By Misty Sumner, TP&W Biologist

If you’re hunting in the Trans Pecos or parts of the Panhandle of Texas this year be aware there are new regulations regarding how you transport your deer across Texas as well as an expanded mandatory testing area for chronic wasting disease (CWD).   CWD samples must be taken before any part of the deer leaves the area and the only way you can bring the carcass into the rest of the state:

 Cut quarters with all brain and spinal cord tissue removed

 Boned meat

 Cut and wrapped meat

 Caped hides with skull not attached

 Skull plate with antlers attached and cleaned of all soft tissue

 Finished taxidermy products

An intact head may be taken to a taxidermist after the deer is sampled within the zone and a Deer Head Waiver , which can be picked up at any check station, is filled out and accompanies the head to the taxidermist.


Photo by Misty Sumner

Deer taken in either of the two coloured areas (the Containment AND Surveillance Zones) must be taken into one of  three check stations located at Van Horn, Cornudas, or at the TXDOT Rest area located on the east end of 62-180 approximately 7 miles west of the state line.

Check Stations are open  9 AM to 9 PM  all 17 days of the mule deer season (Nov. 15 – Dec. 11) and 9 am TO 5 PM the following Monday.  Submit unfrozen head within 24 hours of harvest.   

Check station phone numbers

Van Horn  Convention Center 1801 West Broadway (512-221-8491)

Cornudas  May’s Café on US 62-180 mm 82.5 (512-803-5822

East US 62-180 TXDOT Rest Area 7 miles west of Texas/New Mexico State line (512-803-6498)

Note – Mule deer from within the mandatory testing area throughout the extended managed lands deer program season will be need to be brought into Van Horn to be tested.

A wildlife informational meeting was held at the Van Horn El Capitan Hotel, October 12th.  Educational wildlife presentations were given which covered everything from the basics of scoring mule deer by Trans Pecos Big Buck Tournament Coordinator and Culberson County Extension Agent  Lainie Koch to viral diseases and parasites of deer by Dr. Ken Waldrup, Texas Department of State Health Services and Zoonosis Control.  The last presentations were an in depth presentation of the new regulations by Texas Parks & Wildlife Mule Deer and Pronghorn Program Leader Shawn Gray and an explanation of Texas Animal Health Commission Regulation changes by Dr. Pete Fincher.

Bill Sibley, previously in the voluntary and now in the mandatory sampling area, has been taking CWD samples off his ranch since 2002.  Here he explains to Shawn Gray how difficult it can be to get to any of the check stations in a timely fashion.

Realizing the difficulty in the timely arrival at any of the three check stations from some areas, landowners and managers were given the opportunity to be trained and certified to take the samples.  Here Texas Parks & Wildlife State Veterinarian, Bob Dittmar (4th from the left) discussing the differences between “fresh” and “fixed” samples.   


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