When Is Raccoon Hunting Season

Tennessee Hunting

Small Game Species

Coots Beaver Armadillo Crow Bobcat Bullfrog Gallinules/Moorhens Coyote Collared Dove Mourning Dove Fox Grouse Waterfowl: Ducks & Geese Groundhog Quail Snipe Mink Rabbit Woodcock Muskrat Squirrel Rails Opossum River Otter Raccoon Skunk Weasel

Hunting Seasons

All hunting seasons are closed unless opened by specific Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission proclamations.

Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit, except for migratory game birds, and except on opening day. Dogs allowed for hunting all small game species, except on specific WMAs where indicated.

Armadillo, beaver, coyote, groundhog, striped skunk – Open year-round, no limit.

Fox, mink, muskrat, otter a , spotted skunk, weasel – Open Nov. 22, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020 no limit.

Bobcat b – Open Nov. 22, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020. Limit 1 per day.

  1. All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee U. S. CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
  2. Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee U.S. CITES tags in order to be exported from the U.S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions

Bullfrog Hunting

All waters of the state are open to bullfrog hunting except waters within state and federal wildlife refuges. Season is open year-round, except on TWRA managed lakes the season is June 1–30. Bag limit is 20 per person, per night. The use of firearms is prohibited for bullfrog hunting on wildlife management areas and TWRA lakes, except air guns may be used. Only domestically raised bullfrogs or parts thereof may be sold. A hunting license is required to take bullfrogs. No WMA permit is required.

Raccoon and Opossum Hunting

Opossum can be taken during the raccoon hunting season. No limit. Night is defined as one 24-hour period beginning at sunset.

Private Land Season – Open sunset July 1 through sunset Sept. 18, 2019. Bag limit is 1 per person per night. WMAs and all other public lands are closed during this period. Closed in Scott, Morgan, Roane, Rhea, Hamilton counties and all other Tennessee counties east of those counties.

Statewide – Opens sunrise Sept. 19, 2019 – sunrise Feb. 29, 2020; bag limit 2 per person per night.

Raccoon Dog Training (no taking)

Year-round except where regulated by Private Acts. The following counties are regulated by Private Acts: DeKalb County is open for year-round training except in the portion lying south and west of State Hwy. 96 and U. S. Hwy. 70 where the training season will open 30 days prior to the hunting season. Refer to specific WMA listings for WMA raccoon dog training seasons.

Trapping Seasons

Beaver, coyote, groundhog – Open year-round, no limit.

Bobcat a , fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, otter b , raccoon, spotted skunk, striped skunk, weasel – Open Nov. 22, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020; no limit

  1. Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee U. S. CITES tags in order to be exported from the U. S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
  2. All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee U. S. CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.

Dog Training

Training of bird dogs and squirrel dogs is permitted year-round on private lands, during daylight hours only. Training of rabbit dogs is permitted year round on private lands day and night. The chasing of foxes with hounds is permitted year-round, day and night. A hunting license is required while training dogs except when a person is competing in recognized field trials. When training on a WMA, a small game permit (see License Fees) is required. Refer to specific WMA listings for WMA dog training seasons. See Unit CWD for bear dog training.


Seasons & Hours



Dates :

Nov 15 2020 to Jan 31 2021

Daily limit: Any number
Possession limit: Any number

During any portion of the firearms deer season, furbearer hunters must also possess an unfilled firearms deer hunting permit.

Small Game Hunting Permit

Limits :

Limits are set for each species’ hunting or trapping season. Check the species and season listings for information about limits.

Small Game Hunting and Fishing Permit

Limits :

Limits are set for each species and hunting or trapping season. Check the species and season listings for information about limits.

See also:  Raccoon Where Do They Live

Resident Trapping Permit

Nonresident Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Permit

Limits :

Limits vary by species and season.

Military Reduced Cost Permit

Lifetime Small Game Hunting Permit (residents only)

Lifetime Conservation Partner (Hunting and Fishing) Permit (residents only)

Archer’s Hunting Permit

Limits :

Deer: Two deer of either sex, but only one antlered deer may be taken before November 16.
Turkeys: Two turkeys of either sex.
Furbearers: See Seasons for prescribed limits. Hunters may sell furbearers harvested under this permit. Nonresidents may not harvest furbearers with this permit.
Small game: See Seasons for prescribed limits.

