At the October meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, updates were presented on chronic wasting disease (CWD) and an ongoing turkey research project. Crockett and Gibson counties are now being classified as CWD high-risk counties. As a result, wildlife feeding and carcass expiration restrictions now apply there. However, the counties will remain in Unit L, not Unit CWD. Additional CWD public meetings are planned for Crockett and Gibson counties on Nov. 7 and 14, respectively.
During the 2019-20 deer season thus far, 17 CWD-positive deer have been detected in West Tennessee; the combined total, including those from the 2018-19, is 203. In a related issue, privately-owned landfills operators in southwest Tennessee have decided that no deer will be accepted at these facilities. Although TWRA does not have authority or legal responsibility for waste disposal, the agency will work with other state agencies to honor this decision.
A five-year study on turkey declines in southern Middle Tennessee has reached the half-way point. The preliminary report to the TFWC indicates turkey populations in the area are declining because of poor productivity. Experimental habitat management is being implemented to address limitations in nest success and brood survival. Hunters are very concerned about the status of turkey hunting and are willing to consider regulatory changes, according to surveys. Turkeys are being exposed to a variety of diseases but there is little evidence that these diseases are limiting populations. [Coyote predation?]
The next TFWC meeting will be Dec. 12-13 in Gatlinburg.