Fatal deer disease prompts extra hunting season in three Tennessee counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A deer disorder known as Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD has prompted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to create an additional deer hunting season in three Tennessee counties until the end of the month.

Chronic Wasting Disease is fatal in deer. It causes a brain infection, similar to Mad Cow disease, except CWD is not known to spread to humans.

TWRA officials say there’s still a lot to learn about the disease; so when they confirmed 21cases of CWD in deer in west Tennessee, they knew they had to take steps never before taken, including the new deer season in Fayette and Hardeman counties. That’s where the infected deer were located as well as neighboring McNairy county.

Under a new regulation, if deer are caught there on the weekends during the new season, they need to be tested for the disease by TWRA.

“We’re capitalizing on those opportunities to get more samples to determine how much disease is there, and where it is,” said Chuck Yoest with the TWRA.

TWRA says you should not eat deer found to have CWD, and a new restriction in the three counties now prevents hunters from taking deer out of the area without processing it first, so it can keep the disease under control.