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.



8th Annual Maury County Youth Small Game And Predator Hunt Scheduled For Feb. 11

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be one of the sponsors for the eighth annual Maury County Youth Small Game and Predator Hunt to be held Feb. 11. The free event is for youth from ages 9-15 who must have a TWRA Hunter Education certification by the hunt date and have all the appropriate licenses permits. Hunters must also provide their own firearm and ammunition.   ... (click for more)

7th Annual Daniel Greer Memorial Youth Waterfowl Hunt Set For Feb. 11 In Cheatham County

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is among the partners to host the Seventh Annual Daniel Greer Memorial Youth Waterfowl Hunt. The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 11 at Cheatham Lake Wildlife Management Area. The event is held in honor of U.S. Marine Corporal Daniel Greer who lost his life in August 2010 while serving in southern Afghanistan. He was an Ashland City firefighter ... (click for more)

Alabama Man Faces Murder Charge In Shooting Death At Bradley County Landfill

An investigation by  s pecial agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of an Alabama man in a shooting death that occurred last fall at the Bradley County landfill.   At the request of 10 th  District Attorney General Steve Crump, last Sept. 8 TBI special agents began investigating a shooting death that occurred that ... (click for more)

Man Shot In East Lake Winds Up Facing Several Criminal Charges

Police said a man who was shot on Sunday morning in East Lake was assaulting the woman who shot him and others immediately before the gunfire.   Police said 29-year-old Latesha Hinton would not be charged in the shooting of Dieshunn Lindsey, 30. At approximately  10:50 a.m.,  officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded to the 2700 block of ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jumoke’s Thuggery Ends

Jumoke Johnson, the most notorious criminal in Chattanooga’s recent history, was killed by a rain of bullets in the 2100 block of East 12 th Street at little after 8 o’clock Friday night and for the many of us who have kept up with the 23-year-old, you wonder how he ever lasted this long. He was aptly proclaimed as the “most dangerous man” to ever have been sentenced in Chattanooga’s ... (click for more)