CWD regulations in Pennsylvania

Due to the regular amending of regulations in Pennsylvania, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Pennsylvania can be seen below:

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FOR NATIONAL REGULATIONS GO HERE

Testing Laboratories in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory
2305 North Cameron Street Harrisburg, PA 17110-9449
717-787-8808

Pennsylvania- University of Pennsylvania Lab of Large Animal Pathology & Toxicology
New Bolton Center, 382 West Street Rd. Kennett Square, PA 19348-1692
610-444-5800, ext. 6232 or 610-444-5800, ext. 6385

Locations Where CWD Was Found

Counties (Accurate as of 2/2018)

1. Blair 2. Bedford 3. Lancaster

Most Recent CWD News

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  • Deer on Bedford County Hunting Preserve, Lancaster County Breeding Farm Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that two additional captive deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 46
    Read More
  • HARRISBURG, PA - Pennsylvania’s statewide deer seasons have come to a close, and within the next several weeks, final chronic wasting disease test results will return from deer harvested by hunters in the 2017-18 seasons. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from deer harvested across the
    Read More
  • Ongoing surveillance detects disease in highway-killed deer from Bedford County.

    A white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle in Bedford County this fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

    The deer, a 1 ½–year-old buck, was struck on Interstate 99 in November

    Read More
    • 2
  • Certain parts from harvested cervids cannot be brought back into Commonwealth.

    The thousands of Pennsylvania hunters who soon will be heading off to hunt big game in other states can do their share to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Commonwealth.

    Those

    Read More
    • 3
  • Game Commission to Hold CWD News Conference Monday, March 4

    HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today confirmed three hunter-killed deer taken in the 2012 general firearms deer season have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Two were from Blair County; the other was from

    Read More
    • 2
  • Adams County Captive Deer Tests Positive; No Evidence of Effect on Humans Editor’s Note: Agriculture Secretary George Greig and other officials will hold a press conference to discuss Chronic Wasting Disease at 1 p.m. today, Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Capitol Media Center. Harrisburg – The

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Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania – Deer on Bedford County Hunting Preserve, Lancaster County Breeding Farm Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Deer on Bedford County Hunting Preserve, Lancaster County Breeding Farm Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that two additional captive deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 46 since the disease was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2012.

The disease was confirmed in one white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve in Bedford County, and one at a Lancaster County breeding operation. Both deer were born and raised on their respective premises, and these are the first CWD-positives discovered on either farm. Both operations are now under quarantine. This is the first CWD-positive test result in a Lancaster County captive deer.

“The Department of Agriculture takes the emergence and spread of CWD in Whitetail Deer in Pennsylvania very seriously,” said State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang. ”Farmers with captive deer and other CWD-susceptible species must participate in one of two programs and follow specific procedures outlined for their program. The department is committed to cooperating with deer farmers, the Game Commission, and foresters to keep deer populations in Pennsylvania healthy and at viable population levels.”

The department’s Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg tested the deer, which were later confirmed positive at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The deer were tested as required by the department’s CWD program. Deer cannot be moved on or off these properties without permission from the department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD.

CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal or contaminated environment.

Clinical signs include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling, and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.

The infectious agent, known as a prion, tends to concentrate in the brain, spinal column, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes. These high-risk parts must be properly handled and disposed of at the harvest location to prevent disease spread. Low-risk parts such as deboned meat, clean skull caps and capes present little risk and may be taken home.

The first cases of CWD in Pennsylvania were detected in white-tailed deer that died in 2012 on an Adams County deer farm, and wild, white-tailed deer in Blair and Bedford Counties.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture coordinates a mandatory surveillance program for the disease for 860 breeding farms, hobby farms and hunting preserves across the state. Since 1998, accredited veterinarians and certified CWD technicians have tested 27,000 captive deer in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and wild deer that appear sick or behave abnormally.

Find more information about Pennsylvania’s captive deer CWD programs, and the department’s broader efforts to safeguard animal health at agriculture.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.783.2628

Article location: http://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=659

Pennsylvania – CWD Test results continue to come in

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s statewide deer seasons have come to a close, and within the next several weeks, final chronic wasting disease test results will return from deer harvested by hunters in the 2017-18 seasons.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from deer harvested across the state and tests them for chronic wasting disease (CWD), as part of the agency’s ongoing CWD surveillance.

Within the state’s Disease Management Areas – where the disease has been detected in captive and free-ranging deer – intensified sampling occurs.

