AgriLife Extension, Texas Wildlife Association to collaborate
Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts: Dr. John Tomecek, 325-653-4576, email@example.com
Clint Faas, 979-541-9803, firstname.lastname@example.org
SAN ANGELO – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Wildlife Association will collaborate on three town hall-style meetings in November as part of their effort to keep the public informed about chronic wasting disease, said Dr. John Tomecek.
Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo and the agency’s lead educational contact on the disease, said the meetings come on the heels of several educational webinars he just completed for hunters.
All the meetings will have an onsite individual registration fee of $10 and present similar information.
The first meeting is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Grounds Dairy Center, 723 AT&T Center Parkway, San Antonio. Preregistration is encouraged and can be accessed at: http://www.texas-wildlife.org/resources/events/cwd-townhall-san-antonio-2015
The other meetings are slated for Nov. 12 in Houston, Nov. 17 in Austin and Nov. 23 in Fort Worth. Times, locations and other information will be posted on the Texas Wildlife Association website’s main page http://www.texas-wildlife.org/ under the events section as they become available.
“We hope through these and earlier efforts that most of the public, especially the hunting public, have gained an appreciation of the potential seriousness of this disease,” Tomecek said. “First discovered in Colorado in the 1960s, it affects the nervous systems of white-tailed and mule deer, elk, moose and red deer. And as the name implies, it results in a chronic wasting away and eventual death of the infected animal. There is no known cure.
“The good news is that there is no evidence of transmissibility of the disease to humans or livestock, but its seriousness for deer populations demands a quick response should it be suspected.”
Tomecek said the disease was found for the first time in a white-tailed deer in Texas in Medina County last July, causing great concern among wildlife professionals and enthusiasts.
“There is no indication it has infected deer outside the closed, high-fenced facilities in Medina County and in Lavaca County, where some of the Medina deer were transported prior to the positive diagnosis.”
Tomecek said the town hall meetings, like the earlier webinars, are meant specifically to educate hunters about the disease, its history, symptoms and transmission, as well as to inform the hunting public on how they can participate in monitoring efforts and to remind them of safe carcass handling practices.
“Hunters are critical, as they are our eyes in the field,” Tomecek said. “They can help by submitting tissue samples from harvested deer and by maintaining healthy deer densities as wildlife managers have done for years. Knowing what’s happening afield is the best way to prevent the spread of this disease should it show up in wild white-tailed deer populations.”
Tomecek said with rifle season for deer almost here, he hopes the timing of these meetings will be such that the information provided will be fresh enough on hunters’ minds that they will promptly and properly report any suspect cases.