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.



The Trail Of Tears And The Road To Civil War Hike Offered On Sept. 12

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to attend a special hike at Moccasin Bend National Archeological District on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m.    Participants should take the Manufacturer’s Road exit off Highway 27 and drive west, following the “Special Event” signs to the Brown’s Ferry Federal Road trailhead off Moccasin Bend Road. ... (click for more)

East Tennessee Dove Season Opens With A Bang

With shotguns in hand and hats shading heads, over 1,000 East Tennessee hunters harvested nearly 5,000 doves on fields leased or owned by TWRA during Tuesday’s opening of the mourning dove hunting season.  Dove hunting on opening day is a longstanding tradition in the state as hunters brave the dust and heat with hopes of filling their bags with a limit of 15 birds.  ... (click for more)

Crowd Packs Lindsey Street Hall For Presidential Candidate Rubio

A Chattanooga crowd packed the Lindsey Street Hall for presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Thursday afternoon. Former Congressman Zach Wamp, the statewide Rubio chairman, helped build the frenzy with a spirited introduction. "I believe in him 100 percent," he said of the 44-year-old junior Florida senator. The candidate stepped onto the stage of the former church just after ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Reaches Settlement With Former Police Chief On Lawsuit

The Soddy Daisy Commission acting on the recommendation from City Attorney Sam Elliott, voted to accept the decision made during mediation regarding a lawsuit against the city. City Manager Janice Cagle and attorney Elliott attended a day-long mediation concerning that lawsuit against the city brought by former police chief David Loftis claiming wrongful termination. While the city ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Every Child Must Watch This

In the course of my day, I read different websites, am sent all kinds of neat videos and I love the jokes I get. But when I logged onto my ever-bulging email account Thursday morning, I happened across the scariest, most terrifying video I have ever watched. There is a website I check called “Atchuup” that boasts “cool stories daily.” Some are pretty good but this one nearly knocked ... (click for more)