CWD/Deer Crashes Top Headlines
Inside the Outdoors, December
28, 2012

I haven’t talked about chronic waste disease (CWD) in this column because it hasn’t hit near home or even the surrounding counties. But, it did make its presence known in a captive deer farm in Adams County in our state. Out of state, the disease has turned up in numerous states including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada. The infected deer may have had come in contact with deer coming down from the state of New York.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk, and moose in certain geographic locations. It attacks the brain that produces small lesions that eventually result in death, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

While CWD is similar to made cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep, there is no known relationship between it and any other animals or people.

Concerning the spreading of this disease, the PGC states, “It is believed that the agent responsible for the disease may be spread both directly (animal to animal contact), and indirectly (soil or other surface to animal) most likely through <ph the saliva and feces of infected animals or decomposing carcasses.”

It went on to state, “Animals that have this disease may not show signs of the disease in the early stages, which can last for years. However, as it progresses, infected animals begin to lose body functions, and display abnormal behaviors, such as staggering or failing to respond to threats like approach of humans or predators. Animals may stand with legs spread far apart, carry their head and ears lowered and often drool excessively. Some animals may become emaciated. Infected animals are often found near water and drink large quantities. It is important to note that these symptoms are characteristic of diseases other than CWD and that is why the diagnosis comes only after death,” the PGC said.

As for the deer/motor vehicle crashes, that’s another story.

According to Tom Fazi, information and education supervisor of the PGC, “I can tell you right now that Westmoreland County is well in the top ten of deer crashes in the state of Pennsylvania.” He went on to say that normally the Commission does not keep statistics of such incidents per county.

Statewide, motorists hit 11,571 deer on the roadways between July 1, 2011 and June 30 of this year, according to Jeff Mulhollen, editor of Outdoor News, December edition.

He was able to obtain this information from a leading auto insurance company.

Second was Michigan with 97,856, and New York, third, with the tallied accumulation of 80,262.

According to Mulhollen, the odds of Pennsylvania drivers hitting deer are “1 in 756.” He said, “That figure is based on the numbers of licensed drivers in the state and the number of deer struck ranks fifth in the nation.”

So the warning exists. 756 may seem like a high number, but drive a bit slower through wooded areas and you may be one avoiding being part of the statistics.

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According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, even though some of the state park lakes are on drawn down, stocking will go as planned for the February stocking. That should increase everyone’s chances of catching something depending on whether or not the ice is thick enough (wishful thinking, possibly).

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The PFBC recently released a list of the best places to fish for certain fish in the state. As a result, I have listed just the lakes that are in our proximity. They are as follow: Bluegill – Acme Dame, Northmoreland Lake; Crappie – Greenlick Reservoir, Lower Twin Lakes; Walleye – Lake Somerset; Bullheads – Yellow Creek Lake, Lake Somerset, and Acme Dam; Largemouth Bass – Green Lick Reservoir, Lake Somerset, and Mammoth Lake; Stocked Trout – Donegal Lake; and Tiger and Regular Musky – Keystone Lake.

Maybe this will provide a heads-up for future fishing.

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Happy New Year to everyone! Hope this finds you well and eager to get out in the great outdoors!


- Paul J. Volkmann
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