First case of CWD in free-ranging Texas whitetail
AUSTIN — Chronic wasting disease has been detected in a hunter-harvested 1 1/2 –year-old white-tailed buck submitted for sampling within Surveillance Zone 3 in Medina County, according to a release by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department — the first confirmed case of CWD in a free-ranging Texas whitetail.
The TPWD and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are taking steps to deploy an early detection and containment strategy designed to limit the spread of CWD from the affected area and better understand the distribution and prevalence of the disease.
“Although the disease has been discovered in a free ranging whitetail in this area, we cannot draw any conclusions at this time based on one detection,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, TPWD’s Wildlife Veterinarian. “The proactive measures we are taking as part of our epidemiological investigation into this case are in line with the state’s strategies to prevent this disease from spreading any further. The more effective we are at containing this disease within a limited geographic area, the better it will be for our wildlife resources and all those who enjoy them.”
Effective immediately under an executive order issued by TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith, Surveillance Zone 3 (SZ3), which extends across portions of Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties, is now a CWD Containment Zone and all associated rules for that designation are in effect. Those rules include restrictions on the movements of carcass parts as well as live deer possessed under the authority of a permit. The department is also implementing mandatory CWD testing of hunter harvested deer within this containment zone.
This most recent detection of CWD resulted from enhanced voluntary testing of hunter harvested deer in the zone. TPWD’s sampling goal for the zone for the 2016-17 hunting season is 1,749 samples. The department has received about 720 samples from hunter harvests and roadkills within the zone and anticipates receiving about 200 additional samples from deer breeding facilities and associated release sites in the zone.
While the general deer hunting season is over, TPWD will continue to collect samples from Managed Lands Deer Program properties in the new containment zone as well as roadkills. The department is seeking as many additional samples for testing as it can obtain in order to get a better handle on the geographic extent and prevalence of the disease in this area.
Additional information about CWD can be found online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/ .