Three cases of chronic wasting disease have been discovered in New Mexico mule deer near the Texas border.
Texas officials are monitoring the situation closely and examining their testing procedures, according to a report in Lone Star Outdoor News. No whitetail deer in Texas have been found to have CWD during the 10 years that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been conducting tests for the fatal disease.
The mule deer with CWD were discovered in the Hueco Mountains of New Mexico. The rugged, sparsely populated range extends into Texas northeast of El Paso. The LSON report noted that deer from area are tested annually but it’s tough to get many reports due to fewer hunters and the rugged terrain.
According to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, a mule deer with CWD was discovered at White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico in 2002, the first reported finding in the state. That also was the first year CWD was detected in Oklahoma, in a captive deer facility. A second mule deer was reported with CWD in 2006 on White Sands Missile Base about 75 miles north of the previous infected location.
The three latest findings in the free-range mule deer have Texas wildlife officials on alert, as would be expected.
“While this finding is not a big surprise, we’re not going to ignore it,” said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said in the LSON report. “We are working with TPWD’s Wildlife Health Working Group to develop a more intensive strategy for sampling, and to determine the geographical extent of the disease if it is detected in Texas.”
To read the full Lone Star Outdoor News report, click here.