NASHVILLE—Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the procedure for issuing duck blinds and sandhill crane tags this year will be 100 percent online with no in-person drawings. The change came in an emergency rule approved by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.

    This year’s process was changed in an effort to help protect public health since the handheld drawing usually results in large crowds gathering at the various locations around the state. The WMAs for the duck blind drawings include Barkley Unit I, Big Sandy (including Gin Creek), Camden Units I and II, Cheatham, Gooch-Unit A, Harmon’s Creek, Haynes Bottom, Old Hickory Units I and II, Reelfoot, Tigrett, West Sandy, and Woods Reservoir of A.E.D.C.

    Hunters may only apply for one area and may apply as an individual or a party (maximum of 8). The chance of being drawn is the same for individuals and parties (i.e. a party of one gets only one ticket in the barrel and a party of eight gets only one ticket in the barrel). Applicants can prioritize up to 24 hunt locations and the computer will issue a blind location to successful applicants in the order they are chosen. No priority points will be used or issued.

    If an applicant is chosen and none of their preferences are available, they have a secondary chance to get a blind. Any blind not issued after all applicants are selected will be awarded to applicants (individuals and groups) who were not successful with their prioritized blind choices in the order in which they were chosen. Once a party application is submitted, no sign-ons will be allowed.

    Sportsmen can apply at through July 26. The license requirements remain unchanged. Results will be available by Aug. 1 and successful applicants will receive an electronic blind permit. The blind construction deadline is Oct. 26.

    The application period for the sandhill crane tags drawing is Sept. 2-23. Those persons who are successfully drawn will receive two statewide tags (includes Southeast Zone). Up to 1,350 hunters will receive two tags (2,700 total). Applicants who are not drawn will receive one priority point for future online drawings.