From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission


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:

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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.

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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.


No. 2 – What is a Disease Management Area?

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 two:

CWD Fact 2

Answer:

Pennsylvania’s Disease Management Areas, or “DMAs,” have been established because at least one CWD-positive animal has been detected in close proximity. Within DMAs, specific regulations and rules apply to reduce the risk of further spreading CWD.

DMAs are established by creating a 10-mile radius buffer around the new CWD positive. In areas where CWD is present and a new CWD-positive animal is detected, no changes are made to the DMA boundary if the 10-mile buffer associated with that animal falls well within the existing DMA.

However, if the new CWD-positive location falls outside or near the existing DMA boundary, an existing DMA might be expanded or a new one created. Currently, Pennsylvania has three active DMAs.

To learn the location of DMAs within the state, please refer to our interactive 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.

You can learn more about DMAs in Pennsylvania here.


No. 1 – What is Chronic Wasting Disease?

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 one:

CWD Fact 1

Answer:

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an always-fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids including deer and elk. CWD is a type of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy disease, other TSE diseases include mad cow disease, scrapie, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The causative agent of TSE diseases is an abnormally folded protein or prion. As these prions accumulate in the brain, they begin to cause tissue damage, eventually leading to holes in the brain.

CWD can be transmitted directly (through animal-to-animal contact) or indirectly (through a contaminated environment). CWD prions can be shed through bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, and feces. 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.

Click here for more information.

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

 


Pennsylvania Bald Eagles Webinar

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Join the Pennsylvania Game Commission for a webinar on Mar 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT.

Register now! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/618753840347731713

The Pennsylvania Game Commission Endangered Bird Specialist Patti Barber will be discussing the habits, biology and population of Pennsylvania bald eagles. The session will include a short PowerPoint (15-20 minutes) followed by a short question and answer period (10-15 minutes).

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. View System Requirements


Give the Gift of Conservation

 

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You can help support Pennsylvania wildlife through the purchase of several Pennsylvania Game Commission products.

This year, for the first time, the Game Commission is offering a 2016 calendar featuring the birds of Pennsylvania. This calendar is full of stunning images of native birds. Additionally, the Game Commission still offers the classic wildlife of Pennsylvania calendar.  The purchase of a calendar not only makes a great gift, but also supports wildlife conservation in the Commonwealth.

In 1982, the Pennsylvania Game Commission developed the Working Together for Wildlife program to give the public a way to contribute to wildlife; a way for hunters and nonhunters alike to work with the agency to help wildlife. Since its inception, Working Together for Wildlife has generated over $3 million to benefit wildlife.

2015_WTFW_Patch_GroundhogEach year, the program features either a mammal or a bird art print and patch. These have become collector’s items and the collectors can feel proud of their investment in Pennsylvania’s wildlife. A groundhog was the featured mammal for 2015. The print and patch can be ordered from the Outdoor Shop. All proceeds, support Pennsylvania wildlife.

The Game Commission also offers a voluntary waterfowl management stamp. The sales from the art support wetland habitat acquisitions and management.2015_Duck_Stamp_Print

Many more items are available in the Outdoor Shop including: patches, 2015_Big_Game_Records_Bookpins, framed and unframed art, wall charts, hats and collectibles as well as books such as

2015 Pennsylvania Big Game Records Book

Pennsylvania Deer Hunting, Through The Pages of Game NewsPGC_Cook_Book_2nd_Edition

Pennsylvania Game Commission, Game Cookbook, Second Edition

Pennsylvania Wildlife Student Guide

On behalf of the commonwealth’s wildlife, the Game Commission would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all Working Together for Wildlife contributors for their generosity in helping conserve Pennsylvania’s woods and wilds.


The very lively “dead of winter”

Deer rifles have been oiled and put away, the Game Land parking lots are empty and formerly orange-clad hunters are reminiscing about the past season’s successes and woes (with the exception of a few die-hard small game and canine hunters still out there). Does this mean the Game Lands are completely deserted until the spring thaw? Far from it! The dead of winter is a busy time for Game Commission habitat managers. Our foresters are busy marking habitat projects for the future and loggers are busy implementing past plans. “Hold on a minute, did he say foresters and loggers on the state game lands?”

Forest management is habitat management The Game Lands are over 90% forested, so these habitats represent a huge opportunity. In fact, we have 36 staff foresters using creative habitat management on over a million acres. Their main challenge is finding ways to mix forest ages (or successional stages) across the landscape. When you create a good mix of some young forest, some middle-aged forest, and some old forest you can support tremendous wildlife diversity; more so than if a single age class dominates a large area. Timber harvests are the main tool in this endeavor. Each year Game Commission foresters oversee more than 7,000 acres of forest habitat improvements accomplished through timber sales.

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This winter aspen cut will be full of young trees and beneficial wildlife plants by this summer. (Photo: Frank Chubon)

‘Tis the season Winter is often the most active season for timber harvesting. I say “often” because we don’t always get cold weather that causes the ground to freeze. Frozen ground means tree harvesting and hauling equipment have little impact on soil and below ground roots. Other benefits of winter harvesting are favorable habitat response (like increased aspen sprouting from winter cuts) and browse availability for deer. Regarding the latter, loggers often observe deer waiting for trees to fall so they can devour previously out of reach buds. So as you’re snug at home watching the playoffs and longing for spring turkey season, think for just a minute about the foresters and loggers who are out there in the cold creating hot spots for next fall’s hunting.

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Deer take advantage of tree tops on a game lands forestry project. (Photo: Frank Chubon)

Benjamin C. Jones

Chief, Habitat Planning and Development Division

Pennsylvania Game Commission