August 19, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Tennessee residents are allowed to hunt without a license on Saturday, Aug. 22 which coincides with the opening day of squirrel season.
Free Hunting Day is an event the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency annually provides in hopes of increasing interest in hunting. Squirrel hunting is one of Tennessee’s oldest and favorite traditions. The day serves as an excellent opportunity for persons to experience the enjoyment of the sport.
The TWRA encourages regular hunters to introduce friends and family members (young and old) to the outdoor sport. It is also an excellent opportunity for persons who have not tried hunting in a while to be reintroduced to the sport.
On Free Hunting Day, state resident hunters are exempt from hunting licenses and WMA permit requirements. Many of the WMAs are open to hunters seeking public access on Aug. 22. Hunters are asked to check the information for particular WMAs in the 2020-21 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. Sportsmen are reminded to ask for permission to hunt on private lands.
The TWRA offers a reminder that hunter education requirements are not waived for Free Hunting Day. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 is required to have successfully completed a hunter education course. An apprentice license is required for those born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 if the hunter education course has not been completed. This license exempts the hunter from the mandatory hunter education law for one year from the date of purchase, but may only be purchased for up to three consecutive years during the lifetime of the hunter.
Hunters can harvest up to 10 squirrels a day from the opening day of squirrel season through Feb. 28, 2021. Each hunting day begins a half-hour before sunrise and ending a half-hour after sunset.
In addition to squirrels, those species that have a year-round season will be open as well. The year-round species include armadillos, beavers, coyotes, groundhogs, and striped skunks.
For more information about hunting in Tennessee, visit TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org or contact your nearest TWRA regional office.