PENNSYLVANIA BAN ON FEEDING AND LURING DEER – Deer hunters in Pennsylvania may be seeing new restrictions applied to their hunting strategy before the season opens. Two new proposals have been added to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Response Plan aimed at decreasing chronic wasting disease (CWD) among the state’s whitetail and elk population. The CWD Response Plan has proposed a statewide ban of feeding deer through corn or mineral licks and luring deer using urine-based and synthetic deer lures.
Why the Ban?
Understandably, the Game Commission stated within the CWD Response Plan that they are aware the proposed changes may be difficult for the public to accept but they have a responsibility to acknowledge CWD as a serious threat to the health of Pennsylvania’s deer and elk populations.
It is understood that CWD transmission occurs through direct animal-to-animal contact as well as through contaminated environments. The two proposed regulations hope to limit the unnatural congregation of deer. Especially the deer that may have an opportunity of transmitting the disease to each other.
“To date, DMAs (Disease Management Areas) cover more than 8,000 square miles of Pennsylvania and CWD has been detected in over 450 free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Commonwealth.” – CWD Response Plan
Logically, as CWD deaths among deer and elk populations rise, herd numbers will not be able to support the same level of hunter harvest. In addition, surveys conducted by the Game Commission found more than 20% of hunters in Pennsylvania would have a decreased interest in hunting if a CWD-positive animal was found on their hunting land.
“In order to maintain Pennsylvania’s deer and elk populations for the benefit of the ecosystem and the interests of all stakeholders, the Game Commission must act now.” – CWD Response Plan
Increased Hunter Harvest
Additionally, the most effective strategy to control CWD is to decrease the number of deer within infected areas. This will also slow transmission within the herd.
The CWD Response Plan also proposes to increase antlerless license allocations. Implement additional or extended deer hunting seasons. And lastly, the removal of antler point restrictions. These changes would depend on evaluations of deer populations.
The final CWD Response Plan will be presented to the Board of Commissioners for final approval in May 2020.
What are your thoughts on the proposed ban? Let us know in the comments!