Mike Hopper / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
A white-tailed buck with chronic wasting disease looks emaciated and lethargic.
Pennsylvania hunters are known for traveling well; they fill many an out-of-state camp each and every year.
This fall likely has been and will be no different.
Except for one thing — the rules have changed in terms of what hunters can bring home, and from where.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced this week that Ohio has been added to the list of states from which high-risk parts – including the head and backbone – from white-tailed and mule deer, elk, moose and caribou cannot be imported. That’s in response to the discovery of CWD in Ohio last year.
That’s not all.
Hunters can’t bring high-risk cervid parts into Pennsylvania from anywhere within Maryland, New York, Virginia and West Virginia either. Previously, the prohibition applied only to the portions of those states where CWD had been identified.
Matt Hough, executive director of the commission, said the changes will make enforcement easier. More importantly, he added, they’re meant to protect Pennsylvania’s deer herd.
“We understand that Pennsylvania hunters, and especially those who live near the state’s borders, frequently travel across state lines to hunt deer or other cervids. This expanded ban will inconvenience them, just as successful hunters traveling out of Pennsylvania’s disease management areas are inconvenienced,” Hough said.
But the possible spread of CWD is such a “serious issue” that leaves hunters no choice but to adