HARRISBURG, PA - Public comments and professional input provided over the last several months have helped to shape the latest draft of Pennsylvania Game Commission’s new Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan, and the public is invited to view the amended document and submit comments about it.
When adopted, the Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan will guide the agency’s management of CWD, which always is fatal to the deer and elk it infects.
Those interested in reviewing and commenting on the latest draft may do so through May 7.
After final comments are collected, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will schedule a meeting to make final adjustments and implement the plan.
The draft CWD Response Plan outlines goals and objectives in managing CWD, as well as actions that could be implemented to achieve them.
Potential actions include a statewide ban on feeding deer, including the use of minerals or supplements; a statewide ban on the use or field possession of deer attractants, including natural urine and synthetics; increased hunting opportunities within CWD areas and the removal of deer antler-point restrictions within CWD areas.
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 where determined necessary.
CWD first was detected in Pennsylvania in 2012. Since then, 460 free-ranging CWD-positive deer have been detected within the state – 452 of them within Disease Management Area 2 in southcentral Pennsylvania.
At present, Pennsylvania has three active Disease Management Areas (DMAs), totaling more than 8,000 square miles. Within DMAs, specific regulations apply regarding the hunting and feeding of deer. It’s unlawful to intentionally feed deer within a DMA. Hunters in DMAs 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.
While CWD is always fatal to deer and elk, it is not known to infect people. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends never consuming meat from CWD-positive animals.
The Game Commission offers free CWD testing within DMAs. Drop-off locations and other instructions, as well as much more information on CWD, can be found at www.pgc.pa.gov.
Comments on the latest draft of the CWD Response Plan can be submitted through the CWD Response Plan page at www.pgc.pa.gov or mailed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission ATTN: CWD Plan Comments, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.