Yearly Archives: 2012

Arizona deer and elk hunters can assist in monitoring for CWD

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking for assistance from deer and elk hunters in monitoring efforts for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Hunters can provide assistance by allowing Game and Fish personnel or a cooperating taxidermist or game meat processor to collect a tissue sample from their harvested deer or elk.

CWD is a neurodegenerative wildlife disease that is fatal to cervids, which include deer, elk and moose. Clinical signs include loss of body weight or emaciation, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, stumbling, trembling, and behavioral changes such as listlessness, lowering of the head, and repetitive walking in set patterns. No evidence has been found to indicate that CWD affects humans, according to both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

CWD has been detected in 22 states and Canadian provinces as of August 2012. Arizona Game and Fish began conducting CWD surveillance in the state in 1998 and has since collected more than 16,000 samples. No samples have yet tested positive for the disease, but Arizona shares borders with three states—Utah, Colorado and New Mexico—in which CWD has been found.

“The success of the CWD surveillance program is reliant upon the participation of hunters, meat processors, and taxidermists,” said Wildlife Disease Biologist Carrington Knox. “To ensure that CWD has not entered Arizona from neighboring states, we are concentrating our efforts in the game management units that border Utah and New Mexico.”

For Kaibab and Arizona Strip hunters (Units 12A, 12B, 13A, and 13B), the Jacob Lake check station will be open for collecting samples on the following dates: Oct. 12-16 during the juniors-only deer hunt; Oct. 26-Nov. 5 for the general deer hunt; and Nov. 23-Dec. 3 for the late season hunt. The check station will be operational from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for the day following the end of each hunt (Oct. 16, Nov. 5, and Dec. 3) when the check station will close at 12 noon.

Department biologists will also be collecting samples during the juniors-only elk hunt in Units 1 and 2C from Oct. 12-15. In addition, biologists will be working in the field from Nov. 2-5 and Nov. 16-19 in Unit 28, seeking successful hunters to provide samples for the CWD monitoring effort in this area.

Hunters who wish to assist the monitoring effort by bringing in the head of their recently harvested deer or elk to a Game and Fish Department office for sampling are requested to do so between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Place the head in a heavy plastic garbage bag for delivery and keep it cool and out of the sun. If the weather is warm, it is best to either bring in the head within a day of harvest or keep it on ice in a cooler before delivery.

When submitting heads for sampling, please provide accurate, up-to-date hunter information (name, street address, city, state, zip code and phone number) as well as hunt information (hunt number, permit number, game management unit harvested in, county, state, and hunting license), as this information is crucial should CWD be detected in a sample. If this information is not provided, the Department will be unable to test the sample.

Test results are available online at, by clicking the “Chronic Wasting Disease Test Results” link on the right side of the page.

Additional information about CWD can be found at or

TPWD Gearing Up for CWD Response during Deer Season

Public hearings to include workshops for hunters, landowners AUSTIN – Wildlife officials are asking mule deer hunters and landowners in far West Texas to familiarize themselves with new protocols developed as part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Chronic Wasting Disease response plan. The plan includes mandatory check stations for harvested mule deer taken inside the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Hudspeth and El Paso counties. See map of CWD zones online. The response plan is being implemented after tissue samples from two mule deer in far West Texas this past summer tested positive for CWD. These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer. CWD workshops will be held in conjunction with upcoming public hearings to inform landowners, hunters, and outfitters about CWD, care of meat, appropriate management actions, and check station requirements. TPWD will present proposed amendments to deer movement rules, answer questions and take public comment during the public hearing segment of the meetings. Meetings are set for Oct. 2 in Fort Stockton at the Pecos County Civic Center; Oct. 3 in Alpine at the Alpine Independent School District Auditorium; and Oct. 4 in Van Horn at the Van Horn Convention Center. The workshops will start at 6 p.m. and the public hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. CWD is not known to affect humans. There is no vaccine or cure for CWD, but steps have been taken to minimize the risk of the disease spreading from beyond the area where it currently exists. For example, within the CWD Containment Zone, human-induced movements of wild or captive deer, elk, or other susceptible species will be restricted and mandatory hunter check stations will be established. Hunters taking mule deer inside the Containment Zone during the general season, Nov. 23 – Dec. 9, are required to submit their harvest (unfrozen head) for CWD sampling at mandatory check stations within 24 hours of harvest. “We recommend hunters in the Containment Zone and High Risk Zone quarter deer in the field and leave all but the quarters, backstraps and head at the site of harvest if it is not possible to bury the inedible carcass parts at least 6 feet deep on the ranch or take them to a landfill,” said Shawn Gray, mule deer program leader for TPWD. Hunters that harvest deer in the Containment Zone during the archery-only season or outside the general season under the authority of MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permits) will need to call TPWD at (512) 221-8491 the day the deer is harvested to make arrangements to have the deer sampled for CWD. Mandatory check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 23 – Dec. 10. Stations will be located in Cornudas at May’s Café (on US 62-180) and in Van Horn at Van Horn Convention Center (1801 West Broadway). In addition to protocols within the Containment Zone, TPWD has created a High Risk Zone for voluntary CWD sampling during the hunting season. Biologists have been collecting voluntary mule deer harvest data in the region since 1980 and this year CWD sampling will be offered in addition to age and weight measurements. Voluntary check stations will be set up at the following locations during the first three weekends of the general season, Saturday through Monday (Nov. 24–26, Dec. 1–3 and Dec. 8–10), from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday:

