HARRISBURG – With the first full week of rifled deer season in the books, state Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), majority chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, is urging hunters to help the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) keep tabs on the potential spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“CWD remains a threat to Pennsylvania’s deer population and the sport of deer hunting itself,” said Gillespie. “The PGC is again teaming up with taxidermists, deer processors and other state agencies to provide hunters with disposal and processing opportunities, but very few of them are taking advantage of this service.”
CWD, for which there is no known cure, has been diagnosed in cervids, such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, and elk. Visual symptoms, which occur only in late stage, include salivation and drooling, droopy ears, listlessness and a lack of fear of humans and predators.
The PGC has established the following DMAs, from which hunters are not permitted to remove the high-risk parts of a deer unless they are taken to an approved location:
• DMA 2 - More than 2,845 square miles in parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.
• DMA 3 - Approximately 350 square miles in parts of Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties.
• DMA 4 - Nearly 350 square miles in northeastern Lancaster County, southeastern Lebanon County and western Berks County.
Complete information on CWD, including well-defined maps of the individual DMAs, is available online at www.pgc.gov. While there, hunters may also view a list of high-risk deer carcass parts, of which proper disposal is highly recommended.
“Free testing of any deer taken within a DMA is available, and CWD collection containers allow for proper disposal of those parts,” Gillespie added. “Unfortunately, PGC officials tell me very few hunters are using these containers, which makes it difficult for them to monitor the spread of CWD.
“While there are no confirmed cases of CWD affecting humans, the Centers for Disease Control advises we do not consume meat from animals that test positive for the disease. Right now, CWD poses a distinct threat to an industry – hunting – that has an economic impact of $1.6 billion in the state.”
Questions about CWD or any legislative issue should be directed to Gillespie’s office at (717) 840-4711.
Representative Keith Gillespie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little