Allowed Methods

Hunting Methods

  • Pistols, revolvers, and rifles propelling a single projectile at one discharge
  • Firearms powered by spring, air, or compressed gas
  • Shotguns not larger than 10 gauge with magazine cut off or plugged to reduce the capacity to no more than three shells.
  • Bows, including longbows, compound bows, and recurve bows.
  • Crossbows
  • Atlatls
  • Slingshots
  • Dogs may be used
  • Artificial lights are allowed if raccoons are treed with the aid of dogs.
  • Electronic calls or electronically activated calls may be used.

During fall deer season, hunters must have an unfilled firearms deer hunting permit and a permit to hunt small game.

Trapping Methods

  • Traps must have smooth or rubber jaws only
  • Foot-hold trap
  • Conibear or other killing-type trap
  • Foot-enclosing trap
  • Cage-type trap
  • Colony traps with openings no greater than 6 inches in height and 6 inches wide
  • Cable restraint devices
  • Snare set underwater

Within communities having 10,000 or more inhabitants, only cage-type or foot-enclosing traps, may be set within 150 feet of any residence or occupied building.

Prohibited Methods

  • Arrows containing any drug, poison, chemical, or explosive
  • Poisons, tranquilizing drugs, chemicals, or explosives
  • Motor driven conveyances may not be used to take, drive, or molest wildlife
  • Artificial lights to search for, harass, or disturb wildlife
  • You may not take wildlife from or across a public roadway with a firearm, bow, or crossbow
  • Snares set on land
  • Pitfalls
  • Deadfalls
  • Nets
  • Traps may not be set in paths made or used by people or domestic animals
  • Killing-type traps may not be set along public roadways.

You may not possess night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife.

Dogs may not be used during daylight hours from Nov. 1 through the end of the November portion statewide and antlerless portion in open counties.


Seasons by Animal & Category

Special Seasons

  1. Archery-only
    Restricted to legal archery and crossbow equipment
  2. Falconry
    Restricted to falconry hunting
  1. Muzzleloader Deer
    Restricted to muzzleloading guns
  2. Youth-Only
    Age-restricted hunting seasons

Game Animals

  1. Alligator
    Regular season
  2. Javelina
    Regular & no closed season
  3. Mule Deer
    Regular & archery season
  1. Pronghorn
    Regular season by permit
  2. Squirrel
    Youth & regular season
  3. White-tailed Deer
    General, archery, youth & late antlerless season

Upland Game Birds

  1. Chachalaca
    Regular season
  2. Pheasant
    Regular season
  1. Quail
    Regular season
  2. Turkey
    Regular fall, regular spring & archery seasons

Migratory Game Birds

  1. Common Snipe
    Regular season
  2. Dove
    Regular, special & falconry seasons
  3. Duck
    Regular, youth & falconry seasons
  4. Goose
    Canada, Light and Dark & White-fronted seasons
  1. Rails, Gallinules & Moorhens
    Regular & falconry seasons
  2. Sandhill Cranes
    Regular season
  3. Teal
    Regular season
  4. Woodcock
    Regular & falconry seasons

Other Animals

  1. Rabbits & Hares
    No closed season
  2. Fur-Bearing Animals
    Badger, Beaver, Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Nutria, Opossum, Otter, Raccoon, Ring-tailed cat, Skunk
  3. Non-Game Animals
    Armadillos, Bobcats, Coyotes, Flying Squirrels, Frogs, Mountain lions, Porcupines, Prairie dogs, Turtles

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Raccoon and opossum hunting regulations

2020 season hunting dates

Jan. 1 — Jan 31, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2020 — Jan. 30, 2021

All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.


Hunting Hours

Raccoon and opossum may be hunted 24 hours per day. Except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, the hunting hours for raccoon and opossum are from 9:00 P.M. to 3:00 A.M.

Required License and Permits

To hunt raccoon and opossum in Massachusetts you must have certain licenses and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

  • Hunting or sporting license
  • Small game or big game license

Bag Limits

Raccoon Individual bag limit: 3 raccoons (Between sunset of one day and sunset of the following day.)

Raccoon Group bag limit (2 or more hunters): 6 raccoons (Between sunset of one day and sunset of the following day.)