This past hunting season, the Game Commission offered free CWD testing for hunters harvesting deer within Disease Management Areas (DMAs). Free testing offered hunters a way to have their deer tested prior to consuming it, and it provided the Game Commission with additional samples to better pinpoint areas where the disease exists, so specific problem spots might be addressed.

Successful hunters within DMAs dropped off heads from more than 1,500 deer in the boxes. About 1,000 of these samples already have been tested for CWD, with the results reported to hunters.

Additionally, Game Commission staff collected more than 3,000 other samples within DMAs to test for CWD. In total, nearly 8,000 samples were collected statewide. Slightly more than 5,700 whitetails were tested for CWD in 2016; 25 tested positive, all were in or near DMA 2, the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in the wild.

At this time, 51 deer from the 2017-18 hunting seasons have tested positive for CWD. All have been within the DMAs. Forty-eight were within DMA 2, in southcentral Pennsylvania; and three were within DMA 3 in northcentral Pennsylvania.

But the majority of samples collected still are being analyzed.

Wayne Laroche, the Game Commission’s special assistant for CWD response, said the agency will continue to assess the incoming test results to evaluate the best response to confront CWD where it exists. DMA boundaries regularly have been adjusted in relation to newly detected CWD-positive animals. And last year, the Game Commission teamed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s APHIS’s Wildlife Services on a CWD surveillance effort where 30 deer were removed by sharpshooters and one CWD-positive deer was detected.

“By developing a control program where we go into these hotspots and remove the animals with a greater likelihood of carrying the disease, we might stand our best chance of controlling CWD on a larger scale, while minimizing the impact on the larger deer population or diminishing deer hunting opportunities,” Laroche said.

CWD is not a new disease, and other states have decades of experience dealing with CWD in the wild. It first was detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive deer facility, and it was detected in free-ranging deer soon after. To date in Pennsylvania, CWD has been detected in 98 free-ranging deer.

CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct and indirect contact. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, and will eventually result in the death of the infected animal. There is no live test for CWD and no known cure. There also is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, however, it is recommended the meat of infected deer – or deer thought to be sick – not be consumed.

For more information on CWD, the rules applying within DMAs or what hunters can do to have harvested deer tested for CWD, visit the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us. Information can be found by clicking on the button titled “CWD Information” near the top of the homepage.

Final CWD test results from the 2017-18 deer seasons will be released when available.

MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541

Tests Confirm CWD Case

Ongoing surveillance detects disease in highway-killed deer from Bedford County.

A white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle in Bedford County this fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The deer, a 1 ½–year-old buck, was struck on Interstate 99 in November and sent for testing as part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing effort to monitor the prevalence and spread of CWD, which is fatal to members of the deer family, but is not known to be transmitted to humans.

Test results confirming the buck was CWD positive were returned Dec. 24.

“It’s not as if we hope to find CWD positives as we continue our ongoing surveillance,” Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said. “But the fact is that each test result that comes back – positive or negative – gives us a clearer picture of how prevalent the disease is, and monitoring for CWD is an important part of our efforts to manage its spread.”

This positive test is unlikely to have much impact on hunters, but it serves as a reminder that CWD has been found in southcentral Pennsylvania. The Game Commission already has established perimeters around the sites where CWD was detected previously, and within the boundaries of these Disease Management Areas (DMAs), special rules apply to hunters and residents.

There are two DMAs in Pennsylvania, which are intended in part to contain and slow the spread of CWD. The buck that tested positive Dec. 24 was killed within what is known as DMA 2, a 900-square-mile area that includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties. More precisely, the site where the buck was killed is between two sites where CWD was detected last year, so this new positive shouldn’t change the shape or size of the DMA.

This is the first case of CWD detected in Pennsylvania this year, but not all of the samples collected this year have been tested. The Game Commission targeted collecting and testing 1,000 samples within in each DMA, as well as 3,000 samples from additional deer statewide.

CWD was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive facility in Adams County. Subsequently, three free-ranging deer harvested by hunters during the 2012 season – two deer in Blair County and one in Bedford County – tested positive for CWD.

CWD is not a new disease, and other states have decades of experience dealing with CWD in the wild.

CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct and indirect contact. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, and will eventually result in the death of the infected animal. There is no live test for CWD and no known cure. There also is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, however, it is recommended the meat of infected animals not be consumed.

For more information on CWD, the rules applying within DMAs or what hunters can do to have harvested deer tested for CWD, visit the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us. Information can be found by clicking on the button titled “CWD Information” near the top of the homepage.

Further results from this year’s CWD testing will be reported at a later date.

