AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters throughout the state to properly dispose of carcasses from harvested deer to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in deer. This is particularly important for those taken inside the Trans-Pecos, South Central and Panhandle Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment and Surveillance Zones.
“Because many hunters process their own deer, they are key players in preventing environmental contamination or minimizing the spread of diseases such as CWD,” said Alan Cain, TPWD White-tailed Deer Program Leader. “One possible way that disease can spread is by the transportation and improper disposal of infected carcass parts.”
Deer can become infected with CWD if they come into contact with other infected deer or an environment contaminated with CWD prions. While CWD prions are found ubiquitously throughout the body of an infected deer, they are known to accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes.
Additionally, hunters cannot take whole deer carcasses, or carcass parts that contain brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes, out of the CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones or from another state or country known to have CWD.
“We recommend hunters in the CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones quarter deer in the field and leave all inedible parts at the site of harvest, or preferably dispose of in a landfill, or bury at site of harvest if possible,” Cain said. “Proper disposal of carcass parts is good practice anywhere in the state, but especially critical in CWD zones.”
Cain also noted that hunters wishing to take an intact skinned or unskinned deer head to a taxidermist outside a CWD zone or from another CWD positive state or country may do so, but must obtain the Deer Head Waiver at any