New hunting permit part of CWD response

Harrisburg — The Pennsyl­vania Game Commission is enlisting assistance from hunters in an effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The Game Commission has developed a permit that can be used to hunt antlerless deer, but can be used only within the boundaries of what is known as Disease Management Area 2 – the lone area of the state where chronic wasting disease has been detected in free-ranging deer.

A total of 13,000 permits will be made available with the intention of reducing the deer population by one deer per square mile in Disease Management Area 2 – or  DMA 2.

Responding to a need identified by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, the permits seek to focus hunting pressure inside the Disease Management Area, where deer numbers must be kept in check to slow the potential spread of chronic wasting disease.

At the same time, the permit system enables the Game Commission to avoid a reduction in the deer herd in the area surrounding DMA 2 – where the disease has not been detected.

DMA 2 includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Cambria and Fulton counties. The DMA lies within wildlife management units 4A, 4D and 2C.

“We hope the creation of this permit will better help to satisfy objectives of addressing the deer population within the Disease Management Area and outside it,” said Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough.

“Our appointed game commissioners continually seek input from the hunters and trappers in their respective regions, and hunters in Unit 4A – a large portion of which is within the Disease Management Area – have been requesting an increase in deer numbers.

“While our CWD Manage­ment Plan guides us to increase the antlerless deer harvest in areas where CWD has been detected in free-ranging deer, it doesn’t mean we have to decrease the deer population throughout an entire WMU, or as in this case, a number of WMUs,” Hough said.

“The permits allow us to more precisely direct hunting pressure into the area that most needs additional deer harvests.”

There are some differences between the application process for a Disease Management Area 2 permit and that for an antlerless license.

Only residents and nonresidents ages 12 and older with valid general hunting licenses may apply for permits. Participants in Mentored Youth and Mentored Adult hunting programs are ineligible to make application, and the permits cannot be transferred to participants in those programs.

Each permit costs $6.70, and payments must be made by credit card, or check or money order made payable to the “Pennsylvania Game Com­mission.”

Applications for DMA 2 permits will be accepted in two ways – electronically through the Game Commission’s Outdoor Shop, or by mail.

Those wishing to send applications by mail can obtain an application form at the Game Commission’s website, the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters or any region office.

The application schedule is similar to that for antlerless deer licenses, however, residents and nonresidents can apply on the same dates in all rounds.

Applications will be accepted beginning July 14. 

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