Frequently Asked Questions for Landowners
What are the chances of finding CWD on my ranch?
CWD is not known to be widespread in Texas. Annually, TPWD collects 12,000 to 15,000 samples from deer in the free-ranging population. This sampling effort provides us with confidence that CWD has not expanded outside areas where it is known to exist or has been recently introduced to new areas where the prevalence is too low in those free-ranging populations to have been detected yet. The likelihood of CWD being present in the deer population on your ranch is very low. However, risk for CWD being present on or near your property may increase where exposed deer from CWD-positive breeding facilities have been released on high-fenced breeder release sites, or if your property is adjacent to a CWD positive breeding facility. Landowners can increase their confidence CWD is not present on their property by testing hunter-harvested deer each hunting season.
Expanded and enhanced CWD surveillance efforts by TPWD during hunting season should not be cause for undue alarm. The increased sampling effort is an attempt to detect the disease in areas where it may have been recently introduced, which may provide greater management options for the landowner. For more information on where CWD has been found, see the CWD in Texas webpage.
What are the benefits of CWD testing deer harvested from my ranch?
CWD testing hunter-harvested deer from your ranch provides confidence to you and your hunters that CWD is not present in the deer population on your property. Long-term monitoring on your ranch also serves to provide a testing history which could be important if CWD is found in isolated populations in the general area near your ranch — such as a deer-breeding facility — and help to provide confidence that CWD is indeed isolated to that population. The number of CWD samples collected in the area could be critical information when TPWD is contemplating CWD zones or other regulation changes to manage the disease. Annual monitoring may also allow for early detection of the disease, providing an opportunity to eliminate the establishment of CWD in the deer population.