Stop baiting deer on southeast’s Red tag farms – it could spread CWD

Tom VeneskyLast April when the Pennsylvania Game Commission board approved the use of baiting (on a limited basis) on Red Tag farms in several southeastern counties during deer season, I didn't like it.

Hunting deer over bait isn't ethical, in my opinion, but ethics aside it's a dangerous proposition.

We all know that feeding deer congregates them. Baiting is essentially feeding, and it attracts numerous deer to a specific location when they come in close contact with each other.

And we all are well aware of what can happen when deer congregate in a small area with the chronic wasting disease issue in the southcentral region.

The Game Commission is also very aware of the potential consequences when deer congregate, that's why they have banned feeding within the Disease Management Area in portions of Adams and York counties — where two CWD cases have been discovered in captive deer.

In the Executive Order signed by commission Executive Director Carl Roe that implements the disease management area, feeding wild deer in the area is prohibited, "as the same tends to aggregate cervids, which increases the likelihood of spread of CWD."

Then why is baiting, i.e. feeding, allowed on Red Tag farms in the southeast?

Obviously the intent with legalized baiting in these areas is to attract more deer to one spot so more can be taken by hunters. But if CWD happens to spread into the wild deer herd of the region — undetected mind you — the baiting approach might work better than the board expected when it comes to reducing deer numbers in that part of the state.

Baiting is prohibited everywhere else in the state. It's time to again prohibit it on the Red Tag farms of the southeast as well. Let's manage those deer herds in ways other than setting up conduits for the spread of CWD. 

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, CWD, Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky

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