Tennessee residents are allowed to hunt without a license on the state’s Free Hunting Day, this Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, 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 outdoors sport. It is also an excellent opportunity for those folks 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. 27. Hunters are asked to check the information for particular WMAs in the newly-published 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide which is available online at www.tnwildlife.org or copies are available at any TWRA regional office or at most outlets where licenses are sold.
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 are allowed to harvest up to ten squirrels a day from the opening day of squirrel season through Feb. 28, 2017 with each hunting day beginning 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 armadillo, beaver, coyote, groundhog, and striped skunk.