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Game Commission: CWD-positive deer leads to new DMA to slow spread of disease

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A deer that tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Jefferson County has led the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand a Disease Management Area and create a new one.

According to a news release, officials announced the expansion of DMA 3 and the creation of DMA 6 on Friday.

CWD was detected in a road-killed deer on the northern boundary of DMA 3. When a new case of CWD is detected either in a wild or captive deer or elk, a DMA is created immediately.

Game Commission officials said this new case of CWD is within 2 miles of Pennsylvania’s elk management area. Because of this close proximity to the most successful elk reintroduction and conservation effort in the country, officials created DMA 6, which covers the elk area.

“If a CWD-positive animal is found within any elk hunt zone, all elk hunt zones will become a DMA due to the behavior and longer distance movements of elk,” said a Game Commission CWD wildlife biologist. “If this were to occur, the impact on deer and elk populations, hunters and the public will be significant.”

Within all DMAs, it is illegal to:

  • Remove or export any deer or elk high-risk parts (head, spinal column and spleen) from a DMA
  • Use or possess deer or elk urine-based attractants
  • Directly or indirectly feed wild, free-ranging deer.
  • Rehabilitate wild, free-ranging deer or elk

Over 1,300 permits have been made available to hunters for DMA 6 and hunters are allowed to take up to two additional antlerless deer. Hunters can get DMA permits online or at license-issuing agents.

Although CWD has not been documented in humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends never eating the meat of a CWD-positive deer. The Game Commission offers free CWD testing within DMAs. Hunters can deposit the heads of harvested deer with properly filled out, legible harvest tags.

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