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CWD Update, Deer Harvest Provided During Commission’s Final 2019 Meeting

Friday, December 13, 2019 | 05:17pm

GATLINBURG, Tenn. --- Updates on chronic wasting disease (CWD) and deer harvest numbers were among the items discussed at the December meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.  The two day meeting concluded Friday at the Edgewater Hotel and Convention Center.

Chuck Yoest, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s CWD coordinator, informed the commission the reported deer harvest has decreased in Unit CWD (11

He described the monumental CWD sampling efforts this deer season and reported there are five CWD-positive counties to date.  CWD-positive counties include Fayette, Hardeman, Madison, Tipton, and Shelby. 

Yoest described how the agency has already sampled more than 8,700 deer for CWD this deer season and reported the number of positives this season is 148 thus far.  In conclusion, he updated the commission on plans to address the deer carcass disposal issue in the CWD affected area. The TFWC had approved a $1 million expansion for an incinerator to be constructed and operated by Fayette County officials.

            The TFWC approved a budget expansion in the amount of $20,000 with funds from Hiwassee Chapter Trout Unlimited to support Southern Appalachian brook trout restoration efforts. These funds will be used to purchase needed equipment at Tellico Hatchery in Monroe County and to support seasonal staff.

Southern Appalachian brook trout are the only native trout in Tennessee and they are found at high elevations in the eastern mountains. Chapter representatives Steve Fry and Max Worthey were present at Friday’s meeting for the presentation and thanked by the Agency and TFWC.

Multi-Media Chief Don King described a new agency television show that is being produced, Tennessee Outdoor Journal. The program is being produced in-house and will feature new segments as well as segments from agency podcasts and past television programs. Distribution will be geared toward public access stations across the state and social media outlets 

A Threatened and Endangered Species list rule was presented by Environmental Services Chief Dave McKinney. The list is required by law to be reviewed and updated every two years.

The Threatened and Endangered Species list is presented to the TFWC every odd year and presented for approval to the TFWC for approval at its February meeting. This year’s Tennessee endangered list includes 14 species of crayfish, nine species of fish, two amphibians, one bird (Bachman’s sparrow). There are 30 additional species on the state threatened list and 92 species on the state’s need of management list.

TWRA Region IV Boating and Law Enforcement program manager, Maj. Brian Ripley is retiring at the end of December. He was recognized at the meeting for his 37 years of service to the agency.

The TFWC first meeting of 2020 will be in Nashville. It is scheduled for Jan. 23-24 at the TWRA Region II Building.