Mule Deer Disease: CWD Testing in Texas

The mule deer hunting season is getting ready to start in Texas and hunters are asked to submit animals for testing. Hunters taking mule deer inside the West Texas Containment Zone during the 2015-16 mule deer hunting season are required to submit their harvest (unfrozen head) for CWD sampling at a check station within 24 hours of take.

Over 800 tissue samples have been collected for CWD testing purposes from hunter-harvested deer and elk from the Trans Pecos ecoregion the past three hunting seasons, and CWD has not been detected in mule deer located outside of the Hueco Mountain area.


“We recommend hunters in the Containment Zone and High Risk Zone quarter deer in the field and leave all but the quarters, backstraps, and head at the site of harvest if they are unable to bury the inedible carcass parts as deep as possible on the ranch or take them to a landfill,” said Shawn Gray, Mule Deer Program Leader for TPWD.

Mandatory check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 27 – Dec. 13 and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec 14. Stations will be located in Cornudas at May’s Café (on US 62-180) and in Van Horn at the Van Horn Convention Center (1801 West Broadway).

Hunters who harvest deer in the Containment Zone outside the general season under the authority of MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permits) will need to call TPWD at (512) 221-8491 the day the deer is harvested to make arrangements to have the deer sampled for CWD.

Deer and elk harvested in other areas of the Trans Pecos and Panhandle regions may present their deer for CWD testing, to aid in statewide surveillance effort to contain the deer disease. A voluntary check station will be established at the Hip-O Taxidermy in Alpine (east side of town on US 90, across from Dairy Queen) during the first three weekends of the general season, Saturday through Monday (Nov. 28–30, Dec. 5–7, and Dec. 12–14), from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday. Other check station locations are illustrated on a map shown on TPWD’s main CWD web page.

All deer brought to the check stations this season will be aged as part of disease surveillance. Additional biological information such as antler measurements and field dressed weights will also be collected as time allows.

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