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DNR Issues Advisory On Chronic Wasting Disease

October 9th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that chronic wasting diseaseregulations were updated earlier this year after five white-tailed deer tested positive for the disease in Allegany County. One of the deer was harvested near Cumberland, approximately 10 miles west of all previous cases. It was the first documented case outside of the original management area.

In response to this finding, thedisease management area has been expanded to include all of Allegany County and the western portion of Washington County. Hunters are reminded they cannot transport whole carcasses or parts of deer harvested from within the management area to locations outside of its boundaries, except as described below:

  • Antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached;
  • Cleaned hide with no head attached;
  • Deer being transported directly to meat processors, taxidermists or landfills;
  • Finished taxidermy mounts or tanned hides;
  • Hind quarters and front shoulders with no spinal column or backbone attached;
  • Meat with no part of the spinal column, backbone or head attached; and,
  • Skull plate cleaned of all meat and brain tissue.

The department has also lifted the ban on baiting and feeding deer on private land within the management area in an effort to keep hunters engaged in the region.

“Hunters remain a key part of our chronic wasting disease management plan,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “Participation by deer hunters is essential to maintaining deer numbers at healthy levels that can help slow the spread of the disease. We shall continue to monitor this disease closely through annual sampling to keep hunters and the public informed of its status.”

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence that humans are susceptible. A total of 11 deer have tested positive for the disease in Maryland since 2010, all within Allegany County. Unfortunately the disease is well entrenched in the broader region including adjacent areas in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

“The presence of this naturally-occurring disease should not concern the public or stop hunters from enjoying the season or any venison they may acquire or consume,” Peditto said.

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