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TWRA: Hunters found 148 CWD-infected deer this season

Tennessee officials met to talk deer hunting, East Tennessee trout and other wildlife issues.

Tennessee wildlife officials spoke on deer with chronic wasting disease and other issues at the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission's last meeting of the year.

CWD has been a major topic for TWRA this year; the highly-contagious disease was found in several West Tennessee counties.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, CWD is a "highly-contagious" illness affects deer, elk and moose -- and there's no known cure. While CWD is related to mad cow disease, there's no evidence it could spread to humans.

A TWRA official, Chuck Yoest, said the reported deer harvest has decreased in Unit CWD, an eight-county area where hunters can bag up to three anterless deer per day. If hunters bag an infected deer, they can report it to wildlife officials.

Credit: TWRA
TWRA provided this map of Tennessee's deer units.

According to a Friday TWRA press release, Yoest said the agency has sampled more than 8,700 deer for CWD this season. From that sample, they found 148 infected deer.

Yoest said TWRA has identified five CWD-positive counties to date: Fayette, Hardeman, Madison, Tipton, and Shelby.  

Yoest also spoke on a deer carcass disposal issue in Unit CWD. The commission approved a $1 million expansion for an incinerator to be constructed and operated by Fayette County officials. 

An East Tennessee issue was also on the roster. 

The commission approved a $20,000 budget expansion 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. TWRA said the species is found at high elevations in East Tennessee mountains.

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