“When I saw who the e-mail was from, my heart rate went up about 20% before I opened it.”

Those are the words of Larry Marcum, the Chief of Wildlife Management with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The e-mail was from Richard Gerhold, Staff Veterinarian with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. That is the group responsible for testing Tennessee whitetail deer for chronic wasting disease.

The news was good.

Gerhold said of the 471 samples they had finished testing, ALL were negative for CWD.

“It’s right in line with what we thought we’d see. We’d be real surprised if we get any positives here or in the southeast,” said Marcum.

TWRA has sent in a total of 1,493 samples for testing. The current results represent nearly a third of the total. Marcum says at this time he has every reason to expect all of the samples to come back negative.

But he says it could be a few more months until all the results are back since the testers have been inundated with samples from nearly every state to check.

“They are probably moving on to another state,” said Marcum. I suspect they’re trying to give each state some results and then go back and finish them all up.”