Looking for a place to pursue your passion for hunting? TVA's undeveloped lands are great places to pursue the time-honored sport—and build memories that will last a lifetime. Here are hunting tips from TVA experts, who tell you how to get the most from your trip.
How do you get 10 beagles excited? According to Marty High, you take them hunting.
How do you build memories with generations of family and friends? If you ask David Brewster, you take them hunting.
Hunting in the Tennessee Valley is a time-honored way to reconnect with nature, enjoy time with family and put food on the table. But one of the main issues hunters face is finding a place to do it. That’s what makes TVA public land so special, according to Marty and David: There are more than 175,000 acres open to anyone who wants to use them for hunting.
David and Marty are both TVA employees and avid hunters. They have a professional and personal interest in maintaining public lands for hunting, so we asked them what people need to know about hunting on TVA land. Here’s their best advice:
“TVA doesn’t require any special license; you just need a state hunting license,” says Marty. “But there are federal, state and local laws and regulations governing hunting, and you need to know and follow them.”
You also need to understand hunting safety. Wearing hunter orange hats and vests helps ensure that you are seen when you’re in the woods—whether you’re hunting or not.
“People need to remember that most TVA areas are multiuse areas,” says David. “Hunting is allowed unless otherwise posted, but hikers, horseback riders and other recreation users may be in the area, too. Also, some TVA land is near developed areas. That’s why following the rules and being safety conscious is so important.”
Hunting is prohibited on some TVA lands such as TVA dam reservations, power plant reservations, power substations, campgrounds and day-use areas.
The best places to hunt aren’t always easy to get to, according to David. “Easily accessible areas get quite a bit of hunting pressure. But you’ll find some of the best hunting on TVA land without road access —on islands and land cut off from public roads by private property—and you’re likely to have it all to yourself.”
The key, he says, is to do your homework. “There’s a dispersed recreation map on TVA’s website that you can use to plan your trip,” he explains. “You can even download it to your smartphone. Just keep zooming in on the area you’re interested in until you can see the detail you need to figure out a way to access it.”
TVA public land is marked with orange paint and small metal signs along boundary lines.
In addition to being responsible hunters, Marty and David remind folks to help keep TVA public land desirable for wildlife by being responsible stewards of the resources. Use good camping and hunting practices that leave the land as undisturbed as possible so you’ll find even more turkeys, ducks, deer, squirrels and rabbits next year.
TVA is doing its part, too, says Marty: “We work continually to maintain and improve wildlife habitat—from treating invasive species of plants and planting native grasses to stabilizing shorelines and keeping the water control structures used to maintain waterfowl habitat in good repair.”
Hunting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, David and Marty say. Both have hunted nearly all their lives, and both have cherished stories to tell of days spent in the woods with friends, family and—yes—even a herd of beagles.
“For me, hunting is a great stress reliever,” says Marty. “There’s nothing like camping in the woods and hunting with your friends. I have so many memories, and I always look forward to the next trip.”
“I’ve had people ask me why I hunt,” says David, “It allows you to connect with the natural world in a way that’s hard to explain. There’s nothing like the quiet and stillness of the woods in the morning. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but if you like the outdoors, you should give it a try. You just might get hooked.”
For more on hunting, visit our page devoted to Recreation on Undeveloped TVA Public Lands.