The discovery of a 10th captive deer to test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prompted a informational meeting between The Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee and officials from the state Department of Agriculture and the Game Commission, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death.
The disease was first discovered on a captive deer farm two years ago. Currently, 31 captive deer farms across the state are quarantined, where deer cannot be moved on or off the properties.
There is no evidence that humans or livestock can get the disease. However, as a precaution, hunters are advised to not eat meat from animals known to be infected with CWD, Cox said. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers to test game — for a fee — that may be infected with the disease. Information on testing can be found here.
For more information on CWD, including precautions hunters should take this season, click here.
Commissioners of the Pennsylvania Game Commission voted to change the length of the firearms deer season in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 4C, which contains portions of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, Luzerne, Carbon and Lehigh counties, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
Hunters in WMU 4C will have seven days of concurrent hunting for antlered and antlerless deer in the 2014-15 deer firearms season.
With this new format, hunters may take only antlered deer during the first five days of the firearm season, which starts Dec. 1. Both antlered and antlerless deer may be taken from the first Saturday to the close of the season.
This means hunters may not take a doe or other antlerless deer during the first five days of the hunting season. If a hunter has a valid doe tag for WMU 4C, he or she may take either a buck (antlered) or doe (antlerless) deer starting on the first Saturday and ending at the close of the hunting season.
Fall marks breeding season for deer, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129) which makes them an autumn road hazard about which Pennsylvanians must be especially aware.
He notes that they are especially active, between sunset and sunrise.
Cox said if a dead deer presents an obvious safety hazard on state roadways, motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to have the deer removed.
For what it’s worth, road-killed deer may be claimed by state residents regardless of whether the person picking up the deer was the one who hit it or if he had already shot one during the hunting seasons. Permission to pick up the deer isn’t required. However, anyone who claims a highway-killed deer must apply to the Game Commission for a free permit within 24 hours from the time the deer is claimed. The permit can be applied for over the telephone. Call the regional office serving the county where the deer is claimed to make application and for more details.
In should be noted that road-kill cuisine is not uncommon in the United States.
Cox also noted that falling leaves, lower sun angles, wet roads, fog, and frost also make fall driving less than ideal.
All drivers are encouraged to slow down and use extra caution, as roadways and bridges may be icy or wet, he said. Drivers are also encouraged to allow extra following distance between vehicles and to the stay in the right lane unless they are actively and safely passing another vehicle.
PennDOT also recommends ensuring your vehicle is kept in proper working order: make sure all lights on the vehicle are working, tire tread is sufficient, and that heating and wiper systems are operating effectively. It is also recommended to clean the inside of the vehicle’s windshield to reduce glare.
For more tips on handling the fall driving conditions, click here.
With the hunting season underway, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has safety tips to offer to first-time hunters, and those who have not been hunting in the past several years, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
• Hunters should always identify the target, do not shoot at sounds or movement. Young observers should dress appropriately as well, following the rules.
• Wear the mandated amount of florescent orange clothing and stay in the zone, do not shoot at game moving between hunters.
• Scouting hunting areas is always best, plan where to hunt, and hunt where you plan.
• Use a map and compass or a GPS unit. This way you can be found in case of an accident.
• Carry a basic survival kit and know how to use it.
Pennsylvania hunters and sportsmen are encouraged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to consider participating in the state’s Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program, which provides donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens and families in need, reports state Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
Started in 1991, HSH has developed into a refined support service for organizations that assist Pennsylvanians in need. Each year, Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps to deliver almost 200,000 meals to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs.
As part of the program, hunters are encouraged to take a deer to a participating meat processor and identify how much of their deer meat to donate to HSH. If an individual is donating an entire deer, he or she is asked to make a $15 tax-deductible co-pay, and HSH will cover the remaining processing fees. However, a hunter can cover the entire costs of the processing, which is also tax deductible.
To learn more about the program and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the HSH website.
Pennsylvania’s HSH program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states.
As the Pennsylvania hunting seasons get into full swing, the Commonwealth has a new law ensuring that property owners are not held responsible for hunting violations committed by those who are granted permission to hunt on their land, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
The old law could be interpreted to mean landowners could be held liable for the actions of hunters who committed violations of hunting law on their property.
The House amended the bill to protect against liability unless the landowners aid, abet, assist, attempt or conspire in the commission of any unlawful act committed on their land.