Last week nearly 47,000 Pennsylvania hunting license holders in Adams and York counties and Northern Maryland got a letter from the state Game Commission detailing new rules for hunting deer within the 600-square-mile Disease Management Area (DMA) established an attempt to contain the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Not contagious to humans, the deer disease was discovered last month in a captive-born penned deer in Adams County. There is no evidence it has spread to the wild, no venison consumption advisory and hunters are not asked to take additional precautions (although it remains unwise to shoot any animal that appears to be sick or disheveled).
The DMA is part of a response plan initiated by state and federal agencies and Penn State University. Rules following the harvest of deer in the DMA include:
• During the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) deer harvested within the zone must be taken to a check station. There is no requirement to check deer taken in the zone during archery season, but voluntary checking is encouraged.
• Cooperating deer processors within the DMA will serve as check stations. A list of stations is to be published on the PGC website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).
• Hunters in the DMA may not use or be possession of a deer urine-based attractant.
• All high-risk animal parts from deer harvested in the DMA must stay within the zone.
• Feeding deer is forbidden within the zone.
A public meeting on the DMA is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the York County Fairgrounds, Horticultural Hall, 334 Carlisle Ave., York. Game Commission wildlife veterinarian Dr. Walter Cottrell explains CWD in a 40-minute video posted on the agency's website.