From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission


No. 7 – What do I do with High-Risk Parts?

Through the end of deer season, we will be posting a frequently asked question (FAQ) and answer related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania in an album on our Facebook page.

We know many of you – hunters, non-hunters, processors, taxidermists and more – have questions about CWD and the effects this disease can cause. We are here as a resource and want to help everyone understand the complexities and details related to CWD in our state.

If you have a specific question related to CWD, email pgccomments@pa.gov.

Here’s the question for week seven:

CWD Fact 7

Answer:

Within the state, it is unlawful to export high-risk cervid parts from disease management areas or to import high-risk parts from CWD positive states.

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.

Once these high-risk parts are removed, meat on or off the bone, cleaned capes, cleaned skull caps with antlers, and finished taxidermy mounts may be transported throughout Pennsylvania. The high-risk parts must remain within those states, provinces and DMAs where the animal was harvested.

Click here for more information about CWD.

As a reminder, if you have a specific question related to CWD email it to pgccomments@pa.gov.

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No. 6 – Is There a State Importation Ban on High-Risk Parts?

Through the end of deer season, we will be posting a frequently asked question (FAQ) and answer related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania in an album on our Facebook page.

We know many of you – hunters, non-hunters, processors, taxidermists and more – have questions about CWD and the effects this disease can cause. We are here as a resource and want to help everyone understand the complexities and details related to CWD in our state.

If you have a specific question related to CWD, email pgccomments@pa.gov.

Here’s the question for week six:

CWD Fact 6

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first detected in 1967 in a captive deer facility in Colorado, since then, CWD has spread to 25 states and three Canadian provinces, including Pennsylvania.

To reduce the risk of spreading CWD, it is unlawful to import high-risk cervid parts from CWD positive states. High-risk parts include the brain, eyes, tonsils, lymph nodes, spinal cord, and spleen.

Once high-risk parts are removed, the processed meat may be transported into Pennsylvania.

Click here to see the USGS “Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America” map.

Click here for more information about CWD.

As a reminder, if you have a specific question related to CWD email it to pgccomments@pa.gov.


No. 5 – Are There Regulations Within DMAs?

Through the end of deer season, we will be posting a frequently asked question (FAQ) and answer related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania in an album on our Facebook page.

We know many of you – hunters, non-hunters, processors, taxidermists and more – have questions about CWD and the effects this disease can cause. We are here as a resource and want to help everyone understand the complexities and details related to CWD in our state.

If you have a specific question related to CWD, email pgccomments@pa.gov.

Here’s the question for week five:

CWD Fact 5.jpg

Answer:

Within Disease Management Areas, specific regulations and rules apply to reduce the risk of spreading CWD. Within DMAs it is unlawful to export high-risk parts, use or possess urine-based attractants in the field, and feed wild deer (which includes the use of mineral licks). High-risk parts include the brain, eyes, tonsils, lymph nodes, spinal cord, and spleen. Once high-risk parts are removed, the processed meat on or off the bone, capes and antlers attached to the skull plate with no visible brain matter may be transported throughout Pennsylvania.

Click here for more information about CWD.

As a reminder, if you have a specific question related to CWD email it to pgccomments@pa.gov.


No. 4 – What Precautions Should Processors and Taxidermists Take?

Through the end of deer season, we will be posting a frequently asked question (FAQ) and answer related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania in an album on our Facebook page.

We know many of you – hunters, non-hunters, processors, taxidermists and more – have questions about CWD and the effects this disease can cause. We are here as a resource and want to help everyone understand the complexities and details related to CWD in our state.

If you have a specific question related to CWD, email pgccomments@pa.gov.

Here’s the question for week four:

CWD Fact 4

Answer:

To date, CWD has not been found to infect humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends humans reduce their exposure to CWD-infected animals.

It is recommended that processors and taxidermists take steps to help reduce their exposure to CWD-infected meat or parts. Individuals should wear latex or nitrile gloves when processing deer meat.

To decrease exposure to high-risk parts, which include the brain, eyes, tonsils, lymph nodes, spinal cord, and spleen, de-bone the meat.

