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Tennessee Bear Seasons & Regulations


  • Bear Limit: One (1) bear either sex per year.
  • Cubs or female bears with cubs at side may not be taken at any time. A cub is defined as any bear weighing seventy-five (75) pounds or less.
  • All harvested bears must be checked out at an official checking station. Bears may not be checked in via the Internet or with the TWRA mobile application. Bears may be whole or field dressed, but must weigh 75 pounds or greater when checked in.
  • The reproductive sex organs shall remain attached to each bear harvested at least until the bear has been officially checked out at an official bear checking station.

Bear Hunting Zones

Bear Hunting Zones

For the purpose of these hunting regulations and better wildlife management, the State of Tennessee is hereby divided into five (5) bear hunt zones (BHZ’s) as follows:

  • BHZ1: Carter, Cocke (North of I-40), Greene, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, & Washington.
  • BHZ2: Blount, Cocke (South of I-40), Jefferson (East of Hwy 411), Sevier
  • BHZ3: McMinn (East of Hwy 411), Monroe, Polk (East of Hwy 411 & North of Hwy 64)
  • BHZ4: Cumberland (North of I-40), Fentress, Morgan, Pickett (East of Hwy 111), & Scott (West of Hwy 27)
  • Transitional: Bradley, Hamblen, Hamilton (East of TN River), Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger, Jefferson (west of Hwy 411), Knox, Loudon, McMinn (West of Hwy 411), & Polk (West of Hwy 411)

Prohibited Acts

  • Hunting private property without landowners permission.
  • Hunting prohibited over a site where bait has been placed to feed or attract wildlife unless the bait has been removed at least 10 days prior to hunting.
  • It is illegal to hunt, shoot at, chase, or kill any wild animal, wild bird, or wildfowl from a public road right-of-way, or from any motorized vehicle, or to shoot any firearms across or from any public road or vehicle.

Bear Reserves

Bear hunting is not permitted in bear reserves unless a special exception is provided by proclamation.

Taking Wild Hogs During Bear Dog Hunts

Individuals licensed to hunt bears may take wild hogs during any proclaimed bear-dog hunt.

2014 Bear Seasons

  Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Transitional
(Dogs Allowed)
Oct. 6-10
Nov. 3-7
Dec. 1-20
Sept. 29-Oct. 5
Nov. 3-7
Dec. 1-25
Oct. 4-12
Nov. 3-7
Dec. 1-14
Dec. 30-Jan. 2
Closed Closed
Archery Only
(No Dogs)
Sept. 27-Oct. 24 Sept. 27-Oct. 24 Sept. 27-Oct. 24 Sept. 27-Oct. 24 Sept. 27-Oct. 24
(No Dogs)
Nov. 22-25 Nov. 22-25 Nov. 22-25 Closed Closed
Young Sportsman
G/M/A (No Dogs)
Oct. 25-26 Oct. 25-26 Oct. 25-26 Closed Closed

* Youths 6-16 years of age may participate. Young sportsmen must 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 device and who must also comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.

** The following areas within BHZ4 are closed to bear hunting: Big South Fork River and Recreation Area, Scott State Forest, and Obed National Scenic River Corridor.

2014 Bear Dog Training Season

No bears may be taken. No firearms or archery equipment may be possessed. Bear dog training is permitted one half-hour before legal sunrise to one half hour after legal sunset.

The following zones are open for a bear dog training season during daylight hours only:

  • BHZ 1 and BHZ 2                          
    Aug. 23-Sep. 28, 2014
    No bears may be taken.  No weapons may be possessed.

  • BHZ 3
    Sep. 3-12, 2014
    No bears may be taken. No weapons may be possessed.