What is Chronic Wasting Disease?

The state of Pennsylvania offers large tracts of land where resident and nonresident hunters alike can track and hunt all sorts of game, such as deer, boar and many more creatures. However, an experienced hunter knows that there are many safety considerations to take into account before grabbing a gun and heading out into the wilderness. One such aspect to consider is whether there’s any threat that the game being hunted is diseased.


In recent years, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has been grappling with the onset of chronic wasting disease (CWD) present in game harvests taken from across the state. CWD is an illness occurring in deer, elk and moose that always ends in fatality by the time the disease has run its course.


This illness is not known to be contagious to humans, but the state’s Game Commission is interested in lowering the occurrences of deer-to-deer transmission, a process that hunting may encourage. To determine the rate of infection for this disease, the Game Commission will be testing samples from harvested and road-killed deer all over the state. The commission will collect about 1,000 samples from two different disease management areas (DMA) within Pennsylvania.


The Game Commission has relaxed some rules that had been put in place to stop the spread of CWD and protect humans against contamination. The state used to mandate that hunters who had killed game within a DMA to bring that harvest to a Game Commission office for testing. Hunters can still bring the head of their kill to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s laboratory in Harrisburg if they want their sample tested for CWD. The state still mandates that high-risk deer parts must be disposed from a kill if the deer was caught within a DMA. These high-risk parts include the brain, eyes, tonsils and lymph nodes.


Staying safe while out on the hunting trail involves a lot more than just proper gun handling and safety precautions. Make sure you get the inside scoop on game disease and other health concerns before you bring down your first catch. Tioga Boar Hunting will help you stay aware of any important disease information that may impact your hunting excursion.