Indeed, attempts to eradicate CWD in other states, such as Wisconsin, have proven generally ineffective and have had disastrous effects on local economies dependent on hunting related goods and services. Adams said that any response to the detection of CWD must be constructed in such a way that neither the $2 billion hunting industry nor the almost $1 billion Texas deer breeding industry suffer from an ill-designed plan.

“We must also look at the greatest threat. The two mule deer confirmed with CWD in the spring were taken from the remote mountains of Hudspeth County near the New Mexico border. We have known for several years CWD existed in mule deer and elk in New Mexico—just across the border. A case of CWD in white-tail deer in Texas has never been found, and this is important,” Adams notes.

While mule deer are hunted in Texas, they are only found in a few geographic areas. White-tail deer, on the other hand, are the most hunted and abundant animals in Texas. Adams says extensive effort should be made to control CWD from moving into white-tail populations. He says that could create a crisis for the Texas hunting industry, another major component in the state’s economy.

In addition, in April 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published its long-awaited report summarizing that cervid (deer and elk) breeders across the nation have tested approximately 170,120 breeder cervids since 1998 and only 114 white-tailed deer tested positive for CWD - none of which were in Texas. The other 289 positive test results were reportedly from elk samples submitted by elk breeders.

On the other hand, out of approximately 848,706 free-ranging (non-breeder) cervids tested across the nation since 1998, approximately 3,600 free-ranging cervids were found to be CWD positive.

USDA also noted that the total number of CWD positive wild cervids reported to APHIS is not absolute since not all of the CWD positive findings in the wild herds were reported once the population was recognized to have affected animals. The USDA data represents only those animals tested, not the total population, and CWD surveillance programs for both wild and breeder cervids differ according to state regulations.