Tennessee: Fish and Wildlife Commission Approves Regulations to Combat Chronic Wasting Disease

Contact John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager

On May 24, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved deer hunting regulation changes in an effort to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and minimize its impact on Tennessee’s deer herd.

In the three southwestern Tennessee counties where CWD has been confirmed (Fayette, Hardeman and Madison) and in counties within 10 miles of locations where deer have tested positive for CWD (Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby and Tipton), the Commission approved the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s (TWRA) recommendation to create a new CWD deer hunting unit. In Unit CWD, the following regulations apply: 

  • Deer hunting with muzzleloaders and archery equipment is legal from August 23-25.
  • Hunters may harvest up to two additional bucks through the Earn-A-Buck Program by harvesting two antlerless deer in Unit CWD and submitting both deer for CWD testing. The third and fourth antlerless deer qualify the hunter for the second buck tag.
  • If a hunter harvests a buck that tests positive for CWD as confirmed by the TWRA, the hunter may harvest an additional replacement buck.
  • Muzzleloader season will be October 28 to November 8, and gun season will be November 9 to January 5, 2020. These seasons were extended while the archery season will be September 28 to October 25.
  • From January 6-10, 2020, during private lands-only hunt, antlered and antlerless harvest is permitted.
  • November 2-3 and November 9-10 are mandatory check weekends.

The establishment of Unit CWD follows previous action by the Commission aimed at limiting the spread of CWD after the disease was confirmed in Tennessee in December 2018.

A contagious, fatal disease in cervids with no known cure or vaccine, CWD has the potential to severely impact deer and elk populations in the Volunteer State. To date, CWD has been detected in 26 states and several Canadian provinces. Controlling the spread of CWD and providing additional resources for research is a priority for the hunting conservation community with many groups supporting recently introduced federal CWD legislation.

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