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State Predicts New Regulations To Curtail Deer Disease

Ryan E. Poppe
1 Year Old Bucks At The Perfect 10 Breeder Ranch Outside Junction, Texas

Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife say that by the end of next week they should know whether Chronic Wasting Disease has spread beyond the herd at the Texas Mountain Ranch in Medina County.  That’s where a buck recently tested positive for the disease which often kills the deer because they stop eating.

“We have put surveillance and monitoring in place to gauge where the disease is.  We’re sampling hunter-harvested animals. We’re dealing with a relatively small herd in an isolated area,” said Steve Lightfoot, with the agency’s Fish and Wildlife Division.

Lightfoot says the situation would be more critical if the diseased deer had come from a larger captive herd. The potential for the disease spreading and reaching the wild population would be greater with more animals being sold.

Lightfoot says the state has started to lift restrictions on selling deer for breeders who participate in a state certified testing program for the contagious disease.

But Lightfoot says ranches should be prepared for new future regulations.

“I think you’re going to see some additional measures definitely once we get the test result back from those initial index herd samplings that we received," Lightfoot explained.

He says that the certified deer testing program requires breeders submit brain tissue samples from 20-percent of the deer that die while in captivity.   

Lightfoot says breeders cleared by the state will be able to sell their giant bucks at two upcoming deer auctions in San Antonio this August.