Now That Big Game Season has Ended….

I was originally excited about the extended season, but that came to an end…

Today, we planned to hunt, but after speaking with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency on more clarity about the law and guidelines for the Chronic Wasting Disease (in our county), we learned that it would end up costing us time and money. The disheartening fact that we would have to take a gamble on having a tested positive deer at the expense of $100, was less than ideal…

We would have to leave our deer in the same county to be processed and then wait two weeks, before we receive the test results on whether or not, we could eat the meat that we just paid to have processed…. This is my first challenge in hunting. We live two counties and an hour away from our hunting land. We usually process our meat at home, but now that CWD has made an appearance, we are no longer legally able to have it cross counties.

I worry that this incurable epidemic will affect the number of current and possibly new sportsmen in the game. This introduces a growing number of hunters that will begin to purely “trophy hunt.” I love deer meat, but dropping processing fees on top of an already expensive hobby, makes you think twice about “filling the freezer.”

As hunters and wildlife conservationists, we need to find better ways to work with our wildlife agencies to help study and understand CWD. We know that there is no cure, so how do we help nature during this epidemic? Is this God’s way of controlling an imbalance of population??? This disease might be a way to reduce the population due to decreased numbers of deer’s natural predators: bears, coyotes, and wolves.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that this disease will be crossing into Shelby County by the start of next Big Game season. At that time, being able to transport our meat home will be a possibility. As a hunter and lover of wild game, I am willing to wait for my results and I am willing to wait for a few weeks for the test results to return.

I will be keeping you guys updated on when “at home” CWD kits will be released. At this time, do not be fooled by CWD kit advertisements on social media and magazines. Testing your harvest for this disease is a process that should be done by approved testing sites and researchers such as local universities and authorities aligned with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Center of Disease Control.

As always, thank-you for reading and sharing….

Wholeheartedly El

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