Few changes to mule deer hunts due to CWD finding

zonesNow that CWD has been found in far West Texas, what does it mean for mule deer hunters?

Mandatory check stations will be set up in the Containment Zone, likely in Cornulas and Van Horn, although the rules will be finalized after the August meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

In the adjacent High Risk Zone indicated on the map above, other check stations are planned, although taking the deer for testing would be voluntary.

Otherwise, no changes are expected in mule deer hunting — with one exception. The processing of the deer will have to be done on the ranch.

Dr. Dan McBride, a veterinarian who was on the CWD Advisory Board that provides advise to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, provided the reason for the regulations.

“CWD can spread from the carcass,” he said. “We didn’t want a mule deer carcass traveling from West Texas to the Hill Country and being dumped in the pasture after the deer was processed. We know that deer killed in the area have been taken back to other areas in previous years.”

At the check stations, hunters will be required to bring the animal’s head to the designated locations, said Sean Gray, TPWD’s mule deer program leader.

McBride said the approach taken was sane and sensible.

“The advisory board made sure the response wouldn’t be to go crazy and try to kill all the deer,” he said.

Counties affected by the proposed rules include El Paso, and portions of Hudspeth, Culberson and Reeves.

Proposed Texas Animal Health Commission rules apply to the non-indigenous species of cervid species of Texas under its jurisdiction including moose, red deer, elk and Sika. TPWD’s proposals will regulate white-tailed deer and mule deer.