CWD Found in Tennessee

It’s been a long time coming for the Volunteer State, but CWD seems to have finally made its way into the Tennessee deer herd. It was seemingly inevitable as it was creeping closer and closer to the TN/MS border, but now, preliminary testing shows CWD has been found in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is enacting the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response plan, following a preliminary positive detection of CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties. The response plan involves a coordinated effort between TWRA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and other partners.

cwd found in Tennessee

What will CWD mean for the future of a thriving Tennessee deer herd?

Seven deer in Fayette County and three in Hardeman County have preliminarily tested positive for CWD. Additional samples are being tested and the TWRA is actively trying to contact the hunters who harvested these deer. “Once arrangements are made, TWRA will be encouraging hunters harvesting deer in these areas to submit their deer for testing,” said Chuck Yoest, TWRA CWD Coordinator.

“Hunters are our biggest ally in managing chronic wasting disease in Tennessee if it is confirmed here,” said Dr. Dan Grove, Wildlife Veterinarian, University of Tennessee Extension. “Besides submitting deer from the to-be-defined CWD Zone, the most important thing everyone needs to do is follow the regulations for moving harvested deer. (

Although CWD has no known risk to the health of humans or livestock, it is a contagious and deadly neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family. It is transmitted through animal-to-animal contact, animal contact with a contaminated environment, and with contaminated feed or water sources. It is the most significant threat to the deer population nationwide, as it is 100 percent fatal to deer and elk.

Wildlife agencies across the country are working to inform the public about CWD, its deadly results and possible impacts to economies. Currently, 25 states and three Canadian provinces have documented CWD. Last week, Mississippi announced a preliminary CWD positive hunter-harvested deer in Marshall County which became the closest to Tennessee and the fourth overall this year in Mississippi. Other confirmed cases have previously been made in the border states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia.

TWRA Executive Director, Ed Carter, shares a word regarding CWD in Tennessee in the video below…


Immediate Response to  CWD Found in Tennessee

What immediate changes will Tennessee hunters see regarding the detection of CWD? For starters, the impact counties will see an extended deer season for the 2018/2019 season. The Commissioners voted to extend the deer hunting season in Fayette, Hardeman and McNairy counties until January 31, 2019. There is an additional bag limit of one antlered deer and NO LIMIT on antlerless deer.

More information about CWD, including cervid import restrictions, and videos that explain how to properly dress an animal before transporting it, can be found on TWRA’s website at




  1. Jeffrey OConnor says:

    So we are your ally? How is TWRA our ally? 1. Took away one of our bucks statewide 2. Increased the price of licenses and tags. 3. Our licenses are printed on typing paper to carry around or on your phone that the app is formatted for only the latest phone. 4. Removed the 3 in. antlerless restriction, that makes it a split second guessing game,do I shoot and hope it’s a doe or waste my buck limit, because it’s a buck if the horn protrudes 1/4 in. above skull. 5. Quota gun hunt is only two days. 5. Took away the Dec. Quota hunt. You did add a quota muzzleloader hunt.2 stars. If the revenues are down because of less hunters,this may be a hint. If I didn’t have a lifetimes license,I would quit hunting.Don’t do much now. I did not get a survey asking me if the said changes were okay with me. That tells me that you don’t necessarily care what we think. The CWD, how it transmitted,you are not going to stop it. You can’t stop nature.

    • Jake Rewa says:

      The rule on the 1/4″ antler was only for last year…this year it’s back to less than 3″ counts as antlerless.

    • I agree with your opinion on “stopping” CWD, here in Michigan it has become an issue but say they create a cure for it how are you going to round up deer and give it to them? Costs too much and Michigan DNR does not have the man power to do it either. Supposedly the elk herd out west contracted it the wildlife experts out there just let it run its course and it seems to have gone away. I am assuming this disease has been here before mankind and it will be here long after us.


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