Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Free-Range Coleman County Deer
Dec. 8, 2023
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AUSTIN — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) received confirmation of a case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Coleman County, marking the first detection in the county.
A two-year-old whitetail buck harvested by a hunter on a low-fenced property tested positive through sampling conducted voluntarily to assist with the state’s CWD surveillance.
The sample was collected by a TPWD Wildlife Biologist as part of the statewide surveillance effort. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory initially analyzed the samples, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa confirmed the CWD detection.
CWD has an incubation period that can span years, so the first indication of the disease in a herd is often found through surveillance testing rather than observed clinical signs. Early detection and proactive monitoring improve the state’s response time to the detection of CWD and can greatly reduce the risk of further disease spread.
TPWD encourages hunters to voluntary test hunter-harvested deer in the area between Coleman and Cross Plains. For more information about voluntary sampling contact your local TPWD biologist. The Department will establish CWD containment and surveillance zones in the area but they may not be implemented until 2024.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in certain cervids including deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. This slow, progressive disease may not produce visible signs in susceptible species for several years after infection. As the disease process continues, animals with CWD may show changes in behavior and appearance. Clinical signs may include progressive weight loss, stumbling or tremors with a lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and/or drooping ears, and excessive thirst, salivation or urination.
In Texas, the disease was first discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains near the Texas-New Mexico border. CWD has since been detected in Texas captive and free-ranging cervids, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer and elk.
For more information on previous detections in Texas and CWD best management practices for hunters and landowners, visit TPWD’s CWD page.