The Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest are home to thousands of pristine acres of untouched nature protected by Federal Law. With the resources and encouragement of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to thrive, this beautiful ecosystem is a great habitat for many species of wildlife! And just as Tennessee Wild (a coalition of organizations for the protection of wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest) states, “Generations of Americans have been hunting in Cherokee National Forest wilderness areas and will continue to do so upon passage of the Tennessee Wilderness Act.”
After relaxing in your beautiful Cabins for YOU cabin, eating delicious meals, and having a good time among the exciting attractions of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, it is time to get outside and get a little dirty while enjoying all your favorite outdoor sports in the majestic Smokies!
Go hunting as a group on your next bachelor party cabin getaway or share some quality father/son or daughter time while teaching your young ones how to safely hunt! With the right resources, you can easily be on your way to bagging game, big and small, during your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Hunting and Fishing License
First, you will need the proper license in order to hunt. You have plenty of options for obtaining your Tennessee hunting license as a resident and non-resident from sporting goods stores and county clerk offices to online! Hunting and fishing licenses go on sale on February 18 for each year, the start of prime fishing season. Licenses are valid through the end of February the following year. Only visiting for a short time? Non-residents have a 7-day license option!
Where and When to Hunt
Across 650,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forests, most of the region is open to hunting with respect to regulated hunting seasons by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, private property, recreational and administrative areas, and designated bear reserves. The TWRA website provides extensive information with area maps, game processing details, legal hunting equipment guides, and game season calendars! Each year an easy to follow Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide is published with great details on hunting events, game habits, and everything you will ever need to know about hunting in the Smokies.
The flourishing wildlife in the Appalachia makes for a great variety of available game!
- Wild Turkey
- Rugged Grouse
- White-tailed Deer
- Black Bear
- Wild Boar
Thousands of miles of beautiful streams flow through the Smoky Mountains! Thanks to wildlife preservation efforts, a wide variety of at least 315 species both native and non-native fish roam the waters of rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and lakes in Tennessee. Fishing licenses can also easily be obtained the same as hunting licenses online, country clerk office, or sporting goods store. Head to the streams to cast for bass, trout, crappie, and hundreds of other fish! For tons of helpful information such as detailed species descriptions, habits, and strategies refer to the TWRA’s The Angler’s Guide to Tennessee Fish.
Gear and Sporting Goods Stores
Licensed hunters are authorized to use: shotguns, rifles, muzzleloaders, handguns, archery equipment, and dogs (with certain restrictions). While you may already have your guns or bows, if you need more ammunition or other equipment there are many reputable sporting goods stores in the Smoky Mountains area!
Buds Gun Shop and Tennessee Range
2270 Two Rivers Blvd
Sevierville, TN 37876
Smoky Mountain Guns & Ammo
2320 Winfield Dunn Pkwy
Sevierville, TN 37876
More Ways to Experience the Wildlife
With 240 species of birds reported, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a crowd favorite among bird watchers! Beautiful Warblers, Flycatchers, Owls, Chickadees, and Wrens flutter through the trees of Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and along Newfound Gap. Bring your camera and binoculars for an eventful day of “birding” in the Smokies! The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont hosts a special event open to the public called “bird banding.” Researchers catch birds in Walker Valley in order to gather more information on specie habits and movements. To teach the public more about their research, Tremont allows visitors to hold birds in their hands during the process of banding!
During your visit to Cades Cove, visitors have a special opportunity to witness animals in their natural habitat! For the best viewing, it is recommended to arrive early in the morning while deer and elk are grazing and turkeys are scouring the forest floors. Be sure to bring your camera and keep an open eye out for the hundreds of species you will have an opportunity to see during your visit, whether it’s while you are hiking, rafting, driving along Newfound Gap and Cades Cove, or driving an ATV!
Other Outdoor Sports
From towering, majestic mountain peaks of Mount LeConte to formidable Class III and IV rapids of the Pigeon River, hundreds of miles of stunning nature act as an awesome playground for outdoor enthusiasts of every degree! Whether it’s your first time getting out to explore or your one hundredth, the Smoky Mountains offer breath-taking views and a rejuvenating experience in a variety of outdoor sports!
Take on dirt trails, ride along rocky bluffs, and splash through shallow streams on a thrilling ATV tour through the Smokies! Traditionally known as a 4-wheeler, all-terrain vehicles are an exciting new way to see more in the deep areas of forestry where more wildlife roam and nature flourishes.
Navigate the Class III and IV rapids down the Pigeon River as you sail past impressive mountainsides and rock formations. With experienced guides, provided equipment, and the best river routes to tour, local outdoor adventure companies make planning a rafting, tubing, or kayaking excursion fun and easy!
Explore the pristine nature of the Smoky Mountains from every point-of-view and glide through the trees on a zipline tour! Fly from tree to tree down majestic mountainsides, over stunning rivers, and through graceful valleys. Miles of zipline make for a fun-filled, exciting day of outdoor adventures!