Late-season deer hunting is now underway statewide and, in some parts of the state, deer hunting is open through the last Saturday in January. For properly licensed hunters, Roe said, that means there’s still time to get out and enjoy deer hunting this year. “That’s a point that shouldn’t be lost,” Roe said. “While we will continue to monitor for CWD and keep a watchful eye on test results, the simple fact CWD has been detected in Pennsylvania shouldn’t keep anybody from enjoying deer hunting, or venison from healthy deer, as they always have.

“And with the better part of two hunting seasons elapsed since CWD was first detected in Pennsylvania, it seems clear the Keystone State’s hunters understand that,” he said.

CWD impacts Pennsylvanians who hunt out-of-state

Certain parts from harvested cervids cannot be brought back into Commonwealth.

The thousands of Pennsylvania hunters who soon will be heading off to hunt big game in other states can do their share to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Commonwealth.

Those who hunt out-of-state are reminded that Pennsylvania prohibits importing specific carcass parts from members of the deer family – including mule deer, elk and moose – from 21 states and two Canadian provinces.

The parts ban affects hunters who harvest deer, elk or moose in: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland (only from CWD Management Area), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York (only from Madison and Oneida counties), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia (only from CWD Containment Area), West Virginia (only from CWD Containment Area, which includes parts of three counties), Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Pennsylvania hunters harvesting any deer, elk or moose in those areas, whether the animal was taken from the wild or from a captive, high-fence operation, must comply with rules aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania.

CWD was detected in Pennsylvania for the first time last year, and those hunting out-of-state must leave behind the carcass parts that have the highest risk for transmitting the disease. Those parts are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and any lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft tissue is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord tissue; unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides.

“This is the first time that we’ve entered the fall hunting seasons knowing that we have chronic wasting disease inside Pennsylvania,” Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said. “But that doesn’t mean we’ve given up the fight to slow the disease’s spread or make its impacts on our deer herd as minimal as possible.

“High-risk parts are classified as such for a reason,” he said. “And while we wish Pennsylvanians luck in all of their out-of-state hunts, we also ask them to make sure they’re following the rules and bringing back home with them only the parts they’re allowed.”

Hunters who are successful in those areas from which the importation of high-risk parts into Pennsylvania is banned are allowed to import meat from any deer, elk, moose, mule deer or caribou, so long as the backbone is not present. Successful hunters also are allowed to bring back cleaned skull plates with attached antlers, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; tanned hide or raw hide with no visible brain or spinal cord tissue present; capes, if no visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if no root structure or other soft tissue is present; and finished taxidermy mounts.

Roe urged hunters heading to a state with a history of CWD to become familiar with that state’s wildlife regulations and guidelines for the transportation of harvested game animals.

Pennsylvania detected its first case of chronic wasting disease last year in a captive deer kept at an Adams County facility, and another deer that had lived in the same pen later tested positive for the disease. Since that time, the disease was detected in three free-ranging deer harvested by hunters in Bedford and Blair counties during the 2012 firearms deer season.

In response to those cases, the Game Commission has outlined two Disease Management Areas (DMAs) totaling about 1,500 square miles, and special rules regarding deer hunting, the feeding of wildlife and the transport of high-risk deer parts apply within those areas. Maps of the DMAs are available at the Game Commission’s website and are shown on pages 53 and 54 of the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is presented to each Pennsylvania license buyer.

The exact rules deer hunters within those areas will need to follow are being finalized and will be announced soon by the Game Commission.

However, those who live in a DMA and are successful in out-of-state hunts should know that – like other Pennsylvanians hunting out-of-state – they are permitted to bring low-risk deer parts back home with them.

Roe said hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose in a state or province where CWD is known to exist should follow instructions from that state’s wildlife agency on how and where to submit the appropriate samples to have their animal tested. If, after returning to Pennsylvania, a hunter is notified that his or her game tested positive for CWD, the hunter is encouraged to immediately contact the Game Commission region office that serves the county in which they reside for disposal recommendations and assistance.

A list of region offices and contact information appears on page 5 of the Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest. The contact information also is available on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by putting your cursor on “About Us” in the menu bar under the banner, then selecting “Regional Information” in the drop-down menu and then clicking on the region of choice in the map.

First identified in 1967, CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that affects cervids, including all species of deer, elk and moose. It is a progressive and always fatal disease of the nervous system. Scientists believe CWD is caused by an unknown agent capable of transforming normal brain proteins into an abnormal form.

There currently is no practical way to test live animals for CWD, nor is there a vaccine. Clinical signs include poor posture, lowered head and ears, uncoordinated movement, rough-hair coat, weight loss, increased thirst, excessive drooling, and, ultimately, death. There is currently no scientific evidence that CWD has or can spread to humans, either through contact with infected animals or by eating meat of infected animals.

As a precaution, however, humans are advised not to eat the meat of any animal testing positive for the disease.

Much more information on CWD, as well as a video showing hunters how they can process venison for transport and consumption, is available at the Game Commission’s website.

CWD precautions

Wildlife officials have suggested hunters in areas where chronic wasting disease (CWD) is known to exist follow these usual recommendations to prevent the possible spread of disease:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that appears sick; contact the state wildlife agency if you see or harvest an animal that appears sick.
  • Wear rubber or latex gloves when field-dressing carcasses.
  • Bone out the meat from your animal.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field-dressing is completed.
  • Request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from your animal, or process your own meat if you have the tools and ability to do so.
  • Have your animal processed in the endemic area of the state where it was harvested, so that high-risk body parts can be properly disposed of there. Only bring permitted materials back to Pennsylvania
  • Don’t consume the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils or lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field-dressing, coupled with boning out a carcass, will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will help remove remaining lymph nodes.)
  • Consider not consuming the meat from any animal that tests positive for the disease.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Blair and Bedford Counties

    Game Commission to Hold CWD News Conference Monday, March 4

    HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today confirmed three hunter-killed deer taken in the 2012 general firearms deer season have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Two were from Blair County; the other was from Bedford County.

    “These are the first positive cases of CWD in free-ranging deer in Pennsylvania,” confirmed Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. “The disease was first documented in early October, 2012, by the state Department of Agriculture in a captive deer on an Adams County deer farm.”

    The three hunter-killed deer tissue samples were collected by Game Commission personnel during annual deer aging field checks during the general firearms season for deer. The samples were tested and identified as suspect positive by the Department of Agriculture as part of an ongoing annual statewide CWD surveillance program. The tissue samples were confirmed to be positive for CWD by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, as part of an established verification process.

    “The three CWD-positives were part of 2,945 deer sampled for the disease statewide,” explained Roe. “To date, we have received test results from 1,500 samples, including these three positive samples. Results from the remaining samples should be available in the next few weeks.”

    An additional 2,089 deer were sampled and tested from within the designated Disease Management Area in Adams and York counties; CWD was not detected in any of those deer samples. Since 1998, the Game Commission has gathered and submitted more than 43,000 samples from wild deer and elk for CWD testing. The three CWD-positives announced today are the first to be confirmed in 15 years of testing.

    “Pennsylvania has an active Interagency CWD Task Force and a dynamic CWD surveillance program,” Roe noted, “and we will continue to be vigilant and initiate steps included in the Commonwealth’s CWD Response Plan. We will continue to work diligently with the Department of Agriculture and other members of the task force to better manage the threat of this disease to the state’s captive and wild deer populations.”

    The Game Commission is working to identify and engage the hunters who harvested these CWD-positive deer to confirm where the whitetails were killed. A meeting of the Interagency CWD Task Force is being convened this afternoon to discuss the new CWD-positive deer and possible additional actions to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease within Pennsylvania, as well as to contain its spread.

    The latest information and updates to existing CWD information can be accessed on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). Public meetings will be held in the Blair-Bedford County area in coming weeks to share what we know about these CWD-positive deer and CWD in Pennsylvania, and to answer questions the public might have about this disease. How these latest developments may influence hunting regulations and other deer policies are at this time still contingent upon the results of ongoing testing of samples from hunter-killed deer, additional surveillance and fieldwork, and Game Commission and task force deliberations. CWD is a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by direct animal-to-animal contact through saliva, feces and urine. CWD is fatal in deer and elk, but there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization.

    Signs of the disease include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior such as stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk also may allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. There is no known treatment or vaccine.

    CWD was first discovered in Colorado captive mule deer in 1967, and has since been detected in 22 states and Canadian provinces, including Pennsylvania’s neighboring states of New York, West Virginia and Maryland.

    Game Commission to Hold CWD News Conference Monday, March 4

    Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe and other Commonwealth officials will hold a press conference to discuss Chronic Wasting Disease 2 p.m., Monday, March 4, in the auditorium of the Game Commission’s Harrisburg Headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue. To keep Pennsylvania hunters and other residents informed on this breaking story, the press conference also will be webcast through the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) beginning at 2 p.m. Background on CWD and its limited history in Pennsylvania can be found on the Game Commission’s CWD Info Page.

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