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Home | Tag Archives: chronic wasting disease (CWD)

Tag Archives: chronic wasting disease (CWD)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approve hunting, fishing regulation changes for 2020-21

AUSTIN — Hunting  and fishing regulations for the 2020-2021 season were approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its public meeting held online May 21.

Hunters will see some hunting regulation changes this fall, including the implementation of automated processing of pronghorn and antlerless mule deer applications and permits, a decrease in the daily bag limit for scaup and a decrease in the daily bag limit for light goose during regular season.

The following modifications and clarifications to the 2020-21 Statewide Hunting Proclamation have been approved by the TPW Commission:

  • Implement rules to administer an automated process for the application and issuance of pronghorn and antlerless mule deer permits
  • Establishment of seasons and bag limits for the take of migratory game birds for 2020-21
  • Decrease the daily bag limit for scaup from three to one in all zones
  • Decrease the daily bag limit for light goose daily bag limit from twenty to ten during the regular season in both zones
  • Shift goose seasons (and light goose conservation season) in the Western Zone one week later than in previous years
  • Shift snipe hunting season dates two weeks later than in previous years

Additionally, the TPW Commission has adopted rules establishing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management zones to further detection and response efforts among white-tailed deer.

The rules implement a Containment Zone (CZ) and a Surveillance Zone (SZ) in Val Verde County, a new SZ in Kimble County in response to the discovery of CWD, and slightly expands the current CZ in Medina, Bandera, and Uvalde counties after additional cases of the disease were detected.

The TPW Commission adopted amendments that clarify existing fees and permitting procedures surrounding the hunting, farming, sale, import and export of alligators.

Hunters hitting the field in the upcoming season should make note of these changes and follow all regulations set for species, tagging, bag limits, counties, season dates and means and methods.

Hunters can check the online version of the Outdoor Annual for complete and updated regulations. Information currently in the online version of the Outdoor Annual reflects last season’s information. The 2020-21 season information will not be online until mid-August per usual practice.

More information regarding these amendments and hunting season dates for the 2020-21 seasons can be viewed on the TPWD website.

Additionally, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted multiple changes to the freshwater fishing regulations for the upcoming 2020-2021 season as well

Modifications include length limits and harvest regulations at some waterbodies for largemouth bass; blue, channel, and flathead catfish; and black and white crappie. The expiration date of August 31, 2020 was removed for the five-fish daily bag limit for alligator gar at Falcon International Reservoir.

The changes that were implemented for the 2020-21 license year are listed below. In addition, the details of these new regulations will be incorporated into the 2020-21 edition of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual:

  • Moss Lake (Cooke County) – Modify the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit.
  • Brushy Creek Lake and Brushy Creek (Williamson County) – Modify harvest regulations for Brushy Creek Lake by changing from an 18-inch minimum length to the statewide 14-inch limit for largemouth bass. On the section of Brushy Creek downstream from the lake to the Williamson/Milam County line, reduce blue and channel catfish daily bag limit from 25 to 5 fish and remove the 12-inch minimum length limit. Gear restrictions also adopted limit anglers to pole-and-line angling only and two poles.
  • Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County) – Modify harvest regulations for black and white crappie by removing the current 10-inch minimum length limit. The daily bag limit for crappie will remain at 25 fish.
  • Lake Texoma and the Texas waters of the Red River below Denison Dam (Cooke and Grayson Counties) – Standardize harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish in the Texas and Oklahoma waters of Lake Texoma and on the Red River below Lake Texoma. In Lake Texoma, remove the 12-inch minimum length limit for blue and channel catfish, and for flathead catfish, remove the 18-inch minimum length limit. In the Texas waters of the Red River below Lake Texoma (from Denison Dam downstream to Shawnee Creek), in addition to the removal of the minimum length limits for catfish, reduce the daily bag limit for blue and channel catfish from 25 to 15 fish.
  • Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata Counties) — The five-fish daily bag limit for alligator gar will remain in effect.

The changes to the 2020-21 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing regulations take effect on Sept. 1, 2020. All fishing regulations can be found in the Outdoor Annual on the TPWD website.

The following changes to the 2020-21 Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation, details of which will be incorporated into this year’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual and the Texas Commercial Fishing regulations summary, have been adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and go into effect on Sept. 1, 2020:

  • Increasing the minimum size limit for flounder to 15″.
  • Clarifying language for commercial harvest reporting requirements.
  • Changing the course requirements to include a paddle craft leading course from the American Canoe Association or another TPWD approved course.

During their discussion, the Commission decided to postpone the proposed fall closure of the flounder fishery to 2021. The proposal to close all flounder fishing from Nov. 1 – Dec. 15 will take effect Sept. 1, 2021.

The online version of the TPWD Outdoor Annual will not reflect any new changes until mid-August. More information regarding these amendments for the 2020-21 season can be viewed on the TPWD website.

See a more complete listing of fishing regulation changes on the TPWD website.

Texas Parks and Wildlife conducting Aerial Mule Deer Surveys in El Paso

AUSTIN – Over the next week or so, El Paso residents may see a low flying helicopter in and around the Franklin Mountains as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) conducts aerial mule deer surveys in the area.

This year’s survey runs from February 19 through 25.  Each year, TPWD flies surveys throughout the Trans-Pecos to estimate the region’s mule deer population.

