PGC expands CWD rules
Hunters, are you planning to travel to Ohio to hunt critters like this buck? Please be aware of changes to the rules for returning home with your game. LISA PRICE/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Attention deer hunters: if you’re planning to hunt in New York, Ohio, Maryland and/or West Virginia this fall, you’ll have to follow Pennsylvania Game Commission guidelines as to which parts of the deer you can bring home with you.
Proactively, the PGC has added those 4 states because each of those states has counties where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected. If you’re a hunter, and you haven’t heard about CWD, and you’re not concerned about it, you’ve been living under a rock. The addition of those four states means that the importation of certain “high risk” parts is banned from 24 states and two Canadian provinces (see list, below). If applicable, the ban includes deer, elk, moose, mule deer and caribou.
So, what are the “high risk” parts? Certain parts of animals from the cervid family present the highest risk for transmitting CWD: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers (if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present); cape (if any visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present); upper canine teeth (if root structure or any other soft tissue is present); unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides. You can bring in the meat as long as the backbone is not present.
In simple terms, if you shoot a doe, debone the meat. If you shoot a buck, debone the meat. If the buck has a rack you want to mount, cape it out and scrape the skin-side of the cape clean. Cut off the skull plate and scrape off any brain or spinal tissue. If you want more information on how to process and transports venison for consumption, PGC has a video on its website (www.pgc.pa.gov.)
What about eating the meat? If you harvest a deer, elk, moose or other member of the cervid family from an area where CWD is known to occur, submit samples to that state’s wildlife agency to be tested. As a precaution, the Center for Disease Control recommends that people avoid eating meat from animals that test positive for CWD or look sick. If you’re notified that the sample you submitted has tested positive, contact your local PGC region office for assistance with disposal.
This is serious stuff.
“As we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, just because CWD appears confined to a specific area doesn’t mean it won’t turn up somewhere completely new, miles away,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “Tightening up the order puts teeth in the Game Commission’s ability to enforce it, allowing us to better protect our deer and elk herd from CWD.
The disease was first detected in the state just six years ago, at a captive deer facility in Adams County. Nationally, it was first detected in 1967. Since the first positive deer in 2012, the the disease has been detected in both free-ranging and captive deer in parts of south-central and north-central Pennsylvania. So far, CWD has been found in 104 free-ranging deer. In late February, the PGC established a fourth CWD Disease Management Area (DMA 4) in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties – after a case of CWD was detected in a captive deer facility in Lancaster County.
The list of banned states and provinces include Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan.