November 11, 2015

Sul Ross BRI/NRM Students Partake in Hands-on Deer Workshop and Training

by Thomas S. Janke


Students and staff listen as Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist Austin Stolte explains the process of extracting tissue to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

On Tuesday, Nov 10th 2015, 26 Sul Ross State University (SRSU) / Borderland Research Institute (BRI) students and staff participated in a deer workshop on a private ranch. The workshop and training was prepared and presented by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologist Austin Stolte, and BRI/SRSU staff members Dr. Ryan Luna and Thomas Janke. Stolte helped teach attendees how to properly extract the obex (brain stem) and retropharyngeal lymph nodes from the deer’s skull. These 2 tissues are the current way TPWD tests for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in mule deer and other cervid (i.e., deer) species. Luna conducted a necropsy (equivalent to a human biopsy) on a harvested doe (female deer) to show the students the inner vital anatomy and digestive systems. Janke helped teach students how to estimate the deer’s age based on their lower jaw’s tooth wear and replacement. All of these techniques and lessons are used in professional wildlife careers (esp. TPWD) and will hopefully better the SRSU/BRI students’ passions, skills, and understanding of wildlife and their management practices for their future careers.

For more information about CWD, please visit the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Website.