  • Midland at Naturally Fresh (Deer Processor) (1501 Elwyn)
  • Bakersfield at Chevron Station (south of I10; Exit 294)
  • Sanderson at Slim’s Auto Repair (823 West Oak; Intersection of US 90 and 285)
  • Alpine at Hip-O Taxidermy (east side of town on US 90, across from Dairy Queen)

“All deer brought to the check stations this season will be aged as part of our CWD surveillance,” said Gray. “We also intend to collect other biological information such as antler measurements and field dressed weights as time allows.” Although wildlife officials cannot say how long the disease has been present in Texas or if it occurs in other areas of the state, they have had an active CWD surveillance program for more than a decade. “We have tested more than 26,500 wild deer in Texas since 2002, and the captive-deer industry has submitted more than 7,400 CWD test results as well,” said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director with TPWD. “But that part of West Texas is the toughest place to conduct an adequate CWD surveillance program because so few deer are harvested out there each hunting season. Thanks to the cooperation and active participation of several landowners, we were able to begin getting an idea of the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease without needing to remove many deer.” More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website

Department Expands Chronic Wasting Disease Control Areas

SANTA FE – Chronic wasting disease in deer and elk in southern New Mexico has prompted the Department of Game and Fish to expand areas where hunters must observe special rules pertaining to the handling and transportation of animal carcasses.

The Department has designated the entire Game Management Units 34, 28 and 19 as Chronic Wasting Disease Control Areas. Previously, only portions of some units were designated as control areas.

Department rules allows hunters who take a deer or elk within a control area to transport only certain portions of the carcass outside the boundaries of the Game Management Unit from which it was taken. Those portions include:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped, either commercially or privately.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Clean skull plates with antlers attached. Clean is defined as having been immersed in a bath of at least one part chlorine bleach and two parts water, with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Antlers, with or without velvet, attached to skull plate with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as “buglers,” whistlers,” or “ivories.”
  • Finished taxidermied heads.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, causing the animals to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and incoordination, and eventually die.

To date, ongoing investigations by state and federal public health officials have shown no causal relationship between CWD and human health problems.

Hunters can assist the Department in its chronic wasting disease research and tracking efforts by submitting deer or elk heads for testing within 48 hours of harvest at a field-testing station within a control area. Hunters who harvest deer or elk outside a control area can submit heads for testing at any Department office. Participating hunters will be entered into a special drawing for transferrable elk or oryx licenses.

For more information about chronic wasting disease, the drawing, or a field-testing station location, please call the Department at (505) 476-8080.

CWD Found in Deer at Iowa Hunting Preserve

A white-tailed deer at a Iowa hunting preserve tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the state’s first detection of the fatal deer disease.

The positive test was verified this week and announced Friday in a news release by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

According to the release, the Davis County facility where the animal was held has been inspected by the DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to ensure that any remaining deer remain contained. The facility is surrounded by an 8-foot fence. A quarantine has also been issued for the facility.

Iowa has tested 42,557 wild deer and more than 4,000 captive deer and elk as part of the surveillance program since 2002 when CWD was found in Wisconsin, according to the DNR.

Iowa officials plan to increase testing of wild deer in the area by working with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter harvested deer beginning this fall.

CWD is a neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. It is caused by an abnormal protein that affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock.

CWD was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967. Before the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in each bordering state.

Iowa is the 20th state to document CWD in captive and/or free-ranging deer. It has also been found in two Canadian provinces.

Earlier this month, Texas officials announced that state’s first positive CWD findings, in a pair of wild mule deer near the New Mexico border.

USDA publishes Chronic Wasting Disease Program standards for farmed cervids

Learn more