Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Tennessee [No, Know Why] 

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Pigeons can give you a tough time, especially when you live in a house with a large outdoor area. They prefer places with plenty of food supply and a nesting place in high trees or balconies. So, is it Illegal to kill pigeons in Tennessee?  

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Tennessee. You can force remove or kill pigeons living on your property. However, state law forbids killing, harming, or transporting Migratory pigeons. The state allows the hunting of such pigeons only during hunting season.  

It is legal to kill pigeons in the state, but you must be well-versed in the laws. Continue reading the article to learn more about it. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Tennessee? 

It is legal to hunt all pigeons in Tennessee. However, you cannot hunt Migratory pigeons off-season. The Migratory pigeon specie in the state is the Mourning dove. They are the protected pigeon species. So, you cannot hunt them until the gaming season. 

Mourning doves are the graceful, slender tail small-headed pigeon. They have overall mute colors like light grey and brown. The wings of Mourning doves have black spots on them and black-bordered white tips.  

They are common in the country. You can spot a few Mourning doves roosting on the telephone wires almost daily. They fly faster and produce a whistling sound when taking off.  

The unprotected pigeon species in the state are Rock pigeons and Eurasian-collared doves. You can hunt them all year without waiting for any season. However, avoid eating the meat of unprotected species. It is legal to eat pigeon meat, but it is not safe. The state allows people to eat Mourning doves harvested in gaming season. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Tennessee? 

In Tennessee, it is illegal to hunt Mourning doves off-season. As Mourning doves are part of the Migratory bird treaty act. The act was signed in 1918 between the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia. According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, you cannot kill, capture, sell, trade, or transport migratory bird species.  

To hunt such bird species, you must take prior permission from the state wildlife department. The gaming festival is the only time of the year to hunt Migratory pigeons. In Tennessee, you must wait for small games to hunt Mourning doves. So, the hunting period begins in September and ends in January.  

Every year, the hunting period is split into three seasons. However, the daily bird count remains the same at fifteen birds per day and a possession limit of 45. It is legal to eat Mourning doves hunted in the Small games. However, it is better not to eat other pigeon meat as it can contain bacteria and other pathogens. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Tennessee state 

It is essential to follow laws to hunt pigeons anywhere in the USA. These laws are the basic guidelines for people to learn hunting methods. Laws differ in each state of the USA. Before shooting pigeons in Tennessee, you must know all the pigeon hunting rules of the state. It is to avoid any charges. Below are some essential laws you must know. 

Hunting education course 

Tennessee’s federal government introduced the Hunting education program in 1975. The program significantly reduced the number of hunting and Firearm accidents. According to the 70-2-108 Tennessee law, every person born on or after January 1st, 1969, must pass the course before hunting.  

The course is free of cost in Tennessee, unlike other states. It is a twelve-hour program. Four to five hours are classes that teach people the laws and rules of hunting. The next six hours are for on-field practice. It is forbidden to bring ammunition from outside.  

There is no age limit for the course. However, people below ten must be with an adult participant above 21. 

Hunting License 

You must have a valid proof of the Hunting Education Course to apply for the hunting license. You can purchase a hunting license online or via a wildlife agent. The price for the hunting license depends on the age, residence, and number of hunting days.

However, it expires after one year of the issue date. So, hunters will have to revoke it at the end of the year. The state also offers a seven-day hunting license for hunters. 

The minimum hunting age in Tennessee is nine. People nine to seventeen must be under the direct supervision of an adult above age 21. Hunters of at least age 13 can hunt doves. There is a separate hunting license for people above 65.  

Migratory Pigeons  

The federal authorities allow the hunting of Mourning doves for a few months each year. The hunting season is split into three parts. Each year dates might differ according to the migration of doves. However, the daily bag count and possession limit are 15 for doves in all seasons and zones, and the latter is 45.  

According to state law 20.21, no person shall take down Migratory birds with the help of baiting. The baiting also includes all the areas where corn, wheat, grain, salt, or other feed is scattered or deposited. The law also states that one can only use this land ten days after removing all such things. 

Private Land  

Hunters can freely shoot pigeons on their land without permission, but they must have a hunting license. If you want to shoot pigeons on someone else private property, you will have to get permission from the landowner. Submit the signed form to the local wildlife office for the permit. So, you will have to carry a hunting license and permit on the field along with you. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Tennessee state? 

Pigeon hunting is not difficult when you know all the laws. There are laws you must remember while hunting pigeons, like the bag count of Migratory pigeons. The pointers below will guide you through all pigeon shooting and hunting steps.   

  • Complete the Hunting Education Program and clear the test.  
  • Submit your certificate and ID number to purchase a hunting license. It is available online or through a wildlife agent.  
  • You will have to revoke your hunting license each year so apply ahead of time.   
  • Purchase a legal weapon which includes an air rifle and shotgun. The shotgun must not be longer than three gauges and shouldn’t hold more than three pallets. 
  • To hunt with a bow and archery, get an archery permit. 
  • You can get your slot for hunting in a public place by registering online. 
  • To hunt on private property, you need to get permission from the landowner. Hunting on private land without a permit is considered trespassing.   
  • Bring all the safety gear to the hunting field. It is better to wear bright clothing like dark pink or orange.   
  • You can use decoys and food to lure pigeons toward the hunting area. However, you cannot do this trick with Migratory pigeons or Mourning doves.   
  • After hunting pigeons, properly store or discard the harvest properly.   
  • Submit bag count and possession limit daily on the wildlife Oregon website during the hunting festival. 


It is legal to take down pigeons in Tennessee. The pigeon species in the state are Rock pigeons, Eurasian-collared doves, and Mourning doves. The former two species are unprotected. So hunters can take them down at any time. However, the latter is a Migratory bird. The state forbids killing or harming such pigeons.  

To hunt Mourning doves, hunters must wait for the yearly hunting festival. The hunting season of the Mourning doves is limited to only a few months. It begins in September and ends in January. There are no decoy rules for hunting them. Plus, there is a daily bag count of 15 and a possession limit of 45.