Pa. Game Commission to have public meetings on chronic wasting disease
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting a series of meetings this month to inform the public about chronic wasting disease, including three in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has been confirmed in 250 white-tailed deer in the state and is always fatal in the deer and elk it infects. The first Pennsylvania case was detected in 2012 at a deer farm in Adams County.
The game commission has established disease management areas, or DMAs, as a way to stop the spread of the disease. Pennsylvania has three active DMAs totaling more than 8,000 square miles. DMA 2, where the majority of the CWD cases have been found, includes about half of Somerset County and a small portion of northeast Westmoreland County.
Game commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans has referred to CWD as “an ecological disaster unfolding before our eyes.”
The meetings will cover basic information about the disease, how it is spread, regulations within the DMAs, what the public can do and what hunters who take deer, elk or moose out-of-state must do.
The list of local meetings is as follows:
7-8:30 p.m. Thursday — Berlin Community Center, 700 North St., Berlin.
7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 23 — Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club, 505 Mosside Blvd., North Versailles.
7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 28 — Hilltop Baptist Church, 4859 Route 286 Highway W, Indiana.
For more information, contact the game commission’s Southwest Region Office at 724-238-9523.
The game commission also is seeking public comment on a proposal to more actively involve deer hunters in the fight against the disease. The commission released a draft report and is accepting comments through Feb. 29, 2020.
In addition to enlisting the help of hunters, the game commission is weighing a proposal to ban the feeding of deer and wild turkey and is soliciting public comment.
A final recommendation will be submitted to the game commission executive office sometime this month, but no action is expected from the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners until next spring.
The proposed ban would not apply to bird feeding, food plots — small pieces of property planted with crops specifically for deer consumption — or regular agricultural activity.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .