The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission made changes to deer hunting regulations in continued response to chronic wasting disease (CWD), which was found in three southwestern Tennessee counties last winter.
The commission approved the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s recommendation to create a new CWD deer hunting unit for the counties where CWD-positive deer were found (Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison) and counties within 10 miles of a positive CWD deer location (Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby and Tipton).
The commission said the goal of these modified regulations is to keep CWD from spreading and to keep the number of infected deer to a minimum.
Officials said muzzleloaders were authorized, in addition to archery, for use in Unit CWD for the three-day August (23-25) deer hunt. Selected public lands will also be open to hunting in Unit CWD for the August season.
Other major outcomes of the commission’s actions include:
- Earn-A-Buck Program - Hunters are entitled to additional antlered deer through a new “Earn-a-buck Program” in Unit CWD. A buck may be earned by harvesting two (2) antlerless deer in Unit CWD and submitting both for CWD testing. This may be done twice for a total of 2 earned bucks to be harvested in Unit CWD during the 2019-2020 season.
- Replacement Bucks - Unit CWD hunters are entitled to replacement bucks if they harvest a CWD-positive buck and the lab result in confirmed by TWRA.
- Extended Seasons - Unit CWD muzzleloader and gun season dates have been extended from the traditional statewide season dates. Archery-only dates will be Sept. 28-Oct. 25. Muzzleloader/archery will be Oct. 28-Nov. 8 and gun/muzzleloader/archery will be Nov. 9-Jan. 5, 2020.
- Antlered harvest, in addition to antlerless, was authorized for the January 5-day, private lands-only hunt, Jan. 6-10, 2020.
- Mandatory Check Weekends in Unit CWD will be Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 9-10.