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Chronic Wasting Disease detected near Tarpley

By Feather Wilson BCC Contributor

This map shows the recently imposed Surveillance Zone for CWD in portions of Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties.

Administrators with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have outlined a proposed voluntary Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) reporting Surveillance Zone for portions of Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties.
The proposed 400 square mile area is bounded by FM 462 from Tarpley to Hondo, west on Highway 90 to Sabinal and north to Utopia along Highway 83 and back to Tarpley on FM 470.
CWD infecting deer has spread from the Four Corners area to New Mexico and isolated portions of Texas. The proposed Tarpley area Surveillance Zone (SZ) will add a surveillance area to the two Texas mandatory compliance-surveillance areas that already exist in the Trans Pecos area and the Panhandle.
This proposed zone will remain until the carcass tissue count reaches 1,749 tests and presenters encouraged early compliance from landowners and hunters. If the CWD samples are statistically negative, then the SZ will be removed. Among other issues, the proposed regulations concern the disposal of carcass “soft tissue,” which is key to containing the disease.
Proposed CWD rules have been published by the TPWD at the tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/publiccomment.
TPWD representatives introduced the proposed rules at a special meeting in Hondo on August 17 and will repeat the same information in Tarpley at 7 pm, Thursday, Sept. 15, in the old school house.
Chronic Wasting Disease is held in the soil for many years and is very difficult to eradicate. It affects cervids, including white-tail dear. This fatal neurological disease is spread via animal to animal or through contact with contaminated soil and vegetation.
Additionally, there is some controversy that CWD might be transmissible to humans if infected deer meat is consumed. Most of the investigators deny that it is transmissible, but at the same time warn against eating the meat of a contaminated animal.
CWD was first noted locally on a deer-breeding ranch on the boundary between Bandera and Medina Counties about six miles south of Tarpley. It has subsequently been found at two other ranches in northwest Medina County.
Ranchers and hunters have recently noted a perceived decrease in the deer population in this area. This dwindling deer count could be related to several factors such as high game fences, hunting, CWD or better than average range conditions resulting a more disperse pattern.