HARRISBURG ‚?? Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced the agency will hold a third public meeting, on Nov. 12, to answer questions regarding the 600-square-mile Disease Management Area (DMA) in Adams and York counties and the Executive Order as part of the agency‚??s ongoing efforts to monitor the wild deer population for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Hampton Fire Company, 5371 Carlisle Pike in New Oxford, Adams County. Representatives of the Department of Agriculture will be on hand to answer questions related to the efforts to trace out and trace back other captive deer that may have come into contact with the infected deer.
The first public meeting was held on Oct. 17, and the second meeting was held on Nov. 8. Additionally, on Nov. 7, a meeting with deer processors and taxidermists was held to answer questions from these two industries on the impacts the DMA might have on their operations, and to solicit their willingness to serve as deer check stations during the two-week firearms deer season within the DMA.
The Game Commission mailed letters to nearly 47,000 license buyers who reside in Adams and York counties, as well as portions of northern Maryland, to alert them to the deer hunting changes within the DMA and to provide them a copy of the DMA map. As part of the letter, Roe reminded hunters who harvest a deer within the DMA during the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) that they are required to bring their deer to a mandatory check station so that samples can be collected for CWD testing.
‚??For the convenience of hunters, all cooperating deer processors within the DMA boundaries will be considered check stations, as the Game Commission will be gathering samples from hunter-killed deer at those processors,‚?Ě Roe said. ‚??Given the volume of deer that may be harvested within the DMA, it would be unreasonable to expect all hunters to come to one site, and the traffic congestion that could be created by the convergence of hunters on this one rural road would be more than inconvenient for residents, as well as hunters.
‚??Allowing hunters to drop off their deer at any deer processor within the DMA meets the requirement that high-risk parts stay within the DMA, and is more convenient for the hunters. It also ensures that the Game Commission will have access to the parts from which we need to collect samples, as we already visit deer processors as part of our annual deer aging team visits and CWD sample collection efforts.‚?Ě
Once the list of cooperating deer processors and taxidermists from within the DMA is finalized a news release will be issued and the list will be posted on the Game Commission‚??s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) in the ‚??CWD Info‚?Ě section.
Roe noted that hunters harvesting a deer within the DMA who process their own deer or who would like to take their deer to a processor or taxidermist outside of the DMA can visit the Game Commission operated check station at the agency‚??s maintenance building on State Game Land 249, 1070 Lake Meade Road, East Berlin, Adams County. GPS coordinates for the building are -77.07280 and 39.97018. Game Commission check station hours during the two-week rifle deer season are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday, but will remain open beyond 8 p.m., as needed. Also, the check station will be opened on Sundays, Dec. 2 and 9, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. (It previously was announced that the check station would be closed on Sundays.)
‚??To expedite the process, hunters should bring deer into the check station with the deer head accessible and, if it is in a pickup truck, with the head pointed to the tailgate,‚?Ě said Brad Myers, Game Commission Southcentral Region director. ‚??Also, hunters should not wait until evening to bring deer in, but bring them throughout the day. This is especially important if the weather is warm.
‚??This station will not be checking or processing bears. Bear hunters should take their bears to established check stations, which are outlined on pages 37 and 38 of the 2012-13 Digest. Also, deer harvested outside of the DMA will not be eligible for testing at the check station.‚?Ě
CWD testing of healthy appearing hunter-killed deer outside the DMA is available. Hunters who wish to have their deer tested may do so for a fee by making arrangements with the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostics Laboratory System. For information visit www.padls.org, or call the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory (717-787-8808) in Harrisburg, The Animal Diagnostics Laboratory (814-863-0837) in State College, or the New Bolton Center (610-444-5800) in Kennett Square.
On Oct. 11, the state Department of Agriculture announced that a captive deer died of CWD on a deer farm in Adams County. Prior to its death, this deer had potentially spent time on three sites in Adams and York counties, which are now part of the Game Commission‚??s designated DMA. As soon as the CWD-infected captive deer was found, the Commonwealth‚??s CWD Interagency Task Force was initiated to address the threat of the disease to captive and wild deer and elk populations in the state. On Nov. 7, the state Department of Agriculture announced that a second captive deer tested positive for CWD from the same deer farm in Adams County.
Task force members include representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Health, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey/Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Penn State University/Cooperative Extension Offices. The task force will carry out the response plan, which includes education and outreach with public meetings and minimizing risk factors through continued surveillance, testing and management.
A 40-minute video with Dr. Walter Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian, explaining CWD has been posted on the Game Commission‚??s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), and can be viewed by clicking on the ‚??CWD Info‚?Ě icon button in the center of the homepage and then scrolling down to the imbedded viewer.