Hunters prepare for season under CWD restrictions
DUNCANNON, Pa. (WHTM) - Three letters spell a story of disease and worry in the hunting community. As rifle season approaches in Pennsylvania, hunters are preparing for a new normal with chronic wasting disease (CWD).
CWD is nasty for three reasons: it ravages deer bodies, it's deadly, and it's highly contagious.
There's still a lot of questions about how the disease affects the meat or how know for sure a deer has been infected, but one thing is for certain - we all need to be on the hunt for it.
Hunting is one of life's simplest and oldest pleasures.
"Being in nature - there's a lot of people that go out there, and they talk to God, and they reflect on their lives," said John First, Perry County, Duncannon Sportsmen's Association representative for the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists.
That reflection now involves completely new hunting rules in Perry and Juniata counties after cases of CWD were discovered in each area.
"Each year it progresses to new and different areas. So, we haven't really seen the problem get any better. If anything, it continues to get even worse," said Game Warden Kevin Anderson.
To stop the bleed, the Game Commission has rules that continue to evolve.
"Limit the movement of high-risk parts and properly dispose of those parts. You can also help by submitting heads for testing in bins provided by the Game Commission," said CWD communication specialist, Courtney Colley.
Hunters are working to stay on their toes, but some of the rules impact those who never picked up a gun. Recreational feeding of deer is banned in protected areas.
"That doesn't just affect the hunter, that affects the homeowner who likes to feed deer just to see them in their backyard," said Carl Fox, president of the Duncannon Sportsmen's Association.
Hunters lucky enough to bag a deer - beware. Call the Game Commission if you suspect a deer has CWD and always have the meat tested. It may take 4 to 6 weeks, but it's worth the wait.
"The Game Commission cannot do this alone. So, we need the help of hunters, landowners - basically, everybody to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease," Colley said.
Baiting/feeding and antler point restrictions Baiting and feeding is banned in the entire Lower Peninsula and the Core CWD Surveillance Area in the Upper Peninsula. Exception: Hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements
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