PA Game Commission reminds hunters to take precautions regarding Chronic Waste Disease

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission is reminding all deer processors and taxidermists that Pennsylvanians hunting within Pennsylvania Disease Management Areas (DMA’s), or out-of-state where Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) is found, should be aware of the new regulations in Pennsylvania regarding the movement of whole deer carcasses or high-risk cervid parts. 

In May, the Pennsylvania Game Commission implemented a new executive order on CWD that expanded DMA’s 2 and 3, created DMA 4 and prohibits importation of high-risk parts from 24 CWD-endemic states and three Canadian provinces.  Specific carcass parts are prohibited from being transported out of Pennsylvania DMA’s or into Pennsylvania from states/provinces with a history of CWD.  These states/provinces include Alberta, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Quebec, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Prohibited parts include the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes, and lymph nodes), spinal cord/backbone, spleen, skull plate with attached antlers if visible brain or spinal cord material is present, cape if visible brain or spinal cord material is present, upper canine teeth if root structure or other soft material is present, any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord material, and brain-tanned hides.  Hunters lawfully may transport from these states, provinces, and DMA’s deer meat on or off the bone with all high-risk parts removed, as well as capes and antlers attached to the skull plate, if no brain or spinal cord material is present.  The high-risk parts must remain within those states, provinces, and DMA’s where the animal was harvested.

If you receive at your business a whole deer or high-risk parts from one of the above locations, we are asking you to please contact your Game Commission Regional Office to report the incident and we will provide you with direction and dispatch a game warden to retrieve either the carcass or high-risk parts for proper disposal.

CWD belongs to a family of diseases known as ‘Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE’s)’.  These diseases cause microscopic holes in brain tissue, giving it a ‘sponge-like’ appearance.  TSE’s include such diseases as Scrapie in sheep, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.  It is thought to be caused by an infectious deformed protein called a prion and is found in greatest concentrations in nervous and lymphatic tissues. 

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