Due to the regular amending of regulations in Texas, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Texas can be seen below:
Click a section to expand:
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
Texas A & M University 1 Sippel Rd. College Station, TX 77843
979-845-3414 or 888-646-5623
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
Texas A & M University 6610 Amarillo Blvd West Amarillo, TX 79106
1. Dallam 2. El Paso 3. Hudspeth 4. Hartley 5. Lavaca 6. Medina 7. Uvalde
AUSTIN – Two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Texas captive deer, including the first confirmed from a live test tonsillar biopsy sample, have been validated. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are conducting an epidemiological investigation…
AUSTIN – A free-ranging mule deer buck, harvested in Hartley County, has been confirmed positive for CWD. State officials received confirmation today from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.
Hartley County is located in the Texas Panhandle immediately to the south of Dalhart…
AUSTIN – A 3 1/2-year-old captive raised white-tailed buck harvested in early January by a hunter from a release site on a ranch in Medina and Uvalde counties has been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The deer’s origin has been identified as an onsite…
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:
“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
AUSTIN — Samples from two mule deer recently taken in far West Texas have been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer. Wildlife officials believe the event is currently isolated in a remote part of the state near the New Mexico border.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) implemented regionally-focused deer sample collection efforts after the disease was detected in the Hueco Mountains of New Mexico during the 2011-12 hunting season. With the assistance of cooperating landowners, TPWD, TAHC, and USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services biologists and veterinarians collected samples from 31 mule deer as part of a strategic CWD surveillance plan designed to determine the geographic extent of New Mexico’s findings. Both infected deer were taken from the Hueco Mountains of northern El Paso and Hudspeth counties.
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.
Tissue samples were initially tested by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, with confirmation by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
“Now that we have detected CWD in Texas, our primary objective is to contain this disease,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “Working collaboratively with experts in the field we have developed protocols to address CWD and implementation is already under way.”
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, human-induced movements of wild or captive deer, elk, or other susceptible species will be restricted and mandatory hunter check stations will be established.
“This is obviously an unfortunate and rather significant development,” said TPW Commission Chairman, T. Dan Friedkin. “We take the presence of this disease very seriously and have a plan of action to deal with it. The Department will do whatever is prudent and reasonable to protect the state’s deer resources and our hunting heritage.”
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.”
The TAHC regulates cervid species not indigenous to Texas such as elk, red deer, and sika deer. TAHC oversees a voluntary CWD herd monitoring status program with the intent to facilitate trade and marketability for interested cervid producers in Texas. Cervid herds under either TPWD or TAHC authority may participate in the commission’s monitored CWD program. The basis of the program is that enrolled cervid producers must provide an annual herd inventory, and ensure that all mortalities during the previous year were tested for CWD and the disease was not detected.
Wildlife biologists, hunters, and landowners would certainly have preferred for Texas mule deer populations to have not been dealt this challenge, but TPWD and TAHC have developed a CWD Management Plan that includes management practices intended to contain the disease. The management plan includes input from the CWD Task Force, which is comprised of deer and elk producers, wildlife biologists, veterinarians and other animal-health experts from TPWD, Texas Animal Health Commission, Department of State Health Services, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, and USDA.
The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer in 19 states and 2 Canadian provinces, including neighboring New Mexico.
“We know that elk in southern New Mexico are also infected with CWD,” said Dr. Dee Ellis, State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director. “It will take a cooperative effort between hunters, the cervid industry, and state/federal animal health and wildlife agencies to ensure we keep this disease confined to southern New Mexico and far West Texas. I am confident however that will be able to do that, and thus protect the rest of the Texas cervid industry.”
More information on CWD can be found on Na href=”http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/cwd” target=”_blank”>TPWD’s website, or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.
More information about the TAHC CWD herd monitoring status program may be found online.
Read news release [PDF]
AUSTIN –The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) announced that effective immediately it is has determined that Red deer (Cervus elaphus), and Sika deer (Cervus nippon) are “susceptible species” for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and therefore must meet the same entry requirements as other cervid species regulated by the agency such as elk and moose. The new entry rules for Red deer and Sika deer will require they originate from herds with at least five years of participation in a herd certification program from states where CWD has been detected, and at least three years participation in programs from states that have not found CWD thus far.
