Curtis Knaub of Conewago Township raises a question about the farm where a deer infected with chronic wasting disease was found during a public meeting Thursday at the York Expo Center. Members of the state Department of Agriculture and Game Commission gave a presentation about the disease before answering questions. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - KATE PENN)
Dave Griswold, assistant state veterinarian, left, answers a question as Mathew Meals, deputy secretary for animal agriculture, looks on Thursday at the York Expo Center at a meeting about chronic wasting disease. ( DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - KATE PENN)
York, PA -
No one is calling it a doomsday scenario for Pennsylvania's wild deer herd.
Not yet at least.
But the first presence of chronic wasting disease from a deer in the state of Pennsylvania has created concern for hunters in York and Adams counties. Two captive deer from New Oxford have tested positive for the disease.
More than 100 hunters listened to a near-hour long presentation by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on CWD at the York Expo Center Thursday night. Hours after the meeting began, hunters continued to ask questions about the disease and what type of impact it would have on this year's rifle season.
"If it gets out (in the wild population) ... are you familiar with what happened in Wisconsin?" Carl Leatherly of Dover Township asked. "They killed (thousands of deer) and they still have it. Once it's here, it's here."
CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the neurological systems of deer, elk and moose. The disease has a long incubation period, sometimes taking years to manifest itself in telling signs like emaciation and excessive drooling. In fact, one of the captive deer that tested positive for CWD in Pennsylvania was a healthy-looking 2-year-old that weighed about 200 pounds.
Calvin DuBrock, Game Commission director of wildlife management, explained that since the disease is passed through a misshapen protein - or prion - and not through a virus or bacteria, the disease has been proven to spread directly and indirectly. Infected prions can remain in the soil, capable of spreading the disease for 16 years or more.
The only way to eradicate those prions in the soil is extreme and sustained heat - 1, 500 degrees for more than 15 minutes - DuBrock said.
"This is a tough one, " DuBrock remarked about eradicating the disease.
When CWD reaches a wild herd, it can thin out a robust herd, DuBrock said, because the disease is difficult to isolate and infected animals stop breeding as they normally would.
"I don't want people to panic, " Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said, "because there are lot of Pennsylvania hunters who go out to Colorado and hunt in areas that have had (CWD) for 40 some years. Is it something to be concerned about for people who consume the meat? Yes. We want people to be concerned and aware but not panic.
Rockingham Fishing & Hunting Expo
Rockingham Fishing and Hunting Expo
The First, the Biggest and the Best in NH.
Currently the Largest and Longest Continually Operating Sporting Expo in NH
Jan 11-13, 2008
Fri. 11th: 3 pm - 9 pm
Sat. 12th: 10 am - 6 pm
Sun. 13th: 10 am - 5 pm FREE PARKING!!
Adult Admission Fee: $8.00
Ages15 and under: $3.00
Ages 5 and under: Free
Rockingham Park, Rockingham Park Blvd.,Salem, (Tax FREE) NH - Exit 1 off I93
(Across the street from th