Elk In Tennessee: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Amin Tawar

Elk In Tennessee
Elk In Tennessee: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Elk did not roam in the Southeast region in big numbers like they earlier did. But Tennessee has adopted site-specific rehabilitation efforts and it makes an awe-inspiring state for wildlife to thrive in the wild again. 

Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about the elk in Tennessee, how did they get back to the state, and where you can view one in Tennessee. 

Are There Any Elk In Tennessee?

Yes, there are Elk in the State Of Tennessee. The last documented record of an elk roaming in Tennessee was shot in Obion County, in the year 1865. Ever since then, there has been no sight of elk in Tennessee. 

Also, there is no one specific explanation that accounts for the extirpation of elk in the state of Tennessee. The major reason for the extinction in Tennessee and other eastern U.S. states are private ownership of land, overhunting by humans, and habitat destruction.

How Many Elk Are In Tennessee?

It is currently calculated that the elk herd population in Tennessee is a bit more than 400. However, it is difficult to estimate the exact number of elk in the state as these animals travel far distances. 

Their movement routines are primarily defined by habitat in the state and nearby states. In western regions, they tend to be very nomadic in reaction to the appropriate habitat and climate conditions. In eastern regions, their movements are a lot less. 

How did elk get into Tennessee?

Elk In Tennessee
Elk In Tennessee: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Elk were released in December of 2000, into Horsebone Ridge, Royal Blue, Tennessee. The first release came from an elk herd that lived in the Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada. 

This herd was closely observed for possible health issues and is regarded as the best origin of the disease-free elk population. Another origin for elk was from the Elk Enclosure present at Land Between the Lakes.

This herd also developed from Elk Island National Park. A total of 75% cows and 25% bulls were released. The antlers were removed before transporting them and big bulls were transported separately from other animals. 

Calves along with their mother were also transported.  As of August 2008, a total of 201 elk have been transported into Tennessee.

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In North Carolina

Where Can I See Elk In Tennessee?

The Elk Viewing Tower situated on Hatfield Knob of the Cumberland Wildlife Management Region has been rebuilt. The tower has an elk camera to view the herd situated far ways from the tower. Most of the elk herd is situated in the Cataloochee region in the southeastern area of the park where you can spot them roaming in the wild. 

Best Time To See Elk In Tennessee?

The best times to see elk in Tennessee are usually late evening or early morning hours. Elk might also be dynamic on cloudy summer afternoons and after or before storms. whenever viewing elk, view them from a distance, as approaching them closely can unnecessarily result in harm.

What County Are Elk In Tennessee?

Scott, Campbell, Morgan, Claiborne, and Anderson counties are a few of the counties in Tennessee that have elk populations living in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. 

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk In Tennessee?

Ever since the reintroduction of the herd in the state and hunting started in 2009. In total, there are 19 permits and 10 zones in the state. 

In addition to that the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved new elk hunting zones and permits for the 2024 elk hunting season. More than half of the recent permits are committed to archery and the other half to gun hunting. 

The elk hunting season runs from September to October, during which there are different dates allocated for Archery, Gun, and Young Sportsmen. Only one antlered elk per permit is issued for season type. Upon harvesting, the hunter must attach the harvest tag to the carcass. All harvested species must be checked by the officer on the day of the hunt.

Can Non-Residents Hunt Elk In Tennessee?

Yes, non-residents can also hunt in Tennessee but must possess a hunting license that is issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. 

Best Zone To Hunt Elk In Tennessee?

The Chestnut Ridge and Fork Mountain which is the EHZ 1, is the best zone to hunt elk in the state. The zone is located on 6,827 acres and hunted has been allowed since 2009. 

This zone is known to have a very high success rate as the zone includes many wildlife openings. The zone is located east of the Southern railroad trails and North Cumberland west of I-75. If the winner of this permit has not harvested any in the first 7 days, then they can access all the other zones for an additional of extra 7 days.

Also Check Our Guide On Elks In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk in Tennessee. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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