Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Lauderdale County Deer
State officials have confirmed that Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected in a white-tailed deer in Lauderdale County. This is the first case of CWD in Alabama’s herd.
The deer was hunter harvested in west-central Lauderdale County.
“CWD was first detected in Tennessee and Mississippi in 2018 and has been moving slowly toward Alabama,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “The Department has implemented multiple proactive regulations to combat the spread into Alabama. Compliance from the public on those measures helped delay the spread into the state for several years.”
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior due to microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication. In latter stages of the disease, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns and a lack of responsiveness.
“I would like to thank the hunters for their voluntary assistance in providing samples for CWD testing and we need hunters now more than ever,” said Commissioner Blankenship. “We take the presence of this disease very seriously which is why we developed a plan of action using CWD best practices to deal with the disease if or when it was discovered in Alabama.”
Due to CWD detection in Lauderdale County, ADCNR has enacted a new regulation for Lauderdale and Colbert counties, as outlined in Alabama’s CWD Surveillance and Response Plan.
All of Lauderdale and Colbert counties are designated as a CWD Management Zone (CMZ). The area west of U.S. Highway 43 in Lauderdale County to the Mississippi and Tennessee state lines and south to the Tennessee River is designated as a High-Risk Zone (HRZ). The remainder of Lauderdale County and all of Colbert County is designated as a Buffer Zone.
Hunters are required to submit heads for CWD testing from all deer harvested within the HRZ in Lauderdale County at drop-off freezer locations or at scheduled ADCNR mobile sampling stations. Hunters who harvest deer within the Buffer Zone are highly encouraged to submit heads for sampling at drop-off freezer locations within the CMZ.
It is critical that hunters understand the movement of harvested deer will be limited within the management zone. Deer harvested within the HRZ must remain and be disposed of within the HRZ. Deer harvested within the Buffer Zone must remain and be disposed of within the CMZ.
Hunting license and Game Check requirements remain in effect for all white-tailed deer harvests.