The agency decision was based in part on the disclosure that a farmed Red deer herd in Minnesota was confirmed positive for CWD in May of this year. Further, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an interim final CWD rule on June 8, which designates Sika deer and Red deer as susceptible species. The USDA rule is intended to establish minimum requirements for interstate movement of deer, elk, moose, and other susceptible cervids, and to also establish a national CWD certification program.
Under the new TAHC entry requirements, besides originating from a herd with three or five year status as described above, Red deer and Sika deer shippers must also obtain an entry permit and request entry in writing. Proper supporting documentation must also accompany the request for entry at least 10 days prior to the proposed entry date. More information on TAHC entry requirements related to cervids can be found online
Indigenous cervid species such as white-tailed deer and mule deer are regulated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), not the TAHC. Currently those species are entirely prohibited from entering Texas based on TPWD rules.
AUSTIN –Chronic Wasting Disease and Bovine Tuberculosis were not detected in more than 300 deer held illegally on an East Texas deer breeding facility, according to findings at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.
The test results mean these deadly wildlife diseases have not been discovered in Texas deer, and enable several deer breeding facilities whose stock had co-mingled with the illegally held animals to resume normal operations.
“We are greatly relieved with the results from the disease testing,” said Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We take disease issues very seriously because of the potential impacts to Texas’ natural resources, the public’s wildlife, and the multi-billion dollar hunting and deer breeding industries.”
While the lab results provide a positive conclusion to an extensive epidemiological investigation by state wildlife officials, they do not moderate the actions of a 77-year-old former deer breeder that led to the need for disease testing.
Billy Powell pleaded guilty on June 14 to the felony offense of smuggling at least 37 white-tailed deer, over a 3-year time span, from Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio into Texas in violation of state and federal laws. CWD has been documented in at least 10 counties in Illinois, posing a direct link for disease risk in Texas as a result of Powell’s illegal importation activities.
“It is regrettable that Mr. Powell forced the state to take this action in the first place,” said Smith. “After he repeatedly smuggled deer illegally into Texas and risked introducing devastating diseases into both wild deer herds and penned deer operations, thereby threatening the state with immense economic harm, the Department had no choice but to step in. Quite simply, the hundreds of thousands of deer hunters who go to the field annually in pursuit of wild game and the thousands of landowners who manage the state’s wildlife responsibly don’t deserve to have their enjoyment of wildlife jeopardized by someone who shows such little regard for the public’s resources.”
The implications from a CWD outbreak in Texas’ internationally recognized white-tailed deer population, both free-ranging and captive, would be significant. Deer hunting is an important cultural and recreational component of Texas lifestyle, pursued annually by more than 600,000 sportsmen, and has an economic impact to the state in excess of $2.2 billion a year, according to published reports. In addition, studies show deer breeding activities have an economic impact in Texas of about $650 million annually.
CWD was originally described in captive animals 35 years ago in Colorado. However, during the last five years, the fatal disease has been detected in free-ranging cervids in several surrounding states and Canada. In 2002, a year after Texas closed its borders to importation of deer due to disease risks, CWD was reported in free-ranging deer in South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, and Utah.
Currently, 20 states and Canadian provinces are tagged as having documented CWD in their deer, elk or moose. The progression of the disease into new areas remains persistent. In 2005, West Virginia detected a positive. Virginia got a confirmed case in 2010 and this year Maryland joined the list of infected states.
Further proof that CWD can spread, remain dormant for years and ultimately impact a resource; a shipment of elk from an infected herd in Canada to Korea in 1997 went undetected for nearly 10 years. Despite tracing back the imported animals, which were euthanized for testing in 2005, CWD persists in that country. Last year, one out of three elk slaughtered for human consumption on one farm tested positive for CWD; the entire herd of about 100 animals had to be euthanized. CWD appears to pose no threat to human health.
More than 1,200 permits are issued annually to deer breeders in Texas covering an estimated 80,000 whitetails held in captivity. The vast majority of deer breeders operate within guidelines designed to minimize risk of disease transmission. Since CWD surveillance efforts were initiated in Texas a decade ago, more than 35,000 deer samples have been submitted for testing. TPWD has tested only about 800 illegally-possessed deer from 32 different violators.
“People ask me if I’m confident we don’t have CWD in Texas after testing that many animals, and I tell them my confidence level grows each year,” said Mitch Lockwood, TPWD’s big game program director. “But, that confidence drops to zero every time we learn about a deer being smuggled into the state. The threat is real and the consequences can be substantial; just ask any of those other states that are dealing with CWD in their deer herds.”