CWD Hunting Regulations & Carcass Transportation Restrictions
Unit CWD counties have not changed from last season and include Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton counties. CWD Positive or High-Risk counties outside of Unit CWD (Carroll, Decatur, Dyer, Hardin, Henry, Wayne, and Weakley counties) are in Unit L for hunting regulations but must still follow CWD carcass transportation and feeding restrictions.
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. Check out this Deer Hunting Unit map to know which Unit you will be hunting in.
1. Private lands only and archery only, except in Unit CWD where guns and muzzleloaders are allowed and select public lands are additionally open for hunting. See Region 1 WMA regulations starting on page 37 to see which public lands are open during this hunt. Fluorescent orange is required in Unit CWD.
2. Youths 6-16 years of age may participate. Participating youth can use guns, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment (G/M/A). Young sportsmen must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device and who must also comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single, qualifying adult. Antlerless bag limits for Units A, B, C, and D are not to exceed a total of 2 antlerless deer for the four days combined.
3. Hunting is allowed on all privately owned lands in Unit L (including leased land and lands owned by individuals). It is the responsibility of all hunters to obtain verbal or written permission to hunt on privately owned lands. No public lands or WMAs are open during this period. No antlered deer may be taken during this period in Unit L.
CWD Affected Counties
Carcass transport restrictions, along with wildlife feeding and mineral placement restrictions, are immediately triggered when a county becomes CWD positive or CWD high-risk.
The status of CWD affected counties:
Positive Counties (CWD positive deer found within the county): Chester, Crockett, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henry, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Shelby, Tipton, and Weakley.
High-Risk Counties (CWD positive deer found within 10 miles of the county border): Carroll, Decatur, Henderson, Lake, Obion, and Wayne.
Please note that Carroll, Decatur, Dyer, Hardin, Henry, Wayne, and Weakley Counties are in deer Unit L, not Unit CWD, and must still follow these transport regulations.
Once any unapproved deer part is taken into a positive county, it must remain in positive counties.
Deer harvested in counties that are not affected by CWD do not have to meet carcass restrictions to be transported into CWD affected counties. Conversely, the following applies to transporting deer harvested in CWD affected counties.
To understand the carcass transportation restrictions for deer in CWD affected counties, it is important to know there are two classifications of CWD affected counties:
- CWD-positive Counties are those with known cases of CWD
- CWD High-risk Counties are those not known to have CWD, but the disease has been detected within 10 miles of their border.
- Do not move whole or field-dressed deer carcasses or unapproved parts outside of CWD affected counties. Only approved parts (listed below) may be moved out of CWD affected counties.
- Deer carcasses can be moved from one high-risk county to another high-risk county. Deer carcasses can be moved from a high-risk county to a positive county.
- A deer carcass cannot be moved outside of positive counties but can move from one positive county to another positive county.
- Approved parts (listed below) are free to be transported anywhere statewide.
- Also remember, only Approved Parts can be transported into Tennessee from another state.
These parts have a low risk of spreading CWD.
- De-boned meat
- Cleaned (free of meat and tissues) skulls/skull plates & teeth
- Hides & tanned products
- Antlers- including those attached to clean skull plates
Examples of Unapproved Parts
These parts have a high risk of spreading CWD.
- Whole and field-dressed carcasses
- Uncleaned (meat and/or tissue are present) heads/skulls/skull caps
- Non-muscle tissues
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 the 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 19 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 Carroll, Decatur, Dyer, Henderson, and Wayne counties. Positive counties include Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henry, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Shelby, Tipton, and Weakley 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 precaution, TWRA and health officials advise 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 of 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 the 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 the 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 CWD affected counties, 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.