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Hunter's Resources

CWD Positive Counties in TN

Unit CWD Harvest Incentive Program

In an effort to increase harvest in Unit CWD, we are incentivizing harvest by offering a free license for the 2021-2022 license year if a person harvests and submits for sampling a minimum amount of deer harvested.

Top Tier/1st Prize – Free Sportsman’s License ($168 value)

Any hunter to harvest 4 does and 4 bucks between August 28, 2020, and January 8, 2021, will receive a free sportsman’s license for the 2021-22 year. Note, you must have earned the extra 2 bucks by harvesting 4 does. 

Second Tier/2nd Prize – Free type 001 and a Supplemental License (archery, muzzleloader, rifle) of your choosing ($67 value)

Any hunter to harvest 4 does between September 26, 2020 and January 8, 2021, will receive a free type 001 License and a supplemental weapon license of their choosing (archery, muzzleloader, rifle) for the 2021-22 year.

FAQs about Incentive Program

  • Only applies to deer harvested in Unit CWD
  • Must submit deer for testing either by freezer drop off or through a processor or taxidermist
  • All deer must be reported via app or website and follow the rules of “Tag Before You Drag” reporting program. This is how we will determine who gets the incentives. 
  • License non-transferrable for 2021-22 season, must be the person that harvested deer
  • Applies to only Tennessee residents or Native Tennesseans. Lifetime license holders not eligible for this program.
  • After the season is over, hunters will be notified and asked which supplemental license (archery, muzzleloader, gun) is desired if 2nd tier prize.
  • Must have correct email and phone on file. Please update at  
  • Will be notified of new license in account by end of February 2021 via email
  • These licenses are being generously purchased by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. TWRA is not giving away free licenses, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation is purchasing them. 
  • Only deer harvested in the 2020-21 season count towards this program

Why Have a Harvest Incentive Program?

There have been some questions and concerns as to why TWRA would offer an incentive to hunters to harvest deer in Unit CWD. To help alleviate concerns with this program, here are some things to consider, as well as answers to some of the questions we’ve heard.

  • The large-scale issue of CWD in TN requires extensive hunter participation to best manage the disease.  TWRA cannot successfully manage the disease alone, and hunter harvest incentives (e.g., Replacement and Earn-A-Buck Programs) thus far have not been successful in achieving a much-needed increase in deer harvest.  Harvest was down considerably (e.g.,~30% in does) in Unit CWD last season, and if not reversed, the population will continue to increase, making matters worse!
  • Currently, only about 50% of deer hunters harvest a deer each year and ~ 80% of them only harvest 1 or 2 deer.  Considering the high deer density in Unit CWD, to keep CWD from spreading we need to incentivize hunter to harvest more deer.
  • The goal is not to eliminate all deer from the area.  Instead, it is to reduce the deer population by 10 deer per square mile (or more if landowners desire) for disease management purposes to help prevent disease spread and to keep prevalence rates from increasing. 
  • Deer harvested through this initiative will be utilized by hunters as they choose and each deer harvested reduces the number which will need to be taken through targeted removal efforts that occur outside of deer season on properties with landowner permission.
  • Lifetime sportsman license holders benefit from not having to worry about annual license costs and future price increases, however, they are still encouraged to take an active role in CWD management by harvesting additional deer this season and submitting them for testing. 
  • Funds for this effort are derived from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation which is combined with federal aid from the Wildlife Restoration Act.

As we’ve said since the discovery of CWD, hunters are our greatest partners in the fight against CWD. While this incentive is fairly limited, we think it will motivate some hunters to harvest more deer and therefore help reduce deer density and prevent the spread of CWD.  Unfortunately, management options for CWD are limited, but TWRA staff will continue to do our part to identify new ways to help hunting continue to be the number one tool in keeping this disease in check.

Unit CWD Earn-a-Buck

To increase the number of deer harvested and sampled for CWD management, additional bucks may be earned.

  • Unit CWD includes Chester, Crockett,       Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Madison, Lauderdale, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton counties.
  • Tennessee’s antlered deer bag limit (2) did not change; therefore it still applies to hunters hunting Unit CWD as well as the rest of the state.
  • Unit CWD hunters may earn an unlimited number of antlered deer for harvest in Unit CWD, in addition to the statewide antlered deer bag limit of two.”
  • An additional antlered deer is earned for every two antlerless deer harvested in Unit CWD and submitted for CWD testing. 
  • Earned antlered deer must be harvested in Unit   CWD.
  • Valid for 2020-21 hunting season only.

Unit CWD Replacement Buck

To assist CWD management efforts, replacement bucks will encourage hunters to continue hunting and harvesting and be an added incentive for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.

  • Unit CWD includes Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Madison, Lauderdale, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton counties.
  • Unit CWD hunters will receive a replacement antlered deer if they harvest a CWD-positive antlered deer and the lab result is confirmed by TWRA.
  • There is no limit on the number of replacement antlered deer.
  • Valid for 2020-21 hunting season only.
  • Replacement bucks may only be harvested in Unit CWD or in the county where the qualifying  CWD-positive antlered deer was harvested

CWD Testing

To test a deer for CWD, lymph nodes are extracted from the base of a deer’s skull,  packed in ice, and sent to an accredited laboratory.

