The Chattanooga area is in the crosshairs of prime hunting sites in four states.
Hunters can find a wide range of terrains and hunting events no matter which direction they choose to trek. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, feral hogs, bobwhite quail, waterfowl, rabbits, mourning doves and squirrels are just a few of the creatures that make this region their habitat.
Here are a few of the many local spots to head to when you're ready to, well, aim and fire.
KNOW THE RULES
License and permits rules, game seasons and hunting regulations vary from state to state. Visit the following websites while planning your trip, and do more homework if you're planning to hunt on federal or private land.
Tennessee: www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife.html, or www.eregulations.com/tennessee
Alabama: www.outdooralabama.com/hunting, or www.eregulations.com/alabama
Georgia: www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting, or www.eregulations.com/georgia
North Carolina: www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting.aspx
Tailing white-tailed deer and more.
Prentice Cooper State Forest: This 27,000-acre forest in Marion County lies atop Suck Creek Mountain overlooking the Tennessee River Gorge. Each spring and fall, Prentice Cooper State Forest and Wildlife Management Area holds managed turkey and deer hunts for licensed and permitted hunters.
Cherokee Wildlife Management Area: The Cherokee National Forest is located in Polk and Monroe counties, covering nearly 300,000 acres near the North Carolina border. Game species include Russian boar, black bear, white-tailed deer, turkey and grouse.
Chickamauga Wildlife Management Area: This site spans Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties. It is most popular for hunting waterfowl.
Source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Hunting is just an hour away from any town.
Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area: This preserve on Pigeon Mountain is best for deer and small game, such as rabbits and squirrels.
Cohutta Wildlife Management Area: This spot near Epworth is where you'd go to hunt bear in North Georgia. It also is home to some nice bucks.
John's Mountain: This is a 24,849-acre Wildlife Management Area within the Chattahoochee National Forest is open to hunting seasonally. It's best for turkeys and also is great for deer.
Source: Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
Flexible seasons, liberal bag limits.
Each year 250,000 licensed hunters venture out to the generous spans of land -- 1.3 million acres statewide -- that Alabama has set aside for hunting.
Crow Creek Refuge: This refuge near Stevenson has big-game and small-game hunting on 3,346 acres. The nearby Crow Creek Wildlife Management Area offers hunting for waterfowl, big game and small game on 2,069 acres.
James D. Martin-Skyline: This 46,854-acre site near Scottsboro has a shooting range as well as small-game and big-game hunting.
Mud Creek: Waterfowl, big and small game abound on this 8,003-acre wildlife management area near Scottsboro.
North Sauty Wildlife Refuge: Also near Scottsboro, the 5,000-acre refuge North Sauty is home to both big and small game.
Source: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Black bears a reward for tough terrain.
DuPont State Forest: Over 10,000 acres, DuPont has a healthy white-tailed deer population, considering its mountainous terrain in Henderson and Transylvania counties. You also can find wild turkey, ruffed grouse and gray squirrel. And a little extra something: Hunters may harvest an unlimited number of feral hogs, coyotes and groundhogs during any of the permit hunting opportunities.
Toxaway Game Land: Toxaway, spanning Transylvania and Jackson counties, is a very rugged and steep property with limited road access. There is a white-tailed deer population, but numbers are limited. Coyotes, bobcats and feral hogs can be taken during permit deer hunts.
Pisgah-Mount Mitchell Bear Sanctuary: This 40,000-acre site covering Yancey and McDowell counties is a habitat for black bears. Hunting with dogs is permitted here.
Source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Division
-- Compiled by staff writer Kate Harrison