Opossum: No bag limit.

Hunting Zones:

All wildlife management zones

Hunting Implements

Shotguns: Only shot size up to #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches).

Archery equipment: Archery tackle is legal, with no minimum pull. Crossbows may only be used by permit. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, and bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited.

See also:  Racoon Where Do They Live

Rifles and handguns*:

-Daytime hunting: During the period from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset there are no restrictions on size or caliber of rifles or handguns.

-Nighttime hunting: During the period from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise, rifles are restricted to those chambered not larger than .22 long rifle and handguns are restricted to those chambered not larger than .38 caliber.

*Prohibited on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant and quail seasons except from 9pm to 3am.

Muzzleloaders: Smooth bore muzzleloaders: Only shot size up to #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches). Rifled bore muzzleloaders: no restrictions on caliber size.

Hunting Methods

Here are the legal ways to hunt raccoon and opossum:

  • Dogs
  • Manual Calls
  • Electronic Calls
  • Bait
  • Artificial light

Tagging, Transporting, and Reporting Requirements

You do not have to report raccoon or opossum.

Hunting Season Framework

October 1 to the last day of January of the following year.

Raccoon and opossum hunting regulations

This page is to be used as a reference, it is not the entire law and is subject to change. You can refer to the hunting and trapping of certain mammals regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(5) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for more information about raccoon and opossum hunting.


Raccoon, Procyon lotor

The Raccoon is a familiar masked, nocturnal mammal is found state-wide in Tennessee.

Description: A medium-sized, stocky mammal with a distinctive black mask, outlined in white, over the eyes. Another distinguishing feature is the bushy tail with 4 to 7 alternating rings of black and yellowish-gray, which is about half the total body length. Fur color is a grizzled brown and black with grayish below. The snout is pointed, but the head widens towards the body. The front feet are slender and delicate, and used to bring food to their mouth.

Length: 26 — 38 inches
7.9 — 12 inches
1.9 — 2.5 inches
8 — 25 pounds

Habitat: Raccoons are found in various rural and urban habitats, but are partial to hardwood swamps, marshes, and bottomland forests. Dens are usually located in hollow trees, caves, rocky ledges, old woodchuck burrows, squirrel nests, or abandoned farm buildings.

Diet: They have an omnivorous diet eating both plants and animals. Plant foods can include persimmons, grapes, blackberries, acorns, pecans, grasses, and corn. The animal material includes insects, small rodents, crayfish, frogs, snakes, fish, squirrels, rabbits, and eggs and young of birds.

Breeding information: The peak of the breeding season is in February, but may last into the spring. Females produce a single litter per year with 1-7 (average 3-4) young. The gestation period is 63 days. Newborn Raccoons are blind, but have fur and the mask is visible, or soon will be. At 8-10 weeks they begin to eat solid foods and forage outside the den with their mother.

Status in Tennessee: Raccoons are a hunted species in Tennessee. They may be abundant in many areas of the state.

Fun Facts:
•The Raccoon’s Latin name lotor means «a washer,» referring to the habit of washing their food before they eat it.
•Raccoons can sleep for days or weeks, but are not true hibernators.

Tips on living with Raccoons

Do not feed raccoons. Deliberate feeding of raccoons makes them more comfortable around humans and more likely to get into situations where they are unwanted or in danger. It also encourages unnaturally high population levels within a small geographic area. This creates a higher risk of disease transmission among the raccoons and increases the likelihood that they will become pests. It is much better and more humane to allow population levels to adjust to the food and habitat natural available.

Feed pets indoors. Leaving food outside for pets is not a good idea as this attracts raccoons. Feeding them inside will eliminate a raccoon attractant and will diminish the likelihood of an unwanted encounter between your pet and a wild animal. Feeding cats outdoors is especially an issue because cats should never be let outdoors.

Tightly cover all garbage cans.

Seal-up all potential denning locations within your home. Placing caps on chimneys (which is bad for the declining Chimney Swift) and blocking outside entryways to basements, attics, and under porches will reduce the likelihood that you will wind-up sharing your home with a raccoon.

Landscape for wildlife. Plant native vegetation and leave snags standing. Making natural food and shelter available will reduce the likelihood of unwanted human-raccoon interactions.

