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 Guide to Hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains 
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Post Guide to Hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains
Guide to Hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains
by: Bob Foster

One of the most popular activities in eastern Tennessee is hunting. Why not? There are a number of interesting game animals to stalk in the Smoky Mountains, some native and some not, but all great for sport. Get a license from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency that is good from February to March of the next year. Depending on what you are planning on hunting and for how long, you can choose from a number of different licenses appropriate for your trip. If you are planning on bringing children or seniors with you, look out for discounted licenses for their age groups. Keep in mind that the most specific license you can buy for your hunt will save you money, but if you are planning to hunt multiple species or are planning to both fish and hunt, get a more general license.

Some of the most popular game animals include the wild turkey, wild hogs, black bears, and deer.

One of the more tricky animals to capture is the eastern wild turkey, living in some small groups in eastern Tennessee’s wilderness. Endangered at one point, the turkey has made a comeback in Tennessee, although they are difficult to catch and extremely shy. They are smaller than most turkeys, as they rarely reach 20 pounds, it is the interbreeding of feral and eastern turkeys that create the larger birds. Calling these birds takes a special talent, which contributes to the small number of them that are taken in each season. Consider getting a guide to help you. The season for turkeys typically lasts from the last day of March to mid-May, and bag limits are not to exceed one bearded turkey per day and 4 per season.

Wild hogs are one of the biggest species invaders for the Smoky Mountain region. Transported from Europe in 1912 to populate a private game preserve, some of the boar escaped and made it to the National Park by the late 1940s. Some interbreeding between the wild boar and domestic pigs in the area created hybrid wild hogs, which are mainly what roam the park today. They have most of the features of the wild hog, including black hair, long legs and tusks. A white blaze on their face indicates the hybridization clearly. Most weigh about 125 pounds and are typically around three and a half feet long. They have a well-developed set of canine teeth, poor eyesight and a keen sense of smell and hearing. They are typically found in the western two-thirds of the park, but they move to higher elevations during the spring and summer in search of cooler temperatures. There are only a few hundred of these hogs left in the park, but because they are an exotic animal detrimental to the health of the park, they are popular for hunting.

Black bears are possible game animals in the park, although their harvest is fairly limited. No one may kill more than one per calendar year. Cubs or female bears with cubs may not ever be killed, and a cub is any bear weighing less than 75 pounds. Check carefully about restrictions in the county you plan to hunt in, as some will allow only archery for bears while others have different dates for their season. Dogs are prohibited in some counties and allowed in others, as well.

Deer are also a fairly popular game animal in Tennessee. Legally, they must have antlers a minimum of three inches in length on buck-only or antlered-only hunts. Antlerless bag limits are higher than those Albino deer are not to be killed. Tennessee is divided into three sections for deer hunting: Unit A, B and L. Hunters can bag no more than three per season, except for in Unit B, where no more than two can be taken. No more than one antlered deer can be taken per day, as well. The dates and lengths of the seasons change, depending on what weapon you are planning on using and whether or not children will be present. Do some research and plan where you will hunt and what you will use, bag limits can change accordingly.

The Smoky Mountains are a great place for a hunting trip because of their lengthy game seasons and different types of prey. Consider renting one of our Gatlinburg cabins with your friends or family ; you can cook up what you hunted right there!

About The Author
Bob Foster became an expert on this part of the country as a child. Bob turned that childhood expertise into a profession managing a business that specializes in rentals of Gatlinburg cabins and Pigeon Forge cabins
The author invites you to visit:

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Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:42 pm
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