Latest CWD news not grabbing headlines

Tom VeneskyLast fall when chronic wasting disease was discovered in a few captive deer on a farm in Adams County, it sent shockwaves through the hunting community. For weeks, the discovery of the disease captured headlines in magazines and newspapers, generated a ton of questions from hunters and deer farmers and put the state Ag Department to work around the clock addressing the issue.

There was a lot of attention to the discovery of CWD in Pennsylvania, and rightly so. And one of the things I remember the Pennsylvania Game Commission reiterating the entire time was that the disease has not been found in wild deer.

Captive only.

I took it as the agency's way of reassuring us that, yes CWD is here, but hey, at least it's not in our wild deer herd. It could be worse, right?

Well, earlier this month it did get worse when the agency confirmed that three deer killed by hunters during the firearms deer season last year tested positive for CWD.

The positive deer came from Blair County (two) and Bedford County (one). But that's not all that important, because no matter where you hunt in the state, you should be concerned. If CWD is in the wild deer herd, it could pop up in any county eventually.

The thing that I find puzzling is the recent news didn't create the buzz that the initial CWD finding did last October. Sure, it wasn't entirely a surprise to state biologists that the disease showed up Bedford County. After all, a CWD outbreak occurred in Maryland just 11 miles away.

But soon after the discovery of CWD in our wild deer, the headlines faded. They gave way to the next big issue, as often happens in the news business. That's a shame, because this is something that should remain at the forefront.

It's very likely that the disease spread from Maryland into Bedford County. Where is it going to spread to next? Could it appear in the northern part of the state? Sure. After all, chronic wasting disease has turned up in New York state. Could CWD appear in any county in any region of the state?  Absolutely.

In my opinion, it could happen through natural progression, an infected deer escaping from a farm or even a bottle of deer urine poured on the ground by an unsuspecting hunter.

It's not difficult for the disease to spread, yet it appears it's not that easy to stop it.

That's why we should all be concerned and it's also the main reason to keep the CWD issue in the news. 

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, CWD

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