Action Alert: Support Proposed CWD Zone Changes in Texas

August 8, 2022 By: Torin Miller

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking comments on recently proposed amendments would establish one new containment zone (CZ) 6, expand existing CZ 3, create a new surveillance zone (SZ) 8, and modify existing SZ 5 to either implement or improve surveillance efforts as part of the agency’s effort to manage chronic wasting disease (CWD). If passed, these zones would enhance efforts to monitor and contain CWD in portions of Bandera, Duval, Jim Wells, Kimble, Live Oak, McMullen, Medina and Uvalde counties ahead of the upcoming hunting season.

TAKE ACTION

Please consider joining the National Deer Association (NDA) in support the amendments to 31 TAC §65.81 and §65.82 concerning Disease Detection and Response. Both containment zones and surveillance zones are invaluable tools for state wildlife agencies to detect and monitor disease spread, and of course, boundaries of these zones must expand and/or shift as disease incidence expands or shifts. CLICK HERE to submit your comments of support.

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The NDA outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area and slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern. CWD is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. As many states have learned, slowing the spread of this always-fatal disease is a daunting task and early detection and rapid response once the disease is found is critical for long-term management. Through our extensive work on this issue across North America, we know that proactive, science-based management by state wildlife and agricultural agencies is imperative to keeping prevalence rates low, deer populations healthy and hunter engagement stable.

We support the TPWD’s proposed amendments to establish one new containment zone (CZ) 6, expand existing CZ 3, create a new surveillance zone (SZ) 8, and modify existing SZ 5 to either implement or improve surveillance efforts as part of the agency’s effort to manage CWD. Both containment zones and surveillance zones are invaluable tools for state wildlife agencies to detect and monitor disease spread, and of course, boundaries of these zones must expand and/or shift as disease incidence expands or shifts. We’ve supported similar TPWD proposals in the past, including proposals regarding disease testing requirements and carcass handling.

Undoubtedly, the deer hunting tradition and industry in Texas has deep and widespread roots. Nationwide, about 80% of hunters pursue deer, and research has shown that CWD prevalence discourages hunter participation, ultimately threatening our deer hunting traditions and the Pittman-Robertson model of conservation funding. Now is the time to use all resources at the disposal of the TPWD to work with hunters, landowners and captive cervid facility operators to curb the troubling and rapidly-expanding spread of CWD in Texas.

About Torin Miller:

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.

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