Contact: Dale Rollins, (915) 653-4576SAN ANGELO– More than one million deer hunters are expected in Texas this fall and winter. Many will head for the Texas Hill Country where deer may not provide their only wildlife encounter.
Fox rabies cases have been cropping up across much of the state’s prime deer hunting area. Tom Green and McCulloch counties have been hardest hit with 69 and 67animal cases confirmed this year, respectively.
Dale Rollins, wildlife specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in San Angelo, said that with a little common sense and caution the hunt shouldn’t be spoiled.
“Odd behavior in wildlife should be your biggest red flag,” he said. “Be aware of animals that don’t show fear of humans. Any nocturnal animal seen during daylight hours should be suspect.
“If confronted, shoot the animal, but don’t touch it unless there has been some human exposure. The Texas Department of Health receives a flood of specimens for testing. To lighten their load, don’t send them more unless there’s been a possible exposure.
“If bitten, treat the situation as if the animal were rabid. These tips offered by the health department could save your life:”
- Identify the animal.
- Immediately cleanse the wound with soap and water. Rinse and disinfect with alcohol, iodine or other disinfectant.
- See a doctor immediately. The physician will decide your best course of action.
- Report the incident to the local health officer and animal control agency.
- If possible, have the biting animal tested for rabies.
“If you are a bird hunter or run hounds, have your dogs vaccinated annually by a licensed veterinarian,” Rollins said.
“There’s other things to watch out for besides rabid animals,” he added. “Don’t be in such a hurry to enter your deer blind the first time. Cautiously check it out first. A lot of animals including snakes, bees, yellow jackets, spiders and even bats view these queer structures as prime nesting boxes.
“With a little horse sense this year’s hunt should be the best yet.”