Conservation Matters November 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

TPWD develops new CWD protocols for mule deer

Wildlife officials are asking mule deer hunters and landowners in far West Texas to familiarize themselves with new protocols developed as part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) response plan. The plan includes mandatory check stations for harvested mule deer taken inside the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Culberson, Hudspeth and El Paso counties. 

The response plan is being implemented after tissue samples from two mule deer in Far West Texas tested positive for CWD. These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer, according to TPWD.

CWD is in a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep, BSE or mad cow disease in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease resulting in altered behavior because of microscopic brain changes.

An animal may carry the disease without outward indication, but later signs include listlessness, head lowering, weight loss, repetitive walking and a lack of responsiveness. CWD is not known to affect humans.

There is no vaccine or cure for CWD. Steps to minimize the risk of disease spread include restriction of movement and mandatory hunter checks of deer, elk or other susceptible species within the CWD Containment Zone.

Read the full TPWD news release for more information and for instructions on procedures for harvesting deer inside the Containment Zone.

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