Alligators and cougars could be migrating to Tennessee, says TWRA

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The archery deer season opens this weekend in Tennessee and the TWRA says hunters may come across migratory populations.

In the fall release of the state’s Hunting & Trapping Guide, the TWRA said,

“There is evidence cougars and alligators are expanding their territories into Tennessee. Species expanding their ranges into Tennessee are protected and may not be taken until a hunting season is proclaimed. Alligators and cougars are protected by state laws in Tennessee”

In the past four years, the TWRA says there have been ten cougar sightings.

In 2018, a 7-foot alligator was found in West Tennessee.

“Oftentimes we see individuals moving through the state and we have been able to document them through trail cam photos and witnesses reporting them to us,” said Region II TWRA spokesman, Barry Cross

The TWRA told News 2 there is no substantial population of either animal in Tennessee,

“If you were in a tree stand and you shot a cougar as it walked by, you’d be in trouble,” said Cross.

The TWRA told News 2 that people can help the agency keep track of the protected species,

“Whether it’s an alligator or a cougar, or even bears coming into the Middle Tennessee area – we’re trying to keep tabs on where these animals are. If someone sees one of these animals in their general area, if they can contact their regional office and let us know where they saw them and guide us to them, we’d appreciate that.” Cross said

The TWRA adds that if you’re in a safe distance you can try to take a picture of the animal.

While protected species can’t be hunted, if you feel like your life is in danger – the animal can be killed.

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