Deadly CWD Found in Free Range Deer in Coleman County


AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Coleman County, marking its initial detection in the area.

A two-year-old whitetail buck harvested by a hunter on a low-fenced property tested positive through voluntary sampling aimed at aiding the state’s CWD surveillance efforts.

TPWD Wildlife Biologists collected the sample as part of the statewide surveillance initiative. Initial analysis was conducted by the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, with confirmation of CWD by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.

CWD, with an incubation period spanning years, is often first identified through surveillance testing rather than observable clinical signs within herds. Early detection and proactive monitoring significantly enhance the state’s response time to CWD detection, mitigating the risk of further disease spread.

TPWD urges hunters to voluntarily test deer harvested between Coleman and Cross Plains. For additional information on voluntary sampling, contact your local TPWD biologist (link to webpage). The Department plans to establish CWD containment and surveillance zones in the area, potentially initiating them by 2024.

This fatal neurological disease affects certain cervids, including deer, elk, moose, and other deer family members. In susceptible species, CWD's slow, progressive nature may not manifest visible signs for several years post-infection. As the disease progresses, affected animals may display altered behavior and appearance, including weight loss, stumbling, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture, drooping ears, excessive thirst, salivation, or increased urination.

CWD was first detected in Texas in 2012 among free-ranging mule deer near the Texas-New Mexico border, specifically along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains. Since then, CWD has been identified in captive and free-ranging cervids in Texas, encompassing white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, and elk.

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