TPWD launches campaign to bring awareness to fatal Chronic Wasting Disease among Texas deer

Hunters asked to properly dispose carcasses, test harvests

File image of a deer. (Image by edbo23 from Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is launching a new campaign to help educate the public about a fatal neurological disease among deer known as Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD.

TPWD said it’s adding CWD billboards and signs at gas stations, as well as redesigning the CWD webpage to share information on the disease and its impact.

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The new webpage will also include maps of surveillance zones and check station locations.

“The outreach effort is meant to generate discussion, educate folks about the disease, current CWD regulations, and what we can do to manage the disease,” TPWD Big Game Program Director Alan Cain said in a news release. “We have an obligation to current and future generations of Texans to be good stewards (to) our native deer species.”

The disease is fatal for certain cervids, like deer, elk, moose and others in the deer family.

Its incubation period can last for years, meaning animals who have the disease may go a while without showing symptoms.

As the disease progresses, it causes weight loss, stumbling, tremors, excessive thirst, salivation or urination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and/or drooping ears. It never goes dormant and can remain on land for several years.

TPWD says there are no known cases of a human becoming infected with the disease, but hunters should test their harvested species for the disease before consuming them.

It was first detected in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer. So far, there have been more than 500 positive cases across the state, including one in Bexar County.

Earlier this month, TPWD said the most recent cases involved a dead 2-year-old white-tailed doe in Frio County and a dead 3-year-old white-tailed buck in Zavala County. The animals were in deer-breeding facilities.

TPWD said that through the campaign, they hope Texans will be more vigilant while hunting. They also want hunters to properly dispose of carcasses and test their harvests for CWD.

“This campaign will call on hunters, landowners and the public’s appreciation for Texas deer to build awareness about CWD, reinforce TPWD as a reliable resource, and build hunter participation in testing and proper carcass disposal,” Deputy Communications Director Cory Chandler said in the release.

Click here to learn more about the disease, testing, prevention and check stations.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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