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Friday, February 3, 2017

Chronic wasting disease found for first time in wild Texas white-tail deer.

State wildlife officials are restricting the transport of live and dead white-tailed deer and requiring sampling of carcasses after the discovery of a fatal disease in a free-ranging deer this week. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department(TPWD) on Tuesday identified chronic wasting disease in a 1 1/2-year-old buck harvested in Medina County west of San Antonio, the first wild individual of its species to be found with the disease in Texas. The hunter brought the carcass into a voluntary state checkpoint for sampling. Chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system of deer and their relatives, including elk and moose. Mule deer were the first to be infected in Texas, with the first case found in West Texas in 2012. In 2015, a captive-bred white-tailed deer at Texas Mountain Ranch in Medina County was the first of that species to test positive for the disease in the state. The disease has been found in 25 states and two Canadian provinces, according to federal scientists. Wild deer can spread the disease among themselves through nose-to-nose contact and shed it in urine, feces or other tissue, said David Hewitt, a wildlife biologist with Texas A&M University’s Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. Though a buck may travel as far as 10 miles from its birthplace between its first and second year, the risk of spreading the disease far and wide comes from humans moving animals and carcasses around the state. To stop the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer, TPWD put new restrictions on moving captive deer or carcasses from a designated containment zone in parts of Bandera, Uvalde and Medina counties. Hunters must also now submit all deer harvested in that zone for testing, though general deer hunting season ended last week. Source