For the first time, wildlife officials confirmed the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state of Tennessee. Initially, seven deer in Fayette County and three more in Hardeman County tested positive followed by three more preliminary positive tests from the same counties.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency immediately enacted its CWD Response Plan and the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission called a special meeting where it voted to establish a CWD management zone that currently includes Fayette, Hardeman, and McNairy counties. The commission also took action to create deer carcass exportation restrictions and a restriction on feeding wildlife within the high risk area of the CWD management zone, exceptions apply. The high risk area of the CWD management zone includes counties within a 10-mile radius of the location of a confirmed CWD positive deer.
Additionally, the commission called on hunters to assist the CWD fight by creating a new archery/muzzleloader/gun deer season there for January 7-31, 2019. The bag limit for the season is one antlered deer and unlimited for antlerless deer. All wildlife management areas and other public land on which deer hunting activities are permitted within the three counties will be open during this newly-established season.
“Hunters are our biggest ally in managing Chronic Wasting Disease in Tennessee,” said Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian at the University of Tennessee Extension. “Besides submitting deer from the to-be-defined CWD Zone, the most important thing everyone needs to do is follow the regulations for moving harvested deer.”
Tennessee is the 26th state to document the presence of CWD.
CWD is a fatal neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in cervids – deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and produces small lesions that result in death. There is no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die.
For more information about CWD, go to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.
(Photo source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)