Those who want to learn more about chronic wasting disease, and the rules that apply within areas of the state where the disease has been detected, can attend a public meeting to be held next week in DuBois, Clearfield County.
The meeting, to be hosted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and held Thursday, Aug. 28 in the auditorium at DuBois Area Senior High School, is slated to begin at 6 p.m. The high school is located at 425 Orient Ave. in DuBois. Doors will open at about 5 p.m.
DuBois, as well as portions of Punxsutawney and Brookville, lie within Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3), established by the Game Commission in May after chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected at a captive deer facility in Jefferson County.
As its name implies, DMA 3 is Pennsylvania's third DMA, each of which was established in response to CWD being detected in either captive or free-ranging deer. DMA 3 encompasses about 350 square miles in Jefferson and Clearfield counties. Maps of all DMAs, and detailed descriptions of their borders, are available at the Game Commission's website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Because DMA 3 was established just recently, maps and border descriptions are not included in the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is issued to hunters at the time they purchase their licenses.
Hunters and residents within DMAs need to be aware of special rules aimed at slowing the spread of CWD.
Deer parts with the highest risk of transmitting CWD - namely, the head and backbone - may not be transported outside a DMA, except by special exception. The intentional feeding of deer and the use of urine-based deer attractants are among other activities prohibited within DMAs.
A complete list of DMA rules, and other CWD information including a definition of all high-risk parts, also is available at the Game Commission's website.
Game Commission staff also will be on hand at the Aug. 28 meeting to answer questions.
Immediately following the public meeting, a meeting will be held for deer processors and taxidermists who operate within or near DMA 3's borders.
First identified in 1967, CWD affects members of the cervid family, including all species of deer, elk and moose. There's no scientific evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans or traditional livestock, but it is always fatal to the cervids it infects.
There currently is no practical way to test live animals for CWD, nor is there a vaccine. Clinical signs include poor posture, lowered head and ears, uncoordinated movement, rough-hair coat, weight loss, increased thirst, excessive drooling, and, ultimately, death.
Those encountering deer they suspect are CWD-positive are asked to call their nearest Game Commission region office to report them.