According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), data from the 2017-18 hunting seasons show an increase in chronic wasting disease (CWD) by more than 200 percent. The PGC documented 78 cases of CWD in free-ranging deer across the state during that time, compared to 25 cases documented in 2016-17.
All of the new confirmed cases were found in or near the state’s current designated Disease Management Areas (DMA), which have strict regulations set by the PGC that must be followed by both hunters and residents such as feeding limitations, the transportation of harvested deer and the use of urine-based deer attractants.
As a result of the new cases, two DMAs have been expanded, and earlier this year, the PCG created another DMA after CWD was discovered in a captive deer farm in Lancaster County. More than 5,895 square miles of land fall within the PGC’s designated DMAs.
“The escalating number of CWD detections and the sudden emergence of this disease in new parts of the state should put all Pennsylvanians on guard to the threat CWD poses and the disease’s potential to have damaging impacts on Pennsylvania’s deer and deer-hunting tradition,” said PGC Executive Director Bryan Burhans.