CWD rules now apply in Southeast Pa.

HARRISBURG — People who live and hunt deer within parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties now need to comply with special rules intended to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Wednesday established Disease Management Area 4 in response to a CWD-positive deer recently detected at a captive deer farm in Lancaster County.

DMA 4 encompasses 346 square miles in northeastern Lancaster County, southeastern Lebanon County and western Berks County. The northern part of DMA 4 runs roughly between the cities of Lebanon and Reading. The DMA includes the boroughs of Adamstown, Denver, Ephrata, Mohnton, Richland, Womelsdorf and Wyomissing. State Game Lands 46, 220, 225, 274 and 425 are included in DMA 4.

Within DMAs, special rules apply. The intentional feeding of deer is prohibited. Hunters may not use urine-based deer attractants or possess them while afield. And hunters who harvest deer within a DMA may not transport the carcass outside the DMA without first removing and properly disposing of all high-risk deer parts, including the head and backbone.

While the rules might pose an inconvenience, they are meant to slow the spread of CWD, which so far has been detected in only a few parts of the state.

“CWD is an increasing problem in Pennsylvania, and as the disease emerges in new areas, more Pennsylvanians are impacted,” Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said. “To this point, however, CWD has been detected in captive or free-ranging deer only in a few, isolated areas of the state. That’s good news for all Pennsylvanians who enjoy deer and deer hunting. And we continue to focus our resources on ways to minimize CWD’s impacts statewide.”

CWD is always fatal to deer, elk and other cervids. There is no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans or traditional livestock, according to the game commission, but the Centers for Disease Control reports that animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to some types of non-human primates.

Within DMA 4, the agency will begin testing all known road-killed deer for CWD. Come hunting season, bins for the collection of deer heads and other high-risk deer parts will be placed in areas for the public to use. Hunters who deposit the heads of the deer they harvest in designated collection bins will be able to have their deer tested, free of charge. And DMAP permits for use within DMA 4 will be available for purchase.

After CWD was detected in 2012 at a captive deer farm in Adams County, the Game Commission established Disease Management Area 1, a nearly 600-square-mile area in Adams and York counties that was eliminated in 2017.

DMA 2, which initially encompassed nearly 900 square miles in parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties, but since has expanded annually due to the detection of additional free-ranging and captive CWD-positive deer. DMA 2 now encompasses more than 2,845 square miles in parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

In 2014, CWD was detected at a captive deer farm in Jefferson County, leading to the creation of DMA 3, which encompasses about 350 square miles in parts of Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties.

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