TWRA says chronic wasting disease zone could expand to Madison, Haywood counties
NASHVILLE — A total of 91 deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, and further testing could expand the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone to Madison County.
The 91 deer that have so far tested positive were from Fayette and Hardeman counties, according to a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
One of the deer receiving secondary testing is from Madison County and, if confirmed, would add Madison and Haywood counties to the CWD Zone, according to the release.
Two other deer receiving secondary testing are from Hardeman and Fayette counties and, if confirmed, would bring Chester and Shelby counties into the CWD zone due to the proximity to those counties, the release says.
Although Madison, Chester, Shelby and Haywood counties are currently outside the CWD zone, CWD Coordinator Chuck Yoest does not anticipate any changes to hunting regulations there for the remainder of the current 2018-19 deer hunting season, according to the release.
“Changing the regulations now would be premature as we are getting new information daily,” Yoest said in the release. “Once all the results have come back from our recent CWD sampling efforts, and all positive deer have been mapped, we will then develop a long term management plan including changes to hunting regulations.
“I imagine some people perceive the increased total of positives and the potential of expansion of the zone as an indication the disease is rapidly growing,” Yoest continued. “It is instead due to TWRA’s swift and focused sampling efforts in the affected area and being transparent and timely about the results as they are received.”
TWRA, with assistance from hunters, has collected more than 2,000 samples in the CWD Management Zone and surrounding counties since CWD was first detected on Dec. 14 in Fayette and Hardeman counties, the release says.
WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News spoke with leaders with the TWRA and asked are there any new regulations due to this latest discovery of the possible spread of CWD.
“It has changed regulations. One of those is supplemental feeding, if you’re inside the CWD zone. Currently, it is McNairy, Hardeman and Fayette counties. You can’t have any feed out for them, you can’t have salt licks or mineral licks, corn, or anything like that,” said Amy Snider, with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Jackson.
The agency is still awaiting results on about 800 samples, and anticipates collecting a couple hundred more samples during the last week of the extended hunting season in the CWD Management Zone.
You can find more information about chronic wasting disease at the TWRA website.