Deer with CWD discovered, York County management area expands
The discovery of a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease is prompting another expansion of Disease Management Zone 2 in south-central Pennsylvania.
The deer, an adult female, was found in Upper Mifflin Township, Cumberland County. CWA has not been seen to affect one gender more than the other.
DMA 2 is expanding east into more Cumberland, Adams and York counties. The change will be in effect for future hunting seasons, and hunters in the new DMA 2 boundaries will need to comply with additional regulations designed to slow the spread of the disease.
Chronic wasting disease continues to present a persistent problem for wildlife, hunters and farmers. CWD is a contagious disease that can spread among deer and elk. It affects the brain, nervous system and lymphoid tissues and is always fatal for the animal. It is transmitted from animal to animal through saliva, blood, urine and feces.
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In DMAs, it is illegal to:
- Remove or export all high-risk deer or elk parts (e.g. head, spine, and spleen).
- Use or possess deer or elk urine attractants.
- Directly or indirectly feed free-ranging wild deer. It is already illegal to feed elk regardless of the location of the DMA.
- Rehabilitate free-roaming wild deer or elk.
The new boundary line for DMA 2 follows Route 134 north of the Maryland line for approximately 4 miles to the Route 15 intersection, then follows Route 15 north for 36.4 miles, crossing the road 581 where it becomes Route 11. It then follows Route 11 for 2.4 miles to where it meets the west bank of the Susquehanna River at Front Street. The boundary follows the Susquehanna River north approximately 15.1 miles to Highway 22.
Deer Farm Concerns: The continued management of the zones has created concern among owners of commercial deer farms in Pennsylvania, who fear that the continued restrictions and increasing size of these zones will spell the end of their business.
Groups have lobbied that deer farming is the root cause of chronic wasting disease and will continue to spread as long as these establishments exist.
The National Deer Alliance told the Governor’s Game, Fish and Conservation Advisory Council in March that the transport of captive white-tailed deer between farms is one of the root causes of the spread of chronic wasting disease among wild herds.
Since chronic wasting disease restrictions began within the state in 2014, Pennsylvania has seen a drastic decrease in the number of high fence deer farms. They went from 1,200 that year to 700 in 2021, a 42% drop in just seven years.
There is no evidence that CWD infects humans or any other species. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not eating the meat of a CWD-positive deer. It has become imperative for hunters to test the deer they harvest and ensure that they do not risk any disease to themselves or their families.
Test the deer: The Game Commission said it monitors chronic wasting disease by conducting year-round roadkill surveillance and testing samples of white-tailed deer collected by hunters.
Hunters can have deer tested for free by depositing the head in one of the Game Commission’s collection bins; the commission will announce the locations of the bins before the start of the hunting season.
Hunters can check these test results, and the general public can view data on CWD distribution, prevalence, and more, on the Game Commission’s CWD Monitoring Dashboard at https ://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/CWDResultsLookup. It is updated weekly.
For more information about CWD or to ask questions, contact the Game Commission’s CWD Hotline at 1-833-INFOCWD, email [email protected], or visit https://arcg. is/1G4TLr.