Avoid cutting through the spinal cord, if possible. After handling deer meat, individuals should wash hands and tools thoroughly with soap and water, then sanitize tools using a 50/50 bleach solution.

It is important to note that it is currently unlawful to export high-risk parts from a DMA or import high-risk parts from a CWD-positive state. This helps reduce the spread of this disease.

Click here for more information pertaining to processors and taxidermists.

As a reminder, if you have a specific question related to CWD email it to pgccomments@pa.gov.


No. 3. – How Do I Get My Deer Tested?

Through the end of deer season, we will be posting a frequently asked question (FAQ) and answer related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania in an album on our Facebook page.

We know many of you – hunters, non-hunters, processors, taxidermists and more – have questions about CWD and the effects this disease can cause. We are here as a resource and want to help everyone understand the complexities and details related to CWD in our state.

If you have a specific question related to CWD, email pgccomments@pa.gov.

Here’s the question for week three:

CWD Fact 3.jpg

Answer:

To increase surveillance efforts, hunters who are harvesting deer within Disease Management Areas (DMAs), can get them tested for free by depositing the head from their in a head-collection container provided by the Game Commission.

When depositing a head, be sure that the harvest tag is completed and attached to the ear. Heads should be double-bagged and closed prior to depositing. Locations of head-collection containers can be found on the interactive map located on the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.

On average, results take four to six weeks. Hunters harvesting deer outside a DMA, can get them tested for a fee at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg. Please note, this test is not a food safety test.

Click here for more information about CWD.

As a reminder, if you have a specific question related to CWD email it to pgccomments@pa.gov.


Saving a Life- How to Feed and Care for a Fawn

Being little is hard. Here’s how to lend a helping hand.

fawnCROP

Babies of all shapes and sizes are popping up everywhere.  Fawns are arguably the cutest ones of the bunch. But they are so little and helpless and often abandoned.  If you come across one of these frail creatures, here’s how you can help.

LEAVE IT ALONE! A “saved” fawn is a dead fawn.

The peak of fawning season for adult does (>1 year old) is May 30 with 90% giving birth from May 12th to June 27th.  For fawns (those bred when they were 6 months old and giving birth at 1 year old), the peak is June 19 with 90% giving birth from May 22nd to August 4th.

There are going to be a lot of fawns out there soon. They are not abandoned.  They are not in trouble.  They do not need to be saved by any person!

During the first few weeks of life, does only associate with their fawns briefly usually at sunrise and sunset with fawns nursing only 2 or 3 times a day.  A Fawn selects its own bedding location away from its mother and moves this hiding place frequently ALL BY ITSELF.  The doe is usually within about 90 meters of her resting fawn and makes contact only to nurse.

People often think fawns are abandoned or cold or sick or lonely.  Do it a favor and leave it alone. This is the best way to increase its odds of survival.

Because bad things happened when people mess with wildlife – like imprinting.  Have you read the recent story of the bison calf loaded in a tourist’s SUV in Yellowstone because they thought it looked cold?  Instead of saving the calf, they signed its death certificate.

A doe will imprint upon her fawns in a few hours.  If this critical period is interrupted, the imprinting process breaks down and may lead to abandonment.  But, fawns take several days or longer to imprint on mom.  During this interim, fawns risk being attracted to almost any large moving object – even people.  That’s why does are secretive and aggressive during fawn rearing.

It may be difficult but people need to let fawns be.  If, in fact, the fawn has been abandoned for some reason, nature will “take its course.”  Based on research conducted in Pennsylvania, 57 percent of fawns born in north central Pennsylvania (forested areas) and 72 percent of fawns born in central Pennsylvania (agricultural areas) survive through the summer.  This means that between 28-43% of fawns will not live to 6 months of age in Pennsylvania. The majority of this mortality occurs before they are 3 months old.  Mortality factors include predators, starvation, failure to nurse, infections, and parasites.  It is a harsh reality.

However, in the wild, fawns have a fighting chance. In the arms of a person, they are as good as dead.

So lend a helping hand by keeping YOUR HANDS to yourself. Look but do not touch and you can save a life!

Jeannine Tardiff Fleegle

Wildlife Biologist, Deer & Elk Section

Pennsylvania Game Commission