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State Court Sides With Wildlife Officials Concerning Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer

Top 10 Whitetail Ranch in Junction in 2015.
Ryan E. Poppe
Texas Public Radio

A state district judge sides with Texas wildlife officials in their efforts to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease within the State’s deer population.  

In 2015, Deer breeders Ken Bailey and Brad Peterson sued the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, seeking to change a century old statute in the state’s constitution that says all deer in Texas are considered public property.

Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak ruled this month that it’s the authority of the Texas agency to combat deadly contagious diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease found within the State’s deer population, including those bred in captivity.

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials were represented by the Texas Attorney General’s office in court.

Marc Rylander with the AG’s office says the disease could potentially wipe out Texas wild deer population if left unattended.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s lawful rules regulating the movement of “breeder deer” reduce the probability of CWD being spread from deer breeding facilities and increases the chances of detecting and containing CWD if it does exist," Rylander says.

The court challenge originally centered on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s rules that restricted the sale and movement of deer bred in captivity because that’s where a majority of the deer that have tested positive for the disease have come from.

Parks and Wildlife officials say that the rules pertaining to Chronic Wasting Disease remain the same as they were during the 2016 hunting season.  Hunters must submit their deer for testing if it was killed in the Panhandle, Trans-Pecos, or South Texas regions of the state.

Deer hunting season for bow hunters begins this Saturday.  

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.