If a county becomes CWD-positive or CWD high-risk, ONLY carcass transport restrictions and wildlife feeding restrictions immediately go into effect. Other Unit CWD regulations including methods of take and deer season dates, however, do NOT automatically go into effect. These changes require action by the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission.
The use or possession of natural cervid urine while hunting is prohibited unless the product is clearly labeled bearing certification from the manufacturer that the urine was produced in a facility that:
- Complies with a federal or a federally approved chronic wasting disease herd certification program and any federal chronic wasting disease protocols and record requirements;
- Does not allow importation of live cervids;
- Requires that all cervids exported from the facility be tested for chronic wasting disease upon death and the results are reported to the facility;
- Is inspected annually by an accredited veterinarian, including inspection of the herd and applicable records; and
- Maintains a fence at least 8 feet high around the facility and, if the facility is located within 30 miles of a confirmed positive occurrence of chronic wasting disease, is double fenced to prevent direct contact between captive and wild cervids.
Feeding and mineral sites increase contact between deer, thereby increasing the likelihood of the spread of CWD. As a result, the feeding of wildlife is restricted in counties affected by CWD. Currently, there are 14 counties affected by CWD, including high-risk counties where CWD has been detected within ten miles of the county border, and positive counties in which CWD has been detected. Wildlife feeding restrictions, along with carcass transport restrictions, are immediately triggered when a county becomes CWD positive or CWD high-risk. High-risk counties include Crocket, Gibson, Henderson, McNairy, and Weakley counties. Positive counties include Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood, Henry, Lauderdale, Madison, Shelby, and Tipton counties.
So, by not feeding wildlife, you are in compliance with the law and helping prevent the spread of CWD.
Grain, salt products, minerals, or other consumable natural and manufactured products may not be placed or put out for wildlife, with the following exceptions. The ban does not apply to feed placed within 100 feet of a residence such as bird feeders, 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 affected counties.
Limit Your Exposure to CWD
There is no scientific evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans. However as a general precausion, TWRA and health officials advice that hunters take the following common-sense precautions when handling and processing deer or elk in areas known to have CWD.
- Avoid sick animals. Do not shoot, handle, or consume any animal that appears sick; contact your local wildlife agency personnel.
- Have your animal processed in the area in which it was harvested so high-risk parts can be disposed of properly.
- Wear rubber/latex gloves when field-dressing carcasses.
- Minimize handling the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of any deer or elk. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
- Thoroughly wash hands. Knives and other tools should be washed with warm soapy water to completely remove all visible debris and fat/grease before sanitizing. Sanitize tools by soaking them in a solution of 50 percent household bleach with 50 percent water for 20 minutes. Thoroughly rinse bleach off. Let air dry.
- While transporting, store all portions of the animal in a container such as a cooler, bin, or bag that will not leak fluids into the environment.
- In Unit CWD, have your animal tested and do not consume animals that test positive for CWD.
Read more about preventing exposure to CWD through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CWD webpage.