How does Pennsylvania’s deer-parts ban impact out-of-state hunters?

With Maryland’s archery deer season already underway as of Sept. 7, New York’s season kicking off Sept. 27, and Ohio and West Virginia opening on the same day as Pennsylvania (Sept. 29), it is important for Keystone State deer hunters traveling out of state to understand the high-risk deer part importation ban, passed earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Deer harvested in any of the aforementioned states can no longer be brought back whole, due to concerns about spreading chronic wasting disease to even more areas of the state. That means hunters who live close to the border and/or travel into one of these four states cannot by law harvest a deer, field dress it, and load it in the back of a pickup and drive back to Pennsylvania to butcher the deer here.

According to the new regulations, Pennsylvanians who harvest deer anywhere in New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia either must have them processed in those states or remove the high-risk parts before bringing the meat and other low-risk parts back into Pennsylvania.

High-risk parts include the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and any lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft tissue is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord tissue; unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides.

Realistically, quartered or deboned deer meat brought back in a cooler is acceptable as long as none of the high-risk parts – especially the spinal cord/backbone and head – are included. However, the question for those hunting public land is: How are those parts to be disposed of in each respective state, if hunters plan to butcher/quarter their own deer in the field before heading home?

It is up to each individual hunter to determine the legal and appropriate measures for disposing of high-risk parts in the state they intend to hunt, or take their harvested deer to a butcher in that state before importing venison to Pennsylvania.

Not only does this ban apply to the four neighboring states listed above, but many others, and it includes all cervids. It affects hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose, mule deer and other cervids in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

While intended to protect the Pennsylvania deer herd’s health and well-being, this ban has the potential to drastically impact the thousands of hunters who travel outside the state to deer hunt each year.

To help the public better understand chronic wasting disease and what it means for Pennsylvania’s deer and deer hunting, the Game Commission is taking part in several informational events across the three areas of the state where the disease has been detected and special rules are in place. To date, the following events are scheduled:

Tuesday, Sept. 18 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Jefferson County, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about chronic wasting disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Brookville Heritage House; Brookville, Pa.

Wednesday, Sept. 19 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Clearfield County, 6 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about chronic wasting disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Mahaffey Fire Hall; Mahaffey, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Sullivan County, 7 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question-and-answer session. DCNR Forestry Building; LaPorte, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lebanon County, 6:30 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question-and-answer session. Myerstown Rod & Gun Club; Myerstown, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lackawanna County, 5 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question-and-answer session. Dickson City Borough Hall; Dickson City, Pa.

Friday, Sept. 21 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Indiana County, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about chronic wasting disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Marion Center Park Hall; Marion Center, Pa.

Saturday, Sept. 22 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Jefferson County, 9 a.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. Jefferson County Fairgrounds; Brookville, Pa.

Wednesday, Sept. 26 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Cumberland County, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During the event, hunters and non-hunters have the opportunity to visit the informational stations at their own pace. Game Commission staff will be present at each station to answer additional questions. Shippensburg Fish and Game Club; Shippensburg, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 27 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Jefferson County, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about chronic wasting disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Brockway High School; Brockway, Pa.

Thursday, Oct. 18 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lancaster County, 6 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question-and-answer session. (Location to be determined); Denver, Pa.

Additional programs could be scheduled and, if so, they’ll be added to Upcoming Events page at the Game Commission’s website.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, CWD, Pennsylvania – Tyler Frantz, Whitetail Deer

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