Under Alabama’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zone Regulation (220-2-.167), all deer harvested in the High-Risk Zone and the Buffer Zone of the state’s CWD Management Zone (CMZ) must be submitted for CWD testing during specific weekends of the 2022-2023 white-tailed deer season. The mandatory sampling weekends in the High-Risk Zone of the CMZ are November 19-20 and December 3-4, 2022. The mandatory sampling weekends in the Buffer Zone of the CMZ are November 19-20, 2022, and January 7-8, 2023. The mandatory CWD sampling weekends apply to all of Lauderdale and Colbert counties in northwest Alabama. For sampling locations within the CMZ, click here.
Mandatory weekends for the High-Risk Zone and Buffer Zone correspond with peaks in Alabama’s deer harvest – the season’s opening weekend and the rut in northwest Alabama. Outside of those weekends, hunters are encouraged to voluntarily drop off samples for testing at the self-service freezers located in the appropriate CMZ zone.
However, all deer harvested by hunters on public land in the CMZ are required to be sampled throughout the season. Those public lands include the Freedom Hills WMA, Lauderdale WMA, Seven-Mile Island WMA and Riverton Community Hunting Area.
Carcass restrictions are also in place under the CWD regulation that prohibit the transport of deer carcasses and deer parts in the CMZ. Deer harvested within the High-Risk Zone must remain and be disposed of within the High-Risk Zone. Deer harvested within the Buffer Zone must remain and be disposed of within the CMZ. Deboned meat, cleaned skull plates and raw hides with no visible brain or spinal cord tissue may be taken outside of these zones. Transporting deer carcasses out of the management zone can potentially spread CWD to currently unaffected areas.
Hunting license and Game Check requirements apply to all white-tailed deer harvests statewide.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease of white-tailed deer and other deer species. It belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The always fatal disease is caused by a mutated protein called a prion. The first case of CWD in Alabama’s deer herd was detected in Lauderdale County in January 2022.
Find more information about CWD in Alabama here.