FRANKFORT, Ky. – All deer harvested during the 2021 seasons of modern firearms and firearms in the CWD Watch Zone of Western Kentucky – including all counties of Calloway, Marshall, Graves, Fulton and Hickman – must now be taken to a checkpoint in person. With 17 locations offered in the Watch Zone, most hunters will be within 10 miles of a checkpoint.
The Kentucky Department of Fisheries and Wildlife will provide staff at deer checkpoints during these deer hunting seasons to enhance its surveillance for chronic wasting disease. Special regulations now apply to the five counties because CWD was recently confirmed in a deer in northwest Tennessee, just 7.8 miles south of the Kentucky border. Deer often naturally move a mile or more in a single day.
Chronic wasting disease is a life-threatening disease that affects deer, elk, moose and caribou. It has not been detected in Kentucky. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no cases of CWD infection have been reported in humans.
The recent discovery of CWD near the state border activated Kentucky’s CWD response plan, which has been in place for almost 20 years. The department’s plan includes several special regulations to effectively monitor CWD and contain it should Kentucky ever be found.
A deer infected with CWD can transmit the disease, whether alive or dead. The disease can be spread through direct animal-to-animal contact such as shared body fluids or from plants and soil in a contaminated area. Infected deer can transmit the disease even if they are not currently showing any symptoms.
In-person deer checkpoints are part of several special regulations currently in effect for the CWD surveillance zone in the five counties.
The Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide has been updated online to reflect these special regulations for the CWD Watch Area. To view and download the four-page supplement, please visit fw.ky.gov/cwd.
All hunters who harvest a deer in the surveillance zone during the muzzle-loading cannon and modern firearm seasons must bring the deer or its entire head and proof of the animal’s sex to a checkpoint. CWD so that Kentucky Fish and Wildlife biologists can obtain samples to test for CWD. Deer age and CWD test results will be made available to hunters.
There will be five CWD checkpoints in Calloway County, three in Marshall County, six in Graves County, one in Hickman County and two in Fulton County. A list of CWD checkpoints is available online at fw.ky.gov/cwd.
The locations will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Central) from October 16 to 17 (early muzzleloader), November 13 to 28 (modern firearm) and December 11 to 19 (to load by mouth late). In addition, CWD checkpoints will be open for half a day after the end of these seasons. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. (Central) until noon on October 18, November 29 and December 20.
Hunters should always follow standard telecontrol requirements, reporting their harvest online at fw.ky.gov or by phone at 1-800-245-4263 by midnight on the day the animal is retrieved and prior to processing. carcass. In order to reduce possible waiting times at MDC checkpoints, hunters are encouraged to telecontrol their deer before arriving.
Hunters will receive a card at each CWD checkpoint confirming their visit. The cards will contain information on how to display test results for their deer. Test results may not be available for several weeks.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will directly notify the hunter if their deer tests positive for CWD. The CDC recommends that you do not eat meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.
Other special restrictions in the CWD surveillance zone:
Grains, minerals, and salt cannot be used to attract deer. Hanging bird feeders are permitted in yards. Normal agricultural practices, such as the production of hay or mineral blocks for livestock, are permitted. Plots planted with food for wildlife are also permitted. Hunters can continue to use products that are not ingested by deer, such as scent attractants and deer urine products.
Carcass tags are also needed to keep a deer away from the property where it is harvested, if it is caught in the CWD surveillance area. Hunters should still complete their harvest diary as soon as a deer is caught and before moving the carcass.
Hunters who transport deer, elk, moose, caribou carcasses across the five counties must have a carcass tag attached to the carcass, regardless of where it was harvested. This includes boneless meat. Hunters can create their own tag or download one from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov/cwd. The information required on the tag includes the name of the hunter or the person in possession of the animal; telephone number with area code; species and sex of the animal; the county and state where they are harvested; and how the carcass was obtained.
Hunters are also reminded that special restrictions on movement of carcasses are in place for the CWD surveillance area. High-risk deer carcasses or parts harvested in the five-county surveillance zone cannot be taken outside the MDC surveillance zone. Only boneless meat, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, skins and finished taxidermy products may be removed from the CWD surveillance area. Deer or elk carcasses taken elsewhere in the state may be brought into the surveillance area but must have a carcass tag attached.
Voluntary deer sample collection stations are also available for hunters who wish to age and test their animal for CWD during times when mandatory control stations are not active. Collection stations are available statewide. Location maps are available online at fw.ky.gov/cwd.
Another way to help Kentucky Fish and Wildlife monitor the health of the Kentucky deer herd is to report animals that are acting strangely or appearing sick. An online report form is also available via fw.ky.gov/cwd.