TN Attorney General Issues Opinion on Hunting in Cities

Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - by Richard Simms


It is legal to hunt inside metropolitian city limits.

That’s the opinion of the Tennessee Attorney General.

As long as you are on your own land or have permission from the landowner, are using an appropriate firearm, possess a hunting license and hunt in season, then hunting is legal anywhere in Tennessee. Put simply, the state's hunting laws supersede local ordinances.

The opinion follows a legislative battle when a couple of bills were introduced by Representative Gary Odum to give cities the ability to limit hunting in urban settings.

"It's a matter of common sense that you don't want people deer hunting in a subdivision with children about or shooting the squirrel off a bird feeder," said Rae Bond, executive director of the Tennessee Municipal League. Bond also said her organization wants cities to be able to enforce their no-shooting ordinances for safety reasons.

The Tennessee Wildlife resources Agency actively lobbied against the bills. “The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is contacted routinely by homeowners with complaints about deer damage to landscaping as well as concerns about deer/vehicle collisions on our busy road ways,” said Dave Woodward, TWRA Chief of Information. “he combined harvest of deer in Hamilton, Knox, Davidson and Shelby counties was 2,728 in the 2000 hunting season. If anything, we need to increase the harvest of deer in these areas in order to curb population growth and maintain a balanced herd.”

"We certainly believe a landowner should be able to hunt legally on his own property or with permission of the landowner," said Allen Gebhardt, assistant director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "Our contention is that a hunter who would do something like that (shoot at animals in a populated area) is probably someone who'd hunt illegally anyway."

Even local law enforcement officials were surprised to hear about the attorney general's opinion that local anti-shooting ordinances are legally unenforceable in "hunting" situations.

In Memphis, police enforce those ordinances when they can by issuing citations or making an arrest and confiscating weapons. "We have an ordinance, and we enforce it," said Memphis police spokesman LaTanya Able. "When it's big game, and some people do shoot at deer, we call the game and fish people."

There are plenty of legitimate reasons that a person would want to shoot a wild animal on his own property in the city, said Gebhardt. "What about the guy who has a squirrel in his attic and wants to take out his .22 and get rid of it? Should we prevent him from doing that?"

For now, the Tennessee Attorney General says city governments can’t.



Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Fireside at Greenway  Oct. 30 Erin Medley and a starry night Outdoor Chattanooga will finish our 2014 Fireside at Greenway Farm series with a special evening of guitar folk and stargazing this Thurs., Oct. 30, 7 ... (click for more)

Governor Haslam Dedicates Trail At Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area

Governor Haslam joined staff from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation last Friday to dedicate a new trail at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. “Tennessee has incredible natural areas that offer something for everyone, and this partnership will help protect and preserve these lands for future generations ... (click for more)

Two North Shore Sold To Pennsylvania Real Estate Firm For Almost $24 Million

The Two North Shore commercial development on Manufacturers Road in North Chattanooga has been sold to a Pennsylvania real estate firm for  $23,983,363. Steve Arnsdorff, who developed the successful center from the ground up and has continued to manage it, said the deal closed last week. He said the sale for the property at 319 Manufacturers Road is to Stoltz Real Estate ... (click for more)

Mother Gets 20 Years In Death Of 4-Year-Old Son, Severe Injury To 3-Year-Old

Patricia Brewer was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for the abuse death of her four-year-old son and severe injury of her three-year-old son. She appeared before Judge Rebecca Stern and entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police said the injuries came after the mother left them alone in the care of her boyfriend, who has a history ... (click for more)

Congratulations To Ron Hughes

Hearty congratulations to Ron Hughes for being selected as Tennessee State Elementary Principal of the Year for 2014. Wherever Ron has been assigned as principal, he has exhibited strong leadership both academically and morally. His faith in God and his love for the students of Hamilton County have guided his actions and everyone that has benefited from the excellent education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Brittany’s Days Dwindle

So here we are, facing what is known as “Devil’s Night” before Halloween comes, and the almost macabre news now comes that Brittany Maynard, the beautiful girl who has chosen to end her life as soon as Saturday, is struggling to meet her own deadline. She has inoperable brain cancer and, at best, only months to live. The 29-year-old, who was married shortly before her devastating ... (click for more)