HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Game Commission has made changes to the state’s Chronic Wasting Disease Management Areas including the creation of a new DMA, the expansion of an existing DMA, and reduction of an existing DMA.
The new DMA 8 was created as a response to two recent CWD detections in road-killed deer in Dauphin County. The newly established DMA includes portions of Dauphin, Lebanon, Northumberland, and Schuylkill counties, and is about 660 square miles in size. This was the first time CWD was detected in free-ranging deer on the east side of the Susquehanna River.
DMA 3 will expand following the detection of CWD in a road-killed adult female deer in Indiana County. The boundary will generally expand south to Route 259 near Brush Valley, south along Route 119 to Black Lick, west to Clarksburg and Shady Plain, and follow Route 210 north to meet the current boundary. DMA 3 is located in western Pennsylvania and includes portions of Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Indiana and Jefferson counties.
The size of DMA 4 in Lancaster County will be reduced this year after the area around the original CWD-positive captive facility went five consecutive years without any additional CWD detections. The northern boundary will be retracted to Interstate 76 while the remainder of the DMA stays the same. CWD has not been detected among free-ranging deer in DMA 4.
DMA 8 opportunities
Because DMA 8 is new, those who live and hunt in the area will need to become familiar with the regulations now in place there to help limit the human-assisted spread of CWD.
For hunters, there also will be additional opportunities to harvest antlerless deer in DMA 8.
Within DMA 8, the Game Commission is using the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to increase the antlerless deer harvest around the sites where CWD-positive deer were detected. Hunters are able to get additional permits to hunt and harvest antlerless deer there.
The new DMAP unit associated with DMA 8 is DMAP Unit 6396. The unit is more than 140,000 acres, located within Dauphin, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties and includes portions of State Game Lands 210 and 211, and all of State Game Lands 264. A map of DMAP Unit 6396 will be available at the DMAP participating properties page at www.pgc.pa.gov.
CWD regulations and testing
With CWD detections on the rise, antlerless deer license allocations for the upcoming hunting season were increased in Wildlife Management Units affected by CWD. The harvest numbers will then be monitored to determine if the increase in allocation was sufficient to meet management goals. If not, other options will need to be considered, including extending the season length in these areas to create more opportunities for hunters.
The Game Commission conducts road-killed deer surveillance year-round so there is potential for the boundaries to change prior to the hunting seasons. Be sure to check online for the most up-to-date boundaries.