessee, visit TWRA’s website at or contact your nearest TWRA regional office. Tennessee residents are invited to seize this opportunity to embrace the outdoors and honor a beloved state tradition.

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