The Outdoor Community banner

Texas CWD

815 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  pajasonc

By Joseph Fitzsimons

Special to the Star-Telegram

The June 2015 discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in a Medina County captive deer breeding facility represents arguably the most serious threat our Texas white-tailed deer populations have experienced since they were on the brink of extinction in the early 20th century.

It is ironic that captive deer breeding may well be the cure that destroys the populations it was originally meant to help rescue.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, recognizing the severity and potential impact of this disease, responded swiftly and responsibly to halt the movement of breeder deer immediately upon CWD detection, until sufficient testing had been done on the population and a prudent plan was put in place for dealing with the disease.

Similarly, TPWD recognized the broad effect of its decisions, so the department held a series of professionally mediated stakeholder forums in an attempt to build consensus around the state’s response to the disease.

These forums included all major stakeholders, including all major deer breeding trade associations.

In an exhaustive and transparent process, all parties demonstrated willingness to compromise on issues of greatest importance to white-tailed deer and to wildlife in general. The result was to be a report with recommendations for new guidelines to protect Texas deer herds from CWD.

Unfortunately, a small group of deer breeders who participated in these forums chose not to honor their commitment to consensus and instead embarked on an effort to undermine the TPWD and the efforts of the other stakeholders.

Instead of recognizing the clear and present danger CWD poses to our wild deer herds, this small but vocal group chose instead to use lawsuits and other obstructions to impede the TPWD efforts to prevent this disease from spreading to the wild whitetail deer population.

Conservationists, hunters, professional wildlife biologists, outdoor recreationists and the broader agriculture community, including a growing number of deer breeders, have consistently expressed their support for the TPWD in response to this fatal, highly contagious disease.

We are all willing to share responsibility to help control CWD.

TPWD is doing its part, too, acting in a measured, pragmatic and responsible way, fulfilling its guiding philosophy to serve the people of Texas with fairness and respect, relying on the best available science to guide conservation decisions.

The deer breeding industry has a real problem in CWD. While the rest of Texas can appreciate the burden of accountability the industry now bears, that does not mean that their problem should become everyone else’s.

I also understand the financial threat posed to breeders whose deer are infected with CWD.

But the fairest way to deal with this threat is not to expose the rest of the state’s deer herd to this fatal disease. It is to take all necessary steps to control and limit the spread before it is too late.

I commend the TPWD staff and commission for their efforts, and I encourage all Texans who value our wildlife resources, hunting and rural economies to express support to the TPWD commission before Monday, June 20.

The ability of future generations to enjoy wildlife in its native habitat depends on all concerned Texans making their voices heard. Please support our Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in its efforts to protect our natural resources.

Joseph Fitzsimons is a rancher, lawyer and conservationist who is a director of the Texas Wildlife Association and former chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Read more here:
See less See more
1 - 2 of 5 Posts
TPWD: News Release: March 31, 2017: TPWD Announces 2016-17 Season CWD Monitoring Results

TPWD Announces 2016-17 Season CWD Monitoring Results
Texas records first cases of disease in free-ranging whitetail, elk
AUSTIN – Texas recorded a couple of unwanted firsts for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during statewide surveillance efforts for the 2016-17 collection year, including detections in a free-ranging whitetail and a free-ranging elk.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) surpassed its statewide goal of 6,735 CWD samples, collecting 9,830 from hunter harvested and road kill deer, and other susceptible cervid species, between March 1, 2016 and Feb. 28, 2017. Sampling objectives were established by TPWD wildlife biologists based on deer densities within each of the 41 Deer Management Units (DMU) in Texas and other factors to establish sufficient confidence of detection if CWD were present within those localized populations.
TPWD wildlife staff collected CWD samples from a variety of locations including: road kill deer, deer processors, private ranches, wildlife management areas and state parks, and voluntary and mandatory hunter harvest check stations. Of the 9,830 samples collected, 23 percent were road kill. Exotic species that have been sampled include axis deer, fallow deer, red stag, sika, and elk; although there is no evidence that axis and fallow deer are susceptible to this disease.
Details about each CWD detection in Texas are available online.
Among the CWD positives detected in Texas this past season, some notable firsts:
The first confirmed case of CWD in a free-ranging Texas whitetail was detected in a hunter harvested 1 1/2 –year-old buck submitted for sampling within the Surveillance Zone 3 located in portions of Medina, Uvalde, and Bandera counties.
The first known free-ranging elk in Texas to test positive for CWD, harvested by a hunter in Dallam County.
The first known case of a captive-raised white-tailed deer in Texas that live tested “not detected” for CWD, but after being harvested by a hunter on a release site three months later tested positive for the disease.
To date, Texas has recorded 49 confirmed cases of CWD, of which 26 were discovered in captive deer breeding pens, 5 were hunter harvested on breeder deer release sites, 16 were free-ranging mule deer, 1 was a free-ranging elk, and 1 was a free-ranging white-tailed deer.
“The good news is so far our sampling in the Tran-Pecos has only detected CWD in the Hueco Mountains area,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, TPWD wildlife veterinarian. “Since 2012, the disease has been found in 13 mule deer out of 117 tested in the Hueco Mountains area for an 11 percent prevalence rate.”
Dittmar also expressed guarded confidence that CWD has not spread outside the Hueco Mountains area based on increased sampling in the surrounding ranges.
“The mandatory sampling in the Trans-Pecos SZ- helped get an increase in sampling from the Delaware Mountains this year and while we have accumulated a decent number of samples around the Guadalupe Mountains, both remain areas of concern and we still need some more sampling out there.” he noted.
The state’s wildlife disease management response focuses on 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.
The detection of CWD in a free-ranging whitetail in Medina County this season resulted from enhanced voluntary testing of hunter harvested deer, allowing TPWD to initiate proactive measures aimed at containment rather than reactive steps targeting control.
“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,” Dittmar said. “We want to thank the Texas hunting community for its strong support of our management efforts; we cannot combat the spread of CWD without it.”
A detailed summary of CWD sampling for the 2016-17 collection season is available for review online.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 5 Posts