HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Southcentral Region Director Brad Myers today announced the agency has established check station hours for those hunters who harvest a deer within the 600-square-mile Disease Management Area (DMA) in Adams and York counties. The check station is at the Game Commission maintenance building on State Game Land 249, 1070 Lake Meade Road, East Berlin, Adams County. GPS coordinates for the building are: -77.07280 and 39.97018.
The check station, which remains voluntary for early and late season hunters who harvest a deer within the DMA, will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays (Oct. 27, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10) through the end of the early archery season, which ends on Nov. 12.  On other days, hunters may stop by the check station to deposit deer heads in the marked containers provided, and deer spines and rib cages may be deposited in the dumpster on the site. As required by law, deer must have a field harvest tag attached to the ear.
Details regarding mandatory check station hours for hunters within the DMA during the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) are being finalized.
The check station was created by the Game Commission to collect samples from hunter-killed deer within the DMA to monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD), which was found recently in a captive-born and -raised deer in Adams County.
"While no wild deer have been found to be infected with CWD, the Game Commission is doing its due diligence to monitor whether this disease has spread to wild deer within the DMA," Myers said. "The benefit for hunters bringing deer harvested within the DMA to our check station is two-fold: the Game Commission will cover the cost of having the animal tested, and the hunter will be notified if the harvested deer is found to be infected with CWD.
"The benefit to the agency is it can test a sufficient number of deer within the DMA without having to resort to culling deer to test."
Myers noted that deer harvested outside of the DMA will not be eligible for testing at the check station; however, hunters may get their deer checked by the Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Laboratory, for a fee, by calling 717-787-8808.
Myers noted that this check station will not be checking or processing bears, and hunters should not bring bears to this check station. For bear check station information, please refer to pages 37 and 38 of the 2012-13 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest.
As soon as the CWD-infected captive deer was found, the Commonwealth's CWD Interagency Task Force was initiated to address the threat of the disease to captive and wild deer and elk populations in the state.  Task force members include representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Health, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey/Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Penn State University/Cooperative Extension Offices.
The task force will carry out the response plan, which includes education and outreach with public meetings and minimizing risk factors through continued surveillance, testing and management.
CWD attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. It is transmitted by direct animal-to-animal contact through saliva, feces and urine.
Signs of the disease include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior such as stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk also may allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.
CWD was first discovered in Colorado captive mule deer in 1967, and has since been detected in 21 other states and two Canadian provinces, including Pennsylvania's neighboring states of New York, West Virginia and Maryland. Pennsylvania is the 22nd state to find CWD in a captive or wild deer population and the 13th state to have it only in a captive deer herd.
Surveillance for CWD has been ongoing in Pennsylvania since 1998. The Agriculture Department coordinates a mandatory CWD monitoring program for more than 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms, hobby farms and shooting preserves.
In addition, the Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and those that appear sick or behave abnormally. Since 1998, the Game Commission has submitted for testing more than 38,000 free-ranging deer and elk for CWD, and all have tested negative.
For more information from the departments of Agriculture and Health and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, visit:
- www.agriculture.state.pa.us (click on the "Chronic Wasting Disease Information" button on the homepage),
- www.pgc.state.pa.us (click on "CWD Info"), and www.health.state.pa.us (click on "Diseases and Conditions").
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission