Three counties have had their chronic wasting disease (CWD) status changed following confirmation of the disease (CWD) in new areas of southwest Tennessee.
Haywood and Chester counties have been reclassified from high risk counties to CWD-positive counties after deer tested positive in the respective counties. Lauderdale County has been added as a high-risk county after a deer tested positive in Tipton County within 10 miles of the Lauderdale County border.
“These changes are unfortunate, but were expected considering high prevalence rates in Hardeman and Fayette counties,” said Chuck Yoest, CWD coordinator. “The high prevalence there indicates CWD has been present in southwest Tennessee for years. However, in the rest of the state, surveillance results have us confident CWD is not present in the remainder of the state.”
Approximately 400 deer tested positive for CWD in southwest Tennessee during the 2019-20 deer season with the vast majority being from Hardeman and Fayette counties. Chester, Haywood, Madison, Shelby, and Tipton counties are CWD-positive as well. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency tested more than 13,000 deer for CWD during the 2019-20 deer season.
Supplemental feeding of wildlife is banned in in CWD-positive and high-risk counties. The placement of grains, salt products, and other consumable natural and manufactured products for wildlife is prohibited.
The ban does not apply to feed placed within 100 feet of a residence, feed placed in a manner not accessible to deer, or feed and minerals as the result of normal agricultural practices. Food plots are still legal in CWD-positive and high-risk counties.
CWD sampling opportunities are available throughout Unit CWD at sampling drop-off locations, processors, and taxidermists. It takes about 2 weeks to get results.
The TWRA goal is to keep CWD from spreading, keep the number of diseased deer in the affected area to a minimum, and reduce disease rates where possible. To achieve that goal, the Fish and Wildlife Commission established a CWD deer unit with specific regulations that are science-based and data-driven. Read more here.