The primary method that TWRA will use to report CWD test results to hunters will be by email.  It is a good idea to make sure that your TWRA account has an up to date email address! To do that, go to and login to update your information. Once samples are submitted, it takes about two (2) weeks to get results.

* View an interactive map of all CWD sampling locations. Zoom in on the map to see more details; type a county or city name in the search box to zoom to that area; click on an icon on the map to open a window with more information about the site.

Interactive CWD Sample Locations Map

In Unit CWD

The following options are available.  Please remember to follow the CWD Affected Counties Transport Regulation when moving your deer before it is processed. 

*CWD Sample Drop-off Freezers.  Follow the instructions on the freezer.  You will need to leave the head of your deer, with antlers removed, plus 6 to 8 inches of neck to allow for lymph node extraction.

-Freezer Locations

*Participating Taxidermists and Meat Processors.  You can have your deer processed at these participating vendors or just submit the head of your deer, with antlers removed, plus 6 inches of the neck and they will work with TWRA to test your deer for CWD.

-Taxidermists  and  -Meat Processors


Outside of Unit CWD - CWD Sample Drop-off Freezer Locations for Regions 2, 3, and 4

The following options are available:

*Submit the head, with antlers removed, plus 6” of the neck at any of the Unit CWD options listed above

*Submit the head, with antlers removed, plus 6” of the neck at a Sample Drop-off Freezer in your local Region.

-Outside Unit CWD - CWD Sample Drop-off Freezer locations for Regions 2, 3, and 4


CWD Test Results

CWD test results will be listed in the table below by harvest confirmation number.  Hunters who have had their deer tested for CWD will also receive the results by way of an email. 

It is a good idea to make sure that your TWRA account has an up to date email address

For all positive CWD results, NOT including those found in Fayette and Hardeman counties, hunters will also receive a phone call from a TWRA biologist.

Lookup CWD Test Results for the 2020-2021 Deer Season

Search by Harvest Confirmation Number

Confirmation Number Date of Harvest County of Harvest Result

Important Hunting Guidelines

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 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.

Help Keep CWD in Tennessee Deer to a Minimum

  • Keep hunting! Take advantage of the additional opportunities to harvest deer in CWD affected counties.
  • Honor carcass transportation restrictions for Tennessee if hunting out-of-state, or exporting from CWD affected counties. (Only De-boned meat, clean skulls, skull plates and teeth, antlers, finished taxidermy, hides, and tanned products.).
  • Follow the regulation prohibiting the placement of grain, salt products, minerals and other consumable products for wildlife in CWD affected counties. CWD Affected Counties - Wildlife Feeding Restrictions.

Have deer tested for CWD and follow best practices for carcass disposal in CWD affected counties.

  • Report sick or abnormal-looking deer or Elk to TWRA.
  • Report anyone not abiding by carcass transport laws to TWRA. Region Contact information
  • Abide by the new regulation regarding the use of synthetic urine lures or products with the Archery Trade Association’s seal of approval.   Urine Lure Restrictions.

Best Practices for Carcass Disposal

Deer carcass and carcass parts from infected deer pose a significant threat to preventing the spread of CWD.  As such, TWRA recommends the following best practices for disposal of unused deer parts, including gut material from field dressing a deer:

  • Leave unused parts at harvest location.  Bury the parts to further minimize possible spread.
  • Bag in contractor-grade 3mm think garbage bag(s) and dispose of in a landfill.
  • Use a meat processor for disposal

Temporary Deer Carcass Management Site

A short-term deer carcass management site at Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Hardeman County will be in operation during the 2020-2021 hunting season.

Carcasses from CWD-infected deer, if not managed appropriately, can pass the infectious material (prions) into the environment, which can then infect other deer. It is not known to affect humans, pets, or livestock.

Landfill operators in the CWD affected area only accept deer for the disposal that is confirmed not detected for CWD. Because testing may take more than two weeks, it is often not possible to know the CWD status prior to disposal. If a landfill is not readily available, meat processors, taxidermists, and hunters need a place to responsibly dispose of the parts of deer that are not eaten or otherwise used. To help these stakeholders and ensure the best management of CWD, TWRA is providing a place where deer may be buried in consultation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA), and the University of Tennessee Extension.

TWRA is working with the recommendations of these partners and current best management practices for appropriate carcass disposal. Clay soils have been shown to bind CWD prions (the infectious agent) and reduce their availability in the environment to other animals. For this reason, the burial of deer carcasses in clay soils prevents the movement of prions within the environment and manages them according to the best available science.

Chickasaw WMA has been selected as a carcass management site for the 2020-2021 hunting season because:

• The native soil composition includes clay

• It is a state-owned property

• It is in an already CWD-positive county

• It is a remote location with less potential for public impact

TWRA is also adding more clay to the native soil to enhance the effectiveness of the site, constructing a fence around the area, and covering deer carcasses immediately to ensure odors and scavengers are not a problem.

Directions and Hours:

The site is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 am – 2 pm.

Via Hwy 18: Turn East onto Big Springs Rd, travel 2.8 miles, the site is on the left

Via Hwy 100: Turn North onto Firetower Rd, travel 1.4 miles.  Turn Left onto Big Springs Rd, travel 1mile, the site is on the right.