Texas Wildlife Officials Kill Herd Of 75 Deer As Precaution

By Nerissa Knight, CBS 11 News

QUINLAN (CBSDFW.COM) – State wildlife officials killed a herd of 75 deer in the Hunt County Town of Quinlan Monday.

They say the deer posed a threat to wildlife and livestock throughout the state.

But some in Hunt County did not want the deer destroyed.

Diane Johnson doesn’t have an opinion either way about the euthanasia, other than she enjoys seeing deer in her area near her parents’ home. “I like the deer and I think they’re pretty and clean,” she said.

CBS 11’s Nerissa Knight reports:

For years deer have been a part of the rural landscape here in Quinlan.  But Monday afternoon on a private 200-acre ranch, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials euthanized an entire herd of 75 whitetail deer, saying it was their only choice in keeping other Hunt County animals safe.

Texas game wardens say the state’s entire economy could be affected.  According to wardens the captive and privately breed whitetail deer here could be infected with chronic wasting disease, which is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy — also known as “mad cow disease.”

Chronic wasting disease is not known to transfer directly to people.  But there have been a handful of cases in other states where people have died from a similar brain wasting disease after eating venison that could have been infected with CWD.

Game wardens say the only way to test for CWD is by killing the animal and examining its brain tissue.

State officials say the problem is that the deer are undocumented. They don’t know where the deer came from or how long they’ve been here. The ranch owners were convicted of state and federal deer trafficking violations.

Steve Lightfoot, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department explains, “This is an unfortunate
consequence when someone violates the law and brings wildlife into the state undocumented. The threat and the risk of disease to the state’s wildlife resources is pretty strong. So, these are necessary steps we have to take to protect those resources.  Chronic wasting disease is a disease that affect the brains of certain animals deer, mule deer and it’s a fatal disease.”

However, some people who live around here, like Edward Smith, say their whitetail deer are fine.  They feel it’s senseless and inhumane to kill the whole herd.  “I think it’s unnecessary,” Smith said.  “I don’t think there should be reason to kill them if it’s not proof that there’s disease in the herd.”

But with the possibility of a threat that could cost the state beef and hunting industry hundreds of millions of dollars, officials say 75 deer are a small price to pay.

Lightfoot says, “There is no threat to humans. This is not something that can transfer into the human population. However there are other concerns. But we’re also concerned with other animal diseases like tuberculosis.  If TB were to get into the wild deer population and then be transferred into the livestock then the economic impacts could be pretty severe as well.”

Patsy Emanuel says she and her family understand.  “Sure it’s sad, but it’d be even sadder if there were more deaths than 75.”

State parks and wildlife officials say the venison will not be consumed.  They will bury the dead deer in an undisclosed mass grave.

Test results on the deer will be finished in about two weeks.

  • Elmer

    Nerissa: Did you read this sentence?
    Chronic wasting disease is a disease that affect the brains of certain animals deer, mule deer and it’s a fatal disease.”

  • rick

    why not just lill off a few deer and have them tested then go kill off the rest of the heard if they have the diseease. its like assumming i have brain cancer. do i have to go take radation and kemo now????

  • rick

    thay r doing the right thing tho. i think the whole heard has to go because what if they shoot a few and they leave or miss the ones that have the disese? this is what happens when people break the law by deer trafficing. who knows where these deer came from. i heard thes guys have been convicted of stealing heavy equipment in the past and still are in prision for it, thats probally how this place got built.

    • M

      Actually no. That is not how “this place” got built! Thanks for your unbiased opinion though!

  • allison

    There is no reason that these deer should have been killed. im calling hunt wild life officials to ask where were they when this happend. they should have been sedated then taken somewhere til results came back.

  • allison

    i just realized that it says that the wild life officials were involved shame on you. if anyone is out there who knows who to contact higher officials let me know. this is absurd something else could have been done im sure if not i want to hear all the options they came across and why they chose this one.

  • http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2010/12/07/leading-off-12710-2/ Leading Off (12/7/10) | FrontBurner

    […] I really know nothing about livestock and wild animals and so on, but were 75 deer killed just on the possibility that maybe at some point in the future they would get a disease that might […]

  • Kim

    Just goes to show another ABUSE by Govt “officials”, no need to kill the whole herd, if they felt a need, a few samples to test, and yes,I agree with the face that they should have been sedated first. All this was was a way for Hunt Co. to have a FREE day of deer hunting, even REAL deer hunters will agrees that there was no need for this & it was more than unsportsmanlike. What this all boils down to is the ladys son & husband got railroaded & sent to fed prison & they did not have enough evidence against her so this is the way they retaliated.
    I really, really hope that this Lady can somehow sue these idiots, it will not bring her herd back, but she needs to be vindicated!!

  • Kim

    Also how can they CLAIM it was euthanasia, if it was, they would have been sedated first there was nothing humane about this. when they absoluty hunted the deer down & shot then, oops, my mistake, they was no hunt involved, the deer was trapped, they all had free shots, I’m sure the “Big Men” who shot these deer, even chasing one with a broken leg, couldn’t do it had they not been trapped. This was TOTALLY inhumane & by Wildlife Officer that are supposed to protect!
    I hope the SPCA gets involved with this. Also, there need to be independent testing of the heads, if not, bet you they will say the herd was infected to justify what they did. I want to see someone independent findings of the result, not having to do with The Feds, Texas or Hunt Co.
    Lady that had this done to you, there are a LOT of ppl who know you were wronged & someway, someone will help you!

  • catrina

    very sad

  • Ross

    How stupid are you people? There is no Hunt County Wildlife Commiission. Counties do not control wildlife in Texas. Neither do land owners. The state has total control of all wildlife even on private property. The Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens did the shooting. There was no “free hunting day”. The deer have to be killed to have the brains tested.

  • GARY


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