TWPD warning of increase in Chronic Wasting Disease among Texas deer

Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 9:47 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -There’s been an increase in cases of the fatal Chronic Wasting Disease among Texas deer.

“That’s the tough part CWD is not easily detectable in free ranging deer out there on the landscape,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Big Game Program Director Alan Cain.

Cain says CWD causes a sponge-like appearance in the brain.

“They will be not very cognizant or aware of their surroundings, no fear of people for example they may stand in a horse-like appearance, drooling and emaciation,” said Cain.

CWD has no cure. The only way to confirm is once the animal has died.

“It could curtail or discourage hunting in certain areas where the prevalence rates become too high where folks just say they don’t want to hunt there anymore because it’s a coin flip that I may harvest a deer with CWD,” said Cain.

Cain says hunters should be cautious when disposing of unused carcass parts as CWD can easily be spread among animals.

“After they’ve cleaned the deer, take the spinal cord or spinal column and the head things that they’re not gonna use and throw those away either at the site of harvest or in a dumpster that’s going to the landfill or bury them deep enough that scavengers can not dig up the parts and spread them around,” said Cain.

Cain says the key is prevention. If CWD becomes widespread, it would cause deer to die at younger ages.

“You would have fewer older bucks in that population, potentially well that would be important for a hunter or landowner who manages older age class deer with bigger antlers if they’re selling hunch as a way to make income for the ranch,” said Cain.

There are 22 zoned areas where hunters must get a carcass tested for CWD. You can visit their website to find where those restrictions are in place.