As the archery deer hunting season kicked off this past weekend in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D while the statewide archery deer season opens Sept. 30, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has issued a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) reminder to hunters hunting in CWD areas with a new one designated as DMA8 (Disease Management Area). Disease Management Area 8 includes portions of Dauphin, Lebanon, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties after CWD showed up in two road-killed deer in Dauphin. It seems the disease may be spreading.
For sportsmen unfamiliar with CWD, it’s akin to mad cow disease in cattle. It’s a neurological disease with a 100 percent mortality rate that’s caused by a naturally occurring protein called a prion, that becomes misfolded. This protein resists break down in deer, elk moose and reindeer. CWD has been detected in 30 states as well as five Canadian provinces, Finland, Norway, South Korea and Sweden, say biologists.
The disease is a challenge to fight and it spreads easily. CWD is transmitted, says the PGC, through bodily secretions, making animal-to-animal contact and contact with contaminated surfaces. Interestingly, an infected animal will not show any signs of CWD until late in the course of the disease, meaning animals with CWD can carry and pass along the disease for several years before ever showing the first sign.
Tracking CWD is difficult in that testing for the disease requires removal of the animal’s lymph nodes and in the case of deer, and lymph nodes and obex from elk. It’s the tissue from these body parts that’s used in testing for the disease and they include the head, brain, tonsils, eyes, spinal cord, backbone, spleen, skull plate with antlers attached and other high-risk parts.
There’s no evidence that humans can contact CWD, but public health officials studying the disease say that prions cannot be destroyed with radiation or heat below 1,000 degrees. This means hunters cannot destroy the disease through cooking the meat.
While there has been no evidence that humans can contact CWD, biologists studying the disease found that monkeys who consumed contaminated meat can contact CWD. Therefore, it’s not recommended to eat meat from a CWD positive animal.
If hunters suspect their deer is infected, the PGC has established check points or bins where hunters can take the deer or to approved cooperating processors and taxidermists. Locally it’s Frables Deer Processing in Slatington.
As a reminder, it’s illegal to import high-risk parts from any out of state deer or province outside Pennsylvania unless going directly to a PGC cooperator. These and deposit bins can be found on the agency’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov/cwd.
DEER SCENT AVAILABLE
With the start of bow season in 2B, 5C and 5D, you may want to increase your luck on a buck by teasing his scent of smell. By that I mean using deer scent to lure-in a big guy.
Aside from the pre-bottled type commercial scents that hang on store shelves that could be scent from last year, Yurine Luck scent is fresh and freshly bottled by Bob Danenhower’s Bob’sWildlife Taxidermy on 4262 Kernsville Road, Orefield.
Danenhower gets fresh scent in weekly in bulk and bottles it for sale. Call the shop before making the trip there (610-398-7609) to make sure he has some remaining as it goes fast every year at this time. Quite a few of his taxidermy customers used his scent to bring in some nice racked bucks.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.