Following the first positive test for Chronic Wasting Disease last fall and the discovery of three hunter-killed deer with the disease, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has established a second Disease Management Area that covers four counties.
The new Disease Management Area covers parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties. The first DMA included Adams and York counties after a captive deer tested positive for the fatal disease last October in Adams County.
One deer escaped from the farm and infected the local wild population.
Under the DMA restrictions: it is illegal to remove or export high-risk cervid parts – including head, spine, spleen; all cervids killed within the DMA are subject to testing by the commission; deer withing the DMA cannot be rehabilitated, including injured or orphaned animals; the use or possession of cervid urine-based attractants is prohibited; direct or indirect feeding of wild, free-ranging deer is illegal and no new commission permits will be issued to possess or transport live cervids.
The reason for the restrictions on all cervids, of which deer are just one part, is because some game farms also stock elk and moose, which are affected by CWD as well.
Road-killed deer in the DMA can be picked up under certain circumstances. Those looking to do so must call the regional office for approval.
Combined, the two DMAs cover nearly 1,500 miles.
CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose. It is transmitted by direct animal-to-animal contact, such as saliva, feces and urine, or indirectly by exposure to a contaminated environment. The disease is fatal to cervids, and there is no treatment or vaccine.
It was first detected in mule deer in Colorado in 1967 and has now been detected in 22 states and two Canadian provinces.
Given the spread of the disease, and that it is already present in New York, West Virginia and Maryland, it seemed inevitable that CWD would reach Pennsylvania.
The trick now is to keep the disease from spreading statewide, something the DMAs are set up to help accomplish.
• According to the National Park Service, a section of the Rend Trail in New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia will be closed this summer for repairs.
A large hole has compromised the integrity of a retaining wall along the Rend Trail, causing an 800-foot section to be closed down while repairs take place.
The section will be closed June 3 and will reopen Sept. 28.
• With more people outdoors, not only hunting and fishing, but hiking, camping or just doing yard work, there is an increased opportunity to contract Lyme disease.
Because of this, May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Since 2002, 280,000 Americans have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, including 30,000 last year.
Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer ticks. The disease can can cause lifelong issues such as arthritis, fatigue and neurological deficits.
Always check yourself and your children and pets after spending time outside, especially in grassy areas or woods.
When outdoors, wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, not shorts, and light-colored clothing. If you can, tuck your pants inside your boots. Spray clothing and exposed skin with 20 percent DEET.
If you do find a tick, the best way to remove it is with a clean pair of tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the head as possible and pull it out using steady, constant pressure. Don’t yank it off since that can leave the head or mouth imbedded in the skin.
Crushing, poking, burning, twisting or otherwise disturbing the tick is not recommended.
After the tick has been removed, keep an eye on the bite site. Trouble signs include chills, fever, flu-like feelings, headache, joint pain, nausea or vomiting, rashes, redness around the affected area, swelling (particularly in the armpit, groin or neck lymph nodes), vertigo and more.
If you experience any of these signs, see a physician.
Outdoors Editor F. Dale Lolley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.