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Deer Hunters Reminded of South Texas Fever Tick Quarantine

From Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

-- State officials are reminding hunters and meat processors in South Texas that additional precautions are required when handling deer carcasses due to concerns about spread of fever ticks in the region.

Portions of Zapata, Starr, Jim Hogg, Maverick, Dimmit and Webb counties are under preventive quarantine for livestock by the Texas Animal Health Commission due to heightened levels of fever ticks outside the permanent quarantine zone along the Rio Grande border.

The total affected quarantine area covers more than 1 million acres. Contact the land owner or manager to determine the current fever tick status, if you are hunting in these counties.

Cattle, horses, white-tailed deer, nilgai and elk can act as a host for the tick, perpetuating its population.

If not contained, according to TAHC officials, the fever ticks will continue to spread northward outside the permanent fever tick quarantine area and could become re-established in other areas of Texas and throughout much of the south, southeast and parts of California.

?We're telling hunters to use common sense and take precautions when handling and transporting deer taken on ranches within the quarantine zone,? said Mike Berger, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department director of wildlife

According to the TAHC, fever ticks can affect the condition and general well-being, but are unlikely to cause death in deer. It is safe to eat venison from fever tick-infested deer.

Deer harvested on infested, exposed, adjacent and check premises must be inspected, treated and permitted prior to being removed from the premises.

If you harvest a deer on other properties within the temporary quarantine areas, you have three options:
-- Remove the hide completely and leave it on the ranch. If the skull is needed for proof of sex, seal it in a bag, then dispose of the skull away from livestock or wildlife after the carcass is processed.
-- Freeze the hide for 24 hours.
-- Have the hide/cape inspected and treated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Fever Tick Force before removing it from the ranch.

A permit for movement issued by a representative of the Commission must accompany the shipment of the hide and cape.
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