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Texas Parks and Wildlife Adopts New Chronic Wasting Disease Rules

Ryan E. Poppe
Giant Breeder Deer At Perfect 10 Deer Ranch near Junction, TX

The Texas Parks and Wildlife commission has approved a set of rules for the state’s deer industry.  The agency says it aims to better track incidents of Chronic Wasting Disease among captive deer herds and release more deer breeders from the state’s ban on the sale of deer.

Many deer breeders now have the opportunity to sell their herds at two deer auctions in Texas occurring in August, just over a month before the beginning of hunting season.  Steve Lightfoot with Texas Parks and Wildlife says breeders who were already a part of the state’s certified deer testing program will be able to begin selling their deer immediately.

“This also provides that the vast majority of the 1,300 deer breeders in the State of Texas can gain movement qualified status by testing three or fewer animals,” Lightfoot explained.

Because the test requires the deer to be dead, a breeder would need to randomly kill three deer and have them tested with the state’s Animal Health Commission.  It also means those hunting on land that has genetically bred deer will not have to submit their trophy buck to the state for testing.  But breeders who do not register with the state’s testing program will have to find a buyer willing to submit 100 percent of deer killed on their lease for testing.

Early this summer, a two-year old whitetail buck at Robert Patterson’s Texas Mountain Ranch near Hondo tested positive for CWD.  Further testing showed two more deer at the ranch also had the disease, but so far none of the deer Patterson has sold to other ranches have tested positive for the disease.  Lightfoot says there are options for breeders that bought from Patterson.

“I know there are a lot of different variables to get to those end results, whether it is to get a full release condition or a temporary or partial, you know there are some requirements and goals that need to be met,” Lightfoot said.

Breeders who bought from Patterson can sell their deer if the owner of the hunting lease agrees to test one out of every two deer killed during this hunting.  But it also knocks them out of the running for selling their deer at auction.  Two of the states’ biggest deer auctions occur in August, the first happening this weekend in San Antonio.