Devastating Deer Disease is Changing the Way Texans Hunt
A disease that impacts deer causes them to have major neurological problems, and it can rip through a herd pretty quickly.
Wildlife managers in Texas are doing their best to prevent the spread, and that means hunters have to adjust their routines and obey some new rules to help out.
Chronic Wasting Disease causes "a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death," according to a website that's been set up to address CWD. Yuck. The animals that have been impacted by it so far include elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose. The first case of CWD in Texas was found in free ranging deer in 2012, in far West Texas.
Deer hunting season has changed because of the disease, and although it has mostly impacted parts of Central and South Texas, hunters across the state were asked this season to stay on the alert and watch for signs of the disease in harvested deer.
Check stations were set up in several locations across Texas, and hunters had to take harvested deer in to be checked out within 48 hours of snagging them. The mandatory requirements existed mostly in Central and South Texas, and other voluntary check stations were set up around the state too.
This is something hunters didn't have to do in the past, and probably never worried about. You'd get a deer, take a pic to post on social media, and take it to the house to be dressed. Now there is the worry that the deer might not be okay, and you certainly don't want to eat it if that's the case so it's good to get it analyzed.
So far Chronic Wasting Disease hasn't crossed over to humans, but there is some concern that since it's similar to Mad Cow disease, it could eventually transmit to humans. The World Health Organization does seem confident that CWD will not affect humans, so let's hope it stays that way.
Hunters have adapted before to changes in firearms and licenses, and things like hunting areas too, so the check stations might be just one more little adjustment to make. And this disease sounds pretty disgusting, so thanks for doing your part hunters, to make it go away. For more on CWD, including a tracking map, click HERE.