Normally the surveys do not include the Franklin Mountains, but that is changing due to two deer in El Paso testing positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in recent years.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects certain deer species, and it has been documented in northern Hudspeth and El Paso counties.

The surveys in the Franklin Mountains are intended to monitor local deer numbers and assess any impacts from CWD.

The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in the Hueco Mountains of far West Texas. The disease has since been detected in free-ranging mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk in Dallam and Hartley counties, located in the northwest Panhandle.

The first case of CWD in Texas white-tailed deer was found in a Medina County deer-breeding facility in 2015 as a result of routine disease monitoring.

Increased testing requirements resulted in the detection of CWD in 4 additional deer breeding facilities and two release sites adjacent to the CWD-positive deer breeding facilities. CWD was also detected in a free-ranging white-tailed deer in Medina County in 2017 — for details and chronology of CWD detections in Texas, see CWD Positives in Texas webpage.

With the discovery of CWD in a captive deer breeding facility in south-central Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW) Commission adopted comprehensive CWD Management Rules on June 20, 2016.

Developed through a collaborative process that involved substantial stakeholder input, these rules address CWD management associated with permitting programs that authorize intensive deer management activities — for more information, read the Comprehensive CWD Management Rules PDF.

More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website.

TPWD: Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Region; Officials Urge Hunters, Landowners to be Vigilant

AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has confirmed chronic wasting disease (CWD) in three mule deer in El Paso, Hudspeth, and Hartley Counties; and three white-tailed deer in Medina, Dallam, and Hartley Counties.

Officials with TPWD emphasize that the discoveries underscore the importance for aggressive detection, sampling and herd management to control the spread of CWD.

The affected white-tailed deer in Medina County was harvested by a hunter on a private ranch in the current South-Central CWD Containment Zone, in the vicinity of captive deer breeding facilities where CWD had earlier been confirmed.

Two CWD-infected whitetails and one mule deer were also hunter harvested in the Panhandle CWD Containment Zone, and two CWD-infected mule deer were harvested in the Trans-Pecos CWD Containment Zone.

Each of the new confirmations occurred in a county where CWD had previously been detected.

Thus far, with two exceptions, cases of CWD in the South-Central Containment Zone have been limited to deer breeding facilities and attached release sites where the owner breeds white-tailed deer pursuant to permits issued by TPWD.

The permitted facilities in Medina County where CWD was confirmed are each operating under herd plans that require ante-mortem testing to detect and remove positive and exposed animals to attempt to reduce the chance of the disease escaping those facilities.

In the Trans-Pecos, the affected animals were taken close to the border with New Mexico, a state where CWD had previously been discovered. In the Panhandle, CWD has been confirmed in several mule deer and white-tailed deer; as well as some elk, which are not considered game animals in Texas.

The latest CWD confirmations follow a two-day CWD Symposium that was organized and hosted by TPWD, the Texas Animal Health Commission, and the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in early December.

Approximately 200 landowners, deer enthusiasts, scientists, and representatives from state fish and wildlife agencies from around the country came together to share data and to discuss best practices to address the spread of CWD. As a recurring theme, presenters stressed the need for states and landowners to take early action to investigate CWD, limit deer movement and to test early.

“Case studies in other states which are dealing with CWD reaffirm that doing nothing is plainly not an option,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, TPWD wildlife veterinarian.

“The outlook in those states where little or no action was taken does not look good. In contrast, Texas has committed to a more proactive approach that moves quickly to control the disease where discovered by limiting the movement of deer exposed to infected deer, and by reducing or eliminating deer where the disease is proven to exist. Texas also establishes containment and surveillance zones where post mortem testing is mandated. We believe that working with landowners and hunters to implement all reasonable measures to address this disease head on is the most important factor to our success thus far. Those in CWD areas can assist by providing samples to the department and harvesting deer to keep densities down.”

Hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, or sika deer within the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle, and South-Central Texas CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones are REQUIRED to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 48 hours of harvest.

The department also urges hunters who take a deer outside of a CWD containment or surveillance zone to still help out by providing voluntary samples. Hunters and landowners interested in providing voluntary samples can contact their local TPWD biologist or simply bring the animal to any of the department’s check stations located around the state.

Those stations can be found online or in TPWD’s Outdoor Annual.

Hunters are also encouraged to report any “sick looking” mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, or sika deer while hunting in any CWD zone to TPWD. To report a “sick looking” animal, simply contact a TPWD wildlife biologist or Texas game warden. Additional information about CWD, including carcass movement restrictions, and check station locations, can be found online.

“We are very appreciative of the effort and cooperation that has been put forth by the vast majority of landowners, hunters and local officials across the state,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “Our ability to control the spread of this fatal disease is directly related to the cooperation offered by many, especially landowners and hunters, and we pledge to continue to work with everyone to minimize the impacts of this disease.”

“The Texas Animal Health Commission is committed to working cooperatively with TPWD, USDA, industry and the private sector to limit the spread of this serious disease,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director. “TAHC urges landowners and hunters to support required surveillance efforts in the Surveillance and Containment Zones by testing all hunter harvested exotic CWD susceptible species. Land owners in all other areas of the state must test up to three harvested exotic CWD susceptible species per premises each year.”

In 2018, 49 cases of CWD were confirmed in permitted breeder facilities, and 8 cases were confirmed in animals taken outside a breeder facility or related release site.

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