After extensive public testimony, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission recently approved an amended set of regulations for artificial movement of deer by permit as part of the state’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) management plan.
Adopted provisions are the result of extensive collaboration between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the deer breeding community and landowners to address concerns over the future of permitted unnatural deer movement qualifications following the discovery of CWD in 2015, while providing continued protection against the fatal neurological disease for Texas’ 4 million free-ranging and captive deer.
“This is bigger than the interests of one group and it’s not about choosing winners or losers,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman T. Dan Friedkin. “The fundamental issue is how best to protect our state’s deer herds from a deadly disease. The overwhelming amount of interest this issue has generated illustrates just how passionate Texans are about deer and our deer hunting heritage. The actions taken by the commission today are the result of extensive deliberation with input from all stakeholders, and I applaud the many individuals and groups from all over the state who took the time and effort to remain engaged in the process until the end.”
Among the provisions adopted by the commission include a suite of options to attain artificial deer movement qualified status through a multilevel system of ante-mortem (“live”) and post-mortem deer testing for CWD. Key changes to the rules include:
- Establishing a minimum level of post-mortem testing in deer breeding facilities at 80 percent
- Providing an opportunity for all captive deer breeders to test-up to Transfer Category 1 (TC1) status through 50 percent ante-mortem testing of their entire herd (a proposed May 15, 2017, testing deadline was eliminated from the rules) and breeders may choose their preferred ante-mortem testing means (rectal, lymph nodes, tonsillar etc.).
- Clarification that the 5-year, 80 percent eligible mortality testing requirement to realize TC1 status may be obtained through testing a 5-year average of annual mortalities and deer breeders may use a 3:1 ratio to substitute live tests for post-mortem tests to meet required testing thresholds.
- Property owners may request to expand release sites, provided release site requirements apply to the expanded acreage.
- Elimination of testing requirements on Trap, Transfer and Transplant (Triple T) release sites.
Details of CWD rule changes affecting specific artificial deer movement permits are available online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/cwd/.
The rules take effect upon completion of programming modifications to the Texas Wildlife Information Management System (TWIMS), but no later than Aug. 15, 2016, and apply to the movement of deer under TPWD permits, including Triple T, DMP (deer management permit), TTP (trap, transport and process) and deer breeder.