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TWRA says hunting more will slow spread of CWD

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Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 14:46:25-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says hunting more will slow down the spread of chronic wasting disease.

It's been just two years since the first deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Tennessee. It's a deadly disease for deer and the TWRA thinks it's why they saw a 9% decline in harvest numbers statewide and 24% in the core area of Fayette and Hardeman counties.

The latest numbers from this hunting season show 400 deer positive for CWD out of the 13,000 tested. On top of that, deer in Haywood and Chester counties tested positive for the first time.

The TWRA also reclassified Lauderdale County as high-risk because of a positive test in Tipton County just 10 miles away from the border.

Barry Cross, with the TWRA says because the disease easily transfers from deer to deer, they need hunters to continue hunting to make spreading CWD more difficult.

“We need them to harvest animals because that's going to be one of the biggest ways were going to be able to control this disease and contain it,” he said.

The TWRA says they're working to make the process as easy as possible for hunters. They'd like to have an in-state testing facility next year to avoid sending all of the tests to Colorado State University. They also hope to get an incinerator in Fayette County to help with disposal.