General Information

Image of turkey tracksThe Cherokee National Forest covers approximately 650,000 acres in 10 east Tennessee counties. It is the largest tract of public land in the State. Under an agreement with the USDA Forest Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) the Forest is managed cooperatively as a Wildlife Management Area Region 3 and Region 4 (WMA). The Forest Service is responsible for managing wildlife habitat and the TWRA sets game and fish seasons and bag limits.

The Cherokee National Forest is divided into four Ranger Districts. The Watauga and Unaka Ranger Districts are north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and are designated as the North Cherokee WMA. The Tellico and Ocoee Ranger Districts are south of the Park, and are designated as the South Cherokee WMA.  The North Cherokee WMA is in TWRA Region IV (423-587-7037 or 1-800-332-0900), while the the South Cherokee WMA is in Region III (931-484-9571 or 1-800-262-6704).

A variety of game animals are hunted in the Cherokee National Forest. Wild turkey, ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, black bear, wild boar, squirrel, raccoon, etc can be found throughout the Forest.

Most of the Cherokee NF is open for hunting within legal seasons. Six bear reserves are closed to bear hunting and to hunting wild boar with dogs. Areas such as recreation and administrative sites are closed to hunting. It is illegal to shoot any firearm across or from roads or vehicles. When using trails to access hunting areas please be careful and mindful that other Forest visitors may be in the area.

Remember to pay close attention to property boundaries; what you may think is national forest land may be private land. If national forest boundaries are established on the ground they will be marked with yellow signs and red paint on trees. National forest maps and USGS topographical maps are available (Map Order Form) at the Forest Supervisor's office and Ranger District offices.

To Report Game Violations

  • Region III (1-800-241-0767)
  • Region IV (1-800-831-1174)

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities