MORRISTOWN - The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be collecting deer biological data on the opening day of the deer rifle season this Saturday, Nov. 18 at various locations across East Tennessee. Data to be collected will include deer age estimates, antler measurements, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance samples at select locations.

With the advent of Internet checking and the “TWRA On The Go” mobile device application, fewer hunters are physically bringing deer to traditional checking stations. These newer methods for big game checking have made the process easier for hunters, but more difficult for TWRA to collect much needed data from harvested animals.

The data collected is important in aiding TWRA’s deer management decisions across the state. Many times, deer management recommendations and decisions are made using data collected from hunters and it is especially important when any buck restrictions are being considered. This also provides the opportunity to test deer for the presence of a neurological disease known as CWD, which is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy known to infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, and Rocky Mountain elk. The disease attacks the central nervous system causing small holes to form in the brains of infected animals and is always fatal. While CWD is similar to Scrapie and mad cow disease in cattle, there is no evidence that humans can contract the disease by coming into contact with or by consuming the meat from infected animals. However, TWRA still recommends that hunters take precautions to limit risks, including the use of latex gloves when field dressing deer.

Fortunately, CWD has not been detected in Tennessee but TWRA is increasing its monitoring program to ensure that the disease has not been introduced into the state. As in the past, TWRA intends to collect 1,500 samples this year. To date, 102 free-ranging elk and 11,381 free-ranging deer have been tested for the disease in the state with all the results coming back negative.

Hunters are also reminded of importation restrictions for cervids including deer, moose, and elk carcasses from any state that has found a positive case of CWD. Carcasses and other cervid parts from the CWD-positive states that may be brought into or possessed in Tennessee include:

· Meat that has bones removed
· Antlers, antlers attached to clean skull plates, or cleaned skulls (no meat or tissues)
· Cleaned teeth
· Finished taxidermy, hides and tanned products

A list of states and Canadian provinces that are included in the restriction can be found at…/ar…/cwd-carcass-importation-restrictions

TWRA Agents will be present at the following checking station locations for deer data collection:

Adams Taxidermy
102 Shipe Rd, Powell

Valley Meats
507 Knoxville Hollow Rd, LaFollette

North Cumberland WMA Station
Main St., Caryville, TN Exit 134 off I-75

H and H Market
106 Nave Hollow Loop, Elizabethton

Gap Creek Custom Market
3017 Gap Creek Road Hampton

Cunningham’s Slaughter House
860 Cedar Fork Rd., Tazewell

Two Bucks Processing
1320 Ralph Jones Way, Dandridge

Snapps Ferry Packing Co.
5900 Andrew Johnson Hwy E, Greeneville

Buckeyes Custom Meat
3005 Musser Road, Morristown

Bulls Gap Custom Meats
282 Ladrew Lane, Bulls Gap

Rick Hill Taxidermy & Processing
695 Smith Valley Road, Lenoir City

For more information about checking stations in East Tennessee, contact TWRA Biologist Sterling Daniels at 423-522-2445 or