Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) are seeking input on a cooperative effort to monitor for Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in Texas, which would include sampling hunter-harvested mule deer and elk. The tissue samples used for this effort would be the same samples currently collected as part of the ongoing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) monitoring effort.
The expanded TB surveillance is in response to a bill passed during the 83rd Legislative Session charging the TAHC with conducting a study regarding the current risk level for TB in parts of El Paso and Hudspeth counties. As part of the study, susceptible animals in these counties will be tested for TB. Testing will include cattle, goats, sheep, swine, exotic hoof-stock, captive deer and free ranging deer.
Bovine TB is a bacterial disease found in cattle, but can also be found in deer. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that attacks the brain of affected animals. Both diseases have the potential to affect the health of the state’s deer population.
A public meeting will be held at Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m. Mountain Time at the courthouse in Sierra Blanca to discuss this expanded surveillance effort with landowners and other interested parties.
Hunters are being urged to take advantage of the opportunity to provide valuable test samples. All mule deer and elk harvested within the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Hudspeth, Culberson, and El Paso counties, are required to be submitted for testing at mandatory hunter check stations within 24 hours of harvest. See map of CWD zones at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/cwd.
Mandatory check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 16. Stations will be located in Cornudas at May’s Café (on US 62-180) and in Van Horn at Van Horn Convention Center (1801 West Broadway).
Hunters who harvest deer in the Containment Zone outside the general season under the authority of MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permits) will need to call TPWD at (512) 221-8491 the day the deer is harvested to make arrangements to have the deer sampled for CWD and TB.
In addition to protocols within the Containment Zone, TPWD has established check stations for voluntary sampling for deer harvested in other parts of West Texas.
Voluntary check stations will be established at the following locations Saturday through Dec. 14-16, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday:
Source: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department