Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Press Releases :
- CWD in the News; Causes, Cures, Human Transmission?
- New Regulations Remain in Effect for Chronic Wasting Disease Zone
- CWD Deer Sampling Successful; Zone Expanded
- Potential Expansion of CWD Zone as TWRA Continues to Find CWD Positive Deer
- CWD Update Given at First TFWC 2019 Meeting
- 11 Additional Deer Preliminarily CWD Positive in Fayette and Hardeman Counties
- TWRA To Host Public Meeting at Bolivar Middle School in Regard to Chronic Wasting Disease
- Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission Makes Regulatory Changes in Regard to CWD Confirmatio
- Tennessee Preliminarily Detects Chronic Wasting Disease Enacts CWD Response Plan
- 10 Deer Confirmed as CWD Positive
- Fish and Wildlife Commission to Have Called Meeting Thursday, Dec. 20
- No deer may be transported out of the CWD Zone without being processed.
- Within the CWD Zone the placement of grain, salt products, minerals and other food sources is prohibited. See special regulations for exceptions - CHAPTER 1660-01-34 RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ZONES.
- Proclamation regarding CWD - Proclamation 18-15 Special Hunting Season Within a Chronic Wasting Disease Zone
- See special regulations for exceptions - CHAPTER 1660-01-34 RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ZONES.
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) Recommends: (https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/prevention.html)
To be as safe as possible and decrease their potential risk of exposure to CWD, hunters should take the following steps when hunting in areas with CWD:
- Please report deer and elk that look sick, are acting strangely or are found dead. Contact your regional office with this information.
- When field-dressing a deer:
- Wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat.
- Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.
- Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
- If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.
- If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.
Please understand that CWD poses the largest threat to Tennessee’s deer and elk populations since the dawn of wildlife management more than 100 years ago.
If you are a hunter, please watch the videos on this page about how to properly return to Tennessee with carcasses taken from outside Tennessee. Please know and understand Tennessee's importation restrictions.
If you wish to test your deer and are not located within the CWD Zone, you have several options.
You can bring the deer to a freezer dropoff location within the CWD Zone and TWRA will sample your deer.
If that is not feasible and you still want to test your deer there are several labs that you can contact for testing. The way that you send in the sample varies at all of these locations. We strongly encourage you to call to get instructions from whichever lab you choose.
If you harvest a deer, elk or moose from anywhere outside the state, it must be properly processed before bringing it back into Tennessee.of Tennessee)
No person may import, transport, or possess in Tennessee a cervid carcass or carcass part from anywhere outside state except as provided herein:
(a) Meat that has bones removed.
(b) Antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates, or cleaned skulls
(where no meat or tissues are attached to the skull.)
(c) Cleaned teeth.
(d) Finished taxidermy and antler products.
(e) Hides (tanned or green) and tanned products.
CWD is a contagious and a fatal neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family known scientifically as cervids. Import restrictions have been designed to protect these native herds.
In Tennessee cervids include deer and elk. Other states have deer and elk populations too, but some also have moose, mule deer and other big game cervids that sportsmen travel out of state to hunt.
It is transmitted through animal-to-animal contact, animal contact with a contaminated environment, and with contaminated feed or water sources.
White-tailed deer are common in Tennessee, while a small population of elk can be found in the eastern portion of the state. While CWD is considered 100 percent fatal once contracted, it is not known to harm humans or livestock.
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 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 used to field dress the animal. Disinfect tools by soaking them in a solution of 50 percent unscented household bleach and 50 percent water for an hour. Allow them to 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 the CWD Zone, have your animal tested and do not consume animals that test positive for CWD.
Our Friends At TN Wildlife Federation Understand The Impact Of CWD
The state’s largest sportsman’s group is the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. This is an organization that TWRA has worked with on numerous projects through many years.
Like our agency, the TWF is extremely concerned about Chronic Wasting Disease. Please visit TWF’s page about CWD to learn more from the sportsman’s point of view concerning the perils of this deadly disease: