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Deer hunters in five western Kentucky counties must use check stations during gun seasons

Bill Stephens

September 28th, 2021

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Online hunting guide updated to reflect special regulations in CWD Surveillance Zone counties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2021) – All deer harvested during the 2021 modern gun and muzzleloader seasons in the western Kentucky CWD Surveillance Zone – including all of Calloway, Marshall, Graves, Fulton and Hickman counties – must now be taken to an in-person check station. With 17 locations offered in the surveillance zone, most hunters will be within 10 miles of a check station.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will staff the deer check stations during these firearms deer seasons to enhance its monitoring for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Special regulations now apply to the five counties because CWD was recently confirmed in a northwestern Tennessee deer, just 7.8 miles south of Kentucky’s border. Deer often naturally move a mile or more in a single day.

Chronic wasting disease is an always-fatal disease affecting deer, elk, moose and caribou. It has not been detected in Kentucky. There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The recent discovery of CWD near the state line activated Kentucky’s CWD Response Plan, which has been in place for nearly 20 years. The department’s plan includes several special regulations aimed at effectively monitoring for CWD and containing it if ever found Kentucky.

A CWD-infected deer can transmit the disease whether it is alive or dead. The disease can be spread through direct contact between animals 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 symptoms.

The in-person deer check stations are among several special regulations now in effect for the five-county CWD Surveillance Zone.

The Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide has been updated online and reflects these special regulations for the CWD Surveillance Zone. 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 muzzleloader and modern gun seasons must bring the deer or its entire head and proof of the animal’s sex to a CWD check station so Kentucky Fish and Wildlife biologists can obtain samples to test for CWD. Deer ages and CWD test results will be made available as a service to hunters.

There will be five CWD check stations in Calloway County, three in Marshall County, six in Graves County, one in Hickman County and two in Fulton County. A list of the CWD check stations is available online via fw.ky.gov/cwd.

The locations will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Central) from Oct. 16-17 (early muzzleloader), Nov. 13-28 (modern gun) and Dec. 11-19 (late muzzleloader). Additionally, the CWD check stations will be open for a half day after these seasons end. Hours will be 8 a.m. (Central) until noon on Oct. 18, Nov. 29 and Dec. 20.

Hunters should still follow standard telecheck 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 recovered and prior to processing the carcass. To reduce possible wait times at the CWD check stations, hunters are encouraged to telecheck their deer before arriving.

Hunters will receive a card at each CWD check station verifying their visit. Cards will contain information about how to view test results for their deer. Test results may not be available for several weeks.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will notify the hunter directly if their deer tests positive for CWD. The CDC recommends not eating meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.

Other special restrictions in the CWD Surveillance Zone:

Grain, mineral and salt cannot be put out to attract deer. Hanging bird feeders are allowed in yards. Normal agricultural practices, such as putting out hay or mineral blocks for cattle, are allowed. Planted food plots for wildlife are also allowed. Hunters can continue to use products that are not ingested by deer, such as scent attractors and deer urine-based products.

Carcass tags also are required to move a deer away from the property where it is harvested, if taken within the CWD Surveillance Zone. Hunters must still complete their harvest log as soon as a deer is taken and prior to moving the carcass.

Hunters transporting any cervid (deer, elk, moose, caribou) carcass through the five counties must have a carcass tag attached to the carcass, regardless of where it was harvested. This includes de-boned meat. Hunters can make their own tag or download one from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov/cwd. Information required on the tag include the name of the hunter or person in possession of the animal; telephone number with area code; species and sex of animal; county and state where harvested; and how the carcass was obtained.

Hunters are also reminded that special restrictions on carcass movement are in place for the CWD Surveillance Zone. Carcasses or high-risk parts of deer harvested within the five-county surveillance zone may not be taken outside of the CWD Surveillance Zone. Only de-boned meat, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, hides and finished taxidermy products may be taken out of the CWD Surveillance Zone. Carcasses of deer or elk taken elsewhere in the state may be brought into the surveillance zone but must have a carcass tag attached.

Voluntary Deer Sample Collection Stations also are available to hunters who would like to get their animal aged and tested for CWD during times when the mandatory check 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 Kentucky’s deer herd is by reporting animals acting strangely or appearing ill. An online reporting form also is available via fw.ky.gov/cwd.

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