Isolated cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) recently have been found in parts of Clearfield, Jefferson, and Franklin counties. Hoping to stamp out these new CWD infections, the Game Commission as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services (USDA-WS) will be contacting landowners for permission to conduct targeted removals or small-scale deer reductions within 1 to 2 miles of these isolated cases.
The number of deer to be removed in each area will vary and is based on the local deer population. The goal is to remove and test enough deer to determine if CWD has established itself in the area. On average 100 to 200 deer will need to be removed to reach this objective.
The venison from those deer that does not test positive for CWD will be donated to participating landowners or cooperating food banks
Experiences from other states suggest, without action, CWD will continue to increase and spread to new areas every year. Options to control CWD are currently limited. Studies indicate that localized deer population reductions are currently the best management strategy to reduce or stabilize the spread of CWD.
“In new areas where CWD is first detected, the Game Commission is committed to preventing the establishment of CWD,” said Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management Director Matthew Schnupp. “Landowner cooperation is critical in these endeavors. Aggressive management strategies that reduce deer in other states have successfully demonstrated to eliminate these sparks of new infection.”
CWD in Pennsylvania
CWD has only been found in the wild deer population in nine of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. To date, CWD-positive wild deer have been detected in Bedford (79), Fulton (43), Blair (36), Cambria (3), Clearfield (2), Franklin (2), Huntingdon (1), Jefferson (1), and Somerset (1) counties. A map of CWD-positives by township at www.pgc.pa.gov.
CWD is a fatal disease that affects deer and elk. CWD can be transmitted directly through animal-to-animal contact or indirectly through contaminated environments. Prions or misfolded proteins can be shed onto the environment through bodily fluids and once there can remain infectious for several years. Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for CWD.
For more information on CWD, please refer to the Game Commission website at www.pgc.pa.gov.