Raccoons are not pets! Raccoons do not make good pets. Like all wild animals raccoons can carry diseases and parasites. When they reach sexual maturity they can become territorial and aggressive. It is illegal in the State of Tennessee to take a raccoon out of the wild to be kept as a pet.

See also:  Will Foggers Get Rid Of Raccoons

Situations and Solutions

Identifying a «nuisance» raccoon. Raccoons are a fact of urban living. In many cases, tolerance and prevention (eliminating unnatural food sources, sealing up potential denning locations) is the best approach. If you do find yourself in conflict with your local raccoon population, the first thing to consider is identifying the source of the problem. What is attracting the raccoon to your property?

Is there a way to eliminate the attractant? Do you need to speak with your neighbors about doing the same? The vast majority of urban raccoon conflicts occur because somebody in the neighborhood is either deliberately or inadvertently providing some sort of unnatural food source for the raccoons.

Raccoons are raiding my garbage cans! Raccoons will take advantage of any available food source and are well-known raiders of garbage cans. Garbage cans should be secured tightly to prevent a raccoon’s access. You can fasten the lid securely with rope, bungee cords or weights. Garbage cans can be secured to a wooden stake or wall to prevent being knocked over. Commercial repellants can also be sprayed directly onto garbage cans to deter raccoons.

A raccoon is denning under my porch, deck or house. Exclusion is the best way to prevent a raccoon from making its home under your porch, deck or house. If there is a raccoon, find out if it has young in the den. If there are young present it is best to wait till the young are able to leave the den with their mother before trying any exclusion techniques. Close off all but one entrance or exit to the den. Wait until all raccoons have left before sealing up the final entrance. To urge a raccoon with young out of a den, place a small battery operate radio set to a talk station into the den. This disturbance will help to convince the raccoon to relocate her young to a new location. Seal up the entrance to the den when you are sure all raccoons have vacated.

Raccoons are digging up my garden and lawn. Raccoons have a varied diet and sometimes find food sources in our gardens or lawn. Commercial or natural repellants can be used on small areas to deter raccoons. Commercially available animal repellants can be applied around the perimeter of affected area of lawn or garden. Repellants are not species specific and should be used with caution with outdoor pets. Scare tactics such as bright, blinking lights or a loud radio can be used in gardens to deter raccoons.

Raccoons are fighting with my cat or dog! Most conflicts with pets occur because of competition over outdoor food bowls. The best way to prevent these types of conflicts is to feed pets indoors. Raccoons will also protect their dens from dogs. If you know you have a denning raccoon in the area, keep dogs under control and house them indoors at night when raccoons are most active.

Won’t the raccoons starve if we stop feeding them? No. Raccoons are capable of traveling great distances to find food and territory. If you stop feeding, raccoon populations will slowly adjust to the level that can be accommodated by the available natural habitat. Although it is well intentioned, intentional feeding of raccoons is highly destructive to the animals. Raccoons that become habituated to human handouts are likely to become pests. Unnaturally large congregations of raccoons leads to territorial conflicts and disease outbreaks. If you care about raccoons, please don’t feed them!

Relocation is not a solution.

Relocation is ineffective and is illegal in some areas of Tennessee due to rabies. Contact your regional TWRA office for information of relocating raccoons and whether it is legal or not in your area. Relocated raccoons are quickly replaced by other raccoons. The best solution is to leave the raccoons alone and remove or modify whatever is attracting them specifically to your yard.

Relocation is inhumane. Although many people perceive relocation as a humane approach to resolving conflicts, it is in fact just the opposite. Relocated raccoons have to fight with already established raccoons for territory, food and shelter. Many raccoons do not survive relocation and those that do disrupt already established populations. Relocated raccoon kits are almost always abandoned as it is near impossible for a mother to carry and care for her young while also establishing herself in a new territory.

Relocation is ecologically destructive. Relocation of raccoons disrupts already established populations. Excessive dumping of raccoons into natural areas may result in ecological damage and has been implicated in the transmission of disease among otherwise unaffected populations. Many local parks and natural areas now have policies prohibiting the dumping of raccoons.

Relocation requires permits. Raccoons are protected under state law and relocation of these animals requires permits from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. If you hire a professional wildlife relocation service, be sure to ask to see their state permits prior to signing the contract.


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