Best Public Land Turkey Hunting in Tennessee & Expert Tips

Turkey hunting is a thrilling activity that has gained immense popularity among outdoor enthusiasts in Tennessee. With its diverse landscapes and thriving turkey population, Tennessee offers fantastic opportunities for both seasoned and newbie hunters.

In this article, we will take a look at turkey hunting on public lands and discover the best public land in Tennessee to start this exciting adventure.

Let’s stay until the end!

Overview of Tennessee’s Turkey Hunting

Tennessee, a state located in the Southeastern United States, has earned a well-deserved reputation as a top destination for turkey hunting. This state has a healthy turkey population and offers well-regulated hunting seasons to ensure sustainability. Before starting your turkey hunting expedition, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the state’s hunting regulations and licensing requirements. These guidelines not only ensure the preservation of the turkey population but also promote safe and ethical hunting practices.

Top Public Land Areas for Turkey Hunting in Tennessee

Are you ready to unlock the top public land areas for turkey hunting in Tennessee yet? Let’s now discover our 6 best places along with their location, acreage, characteristics, and more!

Cherokee National Forest

Located in eastern Tennessee, the Cherokee National Forest provides vast expanses of public land for turkey hunting. The forests and mountains offer ideal habitat for turkeys, and the area has a healthy turkey population.


Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Situated on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, Land Between the Lakes offers abundant hunting opportunities, including turkey hunting. The diverse terrain and ample wildlife make it a popular destination for hunters.


North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area

This large wildlife management area covers over 140,000 acres in northeastern Tennessee. It features a mix of hardwood forests and open fields, providing a variety of hunting environments for turkeys.


Catoosa Wildlife Management Area

Located in the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee, Catoosa WMA offers over 80,000 acres of public land for hunting. The area consists of rugged hills, mixed forests, and open fields, providing good turkey habitat.


Natchez Trace State Forest

Situated in western Tennessee, Natchez Trace State Forest spans over 48,000 acres and offers diverse hunting opportunities, including turkey hunting. The forest features a mix of hardwoods, pines, and open areas.


Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

Straddling the Tennessee-Kentucky border, the Big South Fork is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation. It also provides opportunities for turkey hunting, with its expansive woodlands and abundant wildlife.


The Importance of Public Land for Turkey Hunting

Public land plays a significant role in providing ample opportunities for turkey hunters in Tennessee. Unlike private land, public land is accessible to all hunters, offering vast expanses of untamed wilderness to explore. Public lands also provide diverse habitats that attract and sustain turkey populations, making them ideal hunting grounds. Additionally, hunting on public land allows hunters to experience the thrill of adventure and the satisfaction of self-reliance.

Factors to Find the Best Public Land for Turkey Hunting in Tennessee

To maximize your chances of a successful turkey hunting trip in Tennessee, several factors should be taken into consideration when selecting a public land area.

  • Terrain and Habitat: Turkeys thrive in specific habitats and terrains. Some areas may have dense forests, while others may consist of rolling hills or open fields. Understanding the preferred habitats of turkeys will help you narrow down your search for hunting grounds.
  • Population and Success Rates: Monitoring turkey population and hunting success rates is crucial for selecting the best public land areas. By accessing data or resources that provide insights into turkey populations and hunting success rates on public lands in Tennessee, hunters can make informed decisions. This information can be obtained from state wildlife agencies, hunting forums, or local hunting clubs.
  • Access and Availability: When evaluating public land areas for turkey hunting, accessibility is a key factor. Consider the proximity to your location, availability of parking facilities, and any permits or specific regulations associated with each public land area. It is essential to plan your trip well in advance to secure necessary permits and ensure a hassle-free experience.
  • Local Knowledge and Recommendations: Gathering local knowledge and recommendations can significantly enhance your turkey hunting endeavors. Engaging with local hunters, joining hunting forums, or accessing online resources that provide insights into specific public land areas in Tennessee will give you a competitive advantage. Experienced hunters can offer valuable advice on where to find active turkey populations and suggest strategic hunting spots.

Tips and Strategies for Successful Turkey Hunting on Public Land

When hunting turkey, safety is a top priority because this is an extreme “sport” and has a risk to your life. Besides, with the combination of hunting skills like scouting, calls, decoys,… with patience, turkey hunting in public land will become more and more interesting.

  • Scouting: Before the hunting season, spend time scouting the chosen public land area. Look for signs of turkey activity such as scratch marks, droppings, and roosting areas. This will help you identify prime locations to set up your blinds or tree stands.
  • Calls and Decoys: Mastering turkey calls and using decoys can greatly increase your chances of attracting turkeys. Practice various calls to mimic turkey sounds effectively and strategically place decoys to create a realistic hunting setup.
  • Patience and Stealth: Turkeys have keen senses, so patience and stealth are key. Move slowly and quietly, paying attention to any movement or sound that may alert turkeys to your presence. Take advantage of natural cover and make use of available terrain features to remain concealed.
  • Safety Considerations: Safety should always be a top priority. Ensure you are familiar with hunting regulations, wear appropriate hunter orange clothing, and maintain a safe distance from other hunters. Always identify your target before taking a shot.


Tennessee’s public lands offer a treasure trove of opportunities for turkey hunting enthusiasts. By considering factors such as terrain, population, access, and local knowledge, hunters can identify the best public land areas in the state. Engage in scouting, perfect your calls, and exercise patience to increase your chances of a successful hunt. With its rich turkey populations and breathtaking landscapes, Tennessee stands as a premier destination for unforgettable public land turkey hunting experiences. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the wild, and savor the thrill of pursuing these majestic birds in the heart of Tennessee’s public lands.

Leave a Comment