KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Waterfowl hunters may have a harder time finding where to hunt after the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency says dry weather conditions may affect some public lands sites across the state.

Ahead of opening weekend, November 26-27, TWRA issued an announcement that some public hunting sites are expected to have lower water levels.

“Duck season is my personal favorite time of year, and we want all Tennessee duck hunters to have the best possible opening weekend,” said TWRA Executive Director Jason Maxedon. “Because ducks fly to water to feed, water levels and weather events have a critical impact on hunting quality. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with us. Our field staff is hard at work pumping additional water where possible and updating hunters in areas where we expect to see low water levels.”

In East Tennessee, there is only one site predicted to have low water levels:

  • Chickamauga WMA: Upper Rogers Creek Unit blind sites 5, 7, and 8 are not expected to be full due to unusually low stream levels that support these sites. TWRA recommends making a scouting trip prior to your hunt date to check conditions.

TWRA says Middle Tennessee sites are on schedule for normal pool levels ahead of opening weekend.

In West Tennessee, more of an impact is expected by low water levels. The following sites were listed by TWRA:

  • Big Sandy WMA: Tier 1 sites 5 and 8 may not have huntable water for the opener. Site 11 will have very shallow levels due to low levels in Big Sandy River. Site 13 is not expected to be huntable for the opener.
  • West Sandy WMA: Tier 2 site 4 will have low water on opening day, however this is considered normal for this site.
  • Camden WMA: Tier 1 site 76 and Tier 2 site 133 expected to be 6-12” low.
  • Lebanon Pond WMA: All sites will have very limited to no hunting opportunity.
  • Gooch WMA: Water levels at sites E1 and E2 are currently 2-3” in depth. Many other sites will only be accessible with a mud motor.
  • Shelby Forest WMA: All sites are very shallow. Hunters will need to wade or use paddle craft.
  • Reelfoot WMA: Water levels at Tier 2 sites RD15 and RD36 are low but can be accessed with a mud motor. Other Tier 1 blind holders are reporting trouble placing blinds due to low water.
  • Bean Switch WMA: All sites will have no water without rainfall.
  • Jarrell Switch WMA: All sites will have no water without rainfall.

According to the TWRA Announcement, public lands will be open for the 2022-23 season from November 26-27 and December 5-January 31, and all remaining sites are anticipating sufficient water levels for hunting.

In total, TWRA has 453 Teir 1 duck blinds on public lands for season long duck hunting, and 42 Tier 2 sites equipped with agency-built blinds and offered through a quota hunt system for segmented hunts throughout the season.