With an increasing number of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) cases occurring within certain areas of Pennsylvania’s deer herd, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) is soliciting input from sportsmen on a response plan before more areas are affected.
To date the CWD has designated three CWD areas: Disease Management Area 3 (DMA3), encompasses WMU 2E and includes parts Jefferson and Indiana counties; DMA2, the largest of the affected areas, covers WMUs 4B, 4A, 5A and parts of 2G and 4D; DMA4 covers Lebanon, parts of Lancaster and Berks counties.
These areas cover 8,000 square miles and as such makes it unlawful to intentionally feed deer within a DMA. Also, hunters in DMA’s may not use or possess urine-based deer attractants. And deer harvested within a DMA may not be transported out of the DMA unless the carcass parts with the highest risk of transmitting the disease are removed first.
According to the PGC, CWD is always fatal to deer and elk, it’s not known to infect people. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends never consuming meat from CWD positive animals.
The PGC’s potential actions within these CWD areas are as follows:
*Actions within CWD areas could include expanded deer seasons; the removal of antler-point restrictions and increased allocations of antlerless deer permits. In areas where a new, isolated CWD-positive deer is detected, allowing hunters to take additional antlered deer is also being considered.
*If disease management objectives are not reached through hunting, the post-season, small scale targeted removal of deer could be conducted in parts of CWD areas could be necessary.
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said in a press release, “Hunters are essential to CWD management. Without the effort they put into hunting and harvesting deer, and submitting samples from deer they harvest in CWD areas, our collective fight to slow CWD’s spread and limit the disease where it exists in Pennsylvania would be an uphill battle.”
He goes on to say, “The PGC’s draft CWD Response Plan, puts hunters first in CWD management and their support will be fundamental to the final plan’s success.”
CWD first was detected in Pennsylvania in 2012. Through 2018, 250 free-ranging CWD-positive deer have been detected within the state – 246 of them within DMA2 in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Public comment on the plan will be accepted through Feb. 29, 2020 and will be considered for adoption as a final plan for implementation for the 2020-21 hunting seasons.
FALL TROUT STOCKING
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s fleet of stocking trucks will be on the roll again for the fall trout stocking in selected streams, and in a lot of cases, only portions of a stream.
In Lehigh County, only the Little Lehigh will be stocked 10-15; In Berks, Tulpehocken Creek, 10-16; Bucks, Levittown Lake, 10-23; Monroe, Brodhead Creek, 10-1, Bushkill Creek, 10-2.
For anglers holding a New Jersey fishing license, they will begin their fall trout stockings Oct. 8-16 with the closest to the Lehigh Valley being the Pequest and Musconetcong rivers.
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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.