Fatal deer disease detected in Hill Country ahead of fall hunting season

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, was found in 6-year-old doe

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

A fatal neurological disease among deer has been detected in the Hill Country ahead of the fall hunting season.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said a 6-year-old doe at a breeding facility in Kimble County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

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The doe first tested positive when it was alive through annual, required CWD surveillance testing at the facility. A postmortem test confirmed it had CWD.

This is the second time the disease was detected at a deer-breeding facility in the county, TPWD states.

A surveillance zone spanning a 2-mile radius will be placed around the facility. Deer harvested within that zone must be presented at a check-in station within 48 hours. The location of the check-in station will be established at a later date.

CWD 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 is urging hunters to take precautions when harvesting deer this fall season.

Around Texas, there are several CWD zones and check-in stations where hunters are required to present their deer.

Click here to view a map of those CWD zones and check-in stations.

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, TPWD states.

The general season for white-tail deer starts on Nov. 4, and the general season for mule deer starts in mid-late November, depending on where you live.

Click here to see hunting seasons by animal.

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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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