2016-2017 Update: According to the 2016-2017 TWRA Hunting Guide, Catoosa is now open year-round for thru hiking on the Cumberland Trail. This is a significant change from previous policy. However, until the section from Devil’s Breakfast Table to Peavine Road is complete, real thru hiking will not be available. During big game hunting you cannot drive into DBT trail head.
Hikers must wear florescent clothing to maintain visibility to hunters in the area during hunting seasons. See details HERE and (page 56) at bottom of this article.
For more information concerning hiking in Catoosa WMA contact the TWRA Region III area office at (931) 484-9571 or 1-800-262-6704 from within Tennessee.
Catoosa Wildlife Management Area was established in the early 1940s when the Crossville Exchange Club appointed a commission to encourage the state of Tennessee to purchase a large tract of land for a wildlife management area. In 1942, the Conservation Commission made the initial purchase of 63,000 acres from Tennessee Mineral & Lumber Company. That original tract was bought with Pittman-Robertson federal aid funds as a wildlife restoration project and was mandated for wildlife conservation. The Pittman-Robertson funds came from federal taxes on sporting equipment. In 1949, the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission, now Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, established a tentative purchase boundary that encompassed approximately 90,000 acres. A land acquisition program was initiated at that time to eliminate interior holdings, which continues to this day.
By the early 1900s, most wildlife species in the Catoosa area were nearly wiped out. Restocking of deer began in 1942 on the initial acreage with the purchase and then release of 324 deer for $100 each from Wisconsin. The deer population grew enough for managed hunts to begin in 1952. In recent years, turkey have increased in number and black bears are making their way south from the Big South Fork. It is in the upland forest where you may come across this big game. Unfortunately, an increase in the non-native wild boar has caused many problems. With no natural predators and multiple breeding periods, boar numbers have exploded. In some areas along the trail, the hiker can see evidence of their rooting, which destroys native plants and damages the trail.
The CT is open year-round in the corridor of the national river from Alley Ford to Nemo Bridge.
As of 2016 hunting season the CT through CWMA is open for thru hiking year-round. However, please observe the general hunting schedule shown here. During these periods hikers must wear florescent clothing to maintain visibility to hunter in the area. Details HERE. See page 56.
In general, hunting dates follow this schedule:
Mid-October through December various long weekends (Fri – Sun)
February and March for all users (roads are gated, not allowing motorized vehicles)
April to first week of May, on most days.
For specific hunting periods in Catoosa, contact the Region III WMA Office at 1-800-262-6704. —MS
For more information concerning the TWRA Region III area, please call (931) 484-9571 or 1-800-262-6704 if calling from within the state of Tennessee.