Test results have revealed that no chronic wasting disease was found in samples taken from hunter-killed deer during the state's 2011 hunting season, according to Dr. Walt Cottrell, Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife veterinarian.
In 2011, 3,766 samples from hunter-killed deer were tested, and CWD was not detected. This marked the 10th year for testing hunter-killed deer. In total, nearly 35,000 deer and elk have been tested, and CWD was not detected in any samples from previous years.
"We are pleased to report that Pennsylvania continues to have no confirmed or suspected cases of CWD in wild deer or elk," Cottrell said. "By conducting these tests from hunter-killed deer and on all hunter-killed elk, we continue our efforts to find the disease in wild deer and elk in the state."
CWD tests on deer and elk samples were conducted by the New Bolton Center, which is the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary diagnostic laboratory, and the state Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg. Under a contract with Penn State University, the elk samples also were tested for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis and found to be free of those diseases.
Heads from hunter-killed deer were collected from deer processors by deer aging teams during the two-week rifle deer season. Specific tissues were collected from these heads at Game Commission region offices by agency personnel and Pennsylvania and U.S. departments of agriculture animal health officials.
"The test results are good news," Cottrell said. "Although CWD has not been found in Pennsylvania, we must continue to be vigilant in our CWD surveillance efforts, and the surveillance work we are doing is important for the early detection of CWD.
"Let's not forget that CWD has been found just over 10 miles away from our border in Maryland, which is likely to be part of the spread of the disease from West Virginia. There is no reason to expect that it will not eventually come into Pennsylvania.
"We already are planning to continue testing hunter-killed deer and elk during the 2012-13 seasons, and we are pleased that the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture will continue to play an important role in this disease surveillance program. We will also be increasing our surveillance by sampling road-killed deer adjacent to Maryland and investigating every clinically suspect deer that our time and budget allows."
For more information on CWD and the state's CWD-prevention plan, visit the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us click on "Wildlife" in the menu bar in the banner at the top of the page, then click on "Wildlife Diseases Home," and choose "Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)."
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature Greg Dixon of Dixon Muzzleloader Shop talking about the 30th anniversary of the Gunmakers Fair.
Women's Outdoor Day is Saturday Aug. 18, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m., at Friedensburg Fish and Game Association, 169 Stone Mountain Road. Sponsored by the Schuylkill County Sportsmen's Association, the free event, which includes lunch, is open to any women – including those living outside Schuylkill County age 16 and older.
A tentative schedule of events, which are taught by women instructors and end at 3 p.m., is archery, canoeing, fishing, .22 pistol, shotgun, .22 rifle and muzzleloader, and participation in each event is voluntary.
Free preregistration is required by Wednesday, Aug. 8, by contacting Christy Zulli at the Schuylkill Conservation District by calling (570) 622-3742, ext. 114, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bear's Head 3-D course is open daily through Friday, Oct. 12, from dawn to dusk daily, on club grounds located off I-81 exit 134, 148 Lofty Road, Delano. For information, call the association at 570-467-0331.
This year's Pennsylvania Summer Biathlon will be held, Saturday, July 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m., at Whitetail Preserve, Bloomsburg. This is the 17th annual event, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Biathlon Club and is a combination of a 4k run and rifle marksmanship.
Competition is by age classes, and there is no entry fee for the Scholastic Division for those 19 and younger. Entry forms are available on the Web at NEPRunner.com and for information contact Frank Gaval 570-788-4219 or email@example.com.
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will meet, Thursday, Aug. 2, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at 633 Hancock St., McAdoo. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.