SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has asked white-tailed deer hunters to voluntarily submit samples for chronic wasting disease testing this season.
The hunting season begins for managed-lands deer permit holders and bow hunters, also known as archers, this weekend.
Clayton Wolf, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department director of wildlife, said that if the program is successful it will increase the numbers of CWD tests significantly. TPWD biologists will collect tissue samples from heads of hunter-harvested deer within 24 hours, 48 if chilled, at no cost to the hunter. The biologists can't collect heads that have been frozen, according to a TPWD news release.
Hunters wishing to submit samples can click on this website to find a local biologist.
Texas Deer Association Executive Director Patrick Tarlton said he's encouraged that TPWD has enacted the volunteer hunter-harvested testing. However, he said people in the industry show overwhelming apprehension and anxiety about submitting hunter-harvested tests.
To date, there have been five confirmed cases of CWD in captive white-tailed deer. That includes four in Medina County and one in Lavaca County. Those two counties are where TPWD will focus their efforts to test for CWD in hunter-harvested deer.
The index herd is housed at Robert Patterson's Texas Mountain Ranch. On Tuesday the Defenders will look into the final herd plan for Patterson's facility.