Chronic Wasting Disease to Impact Hunting Season
11/20/2012
Good luck to all hunters during the two-week rifle deer season, which opened Monday. Just a reminder about wearing 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on your head, chest and back combined at all times while afield during the seasons.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is preparing for its annual statewide sample collection of hunter-killed deer to determine if chronic wasting disease (CWD) is present in the wild deer populations. This effort takes on a new level of focus in Adams and York counties, where two captive-raised deer were determined to have been infected with CWD, resulting in the establishment of a 600-square-mile Disease Management Area (DMA).

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk, and moose. It attacks the brains of infected members of the deer family and produces small lesions that eventually result in death. While it's not known exactly how CWD is spread, it is believed that the agent responsible for the disease may be spread both directly (animal to animal contact), and indirectly (soil or other surface to animal), most likely through the saliva and feces of infected animals or decomposing carcasses. There is no evidence that the agent of CWD affects humans.

Deer aging teams statewide will begin collecting deer heads on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The heads will be taken to the six Game Commission Regional Offices, where samples will be collected for testing.

The goal is 3,000 samples from hunter-killed deer throughout the state. Within the DMA, the commission will collect samples throughout the two-week rifle deer season from all hunter-killed deer, as well as any road-killed deer and deer culled from the Gettysburg National Battlefield. It is important to remember that no wild deer have been found to be infected with CWD.

Anyone who willfully takes deer outside the DMA without having it checked or without leaving high-risk deer parts within the DMA will be cited for violating the Executive Order that was issued on Oct. 17. In addition to facing a fine, the agency will confiscate the deer from the hunter as contraband and no replacement tag will be provided in such a situation.

You can find out more about CWD on the commission website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.

State Representative Joe Emrick
137th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
slittle@pahousegop.com
717.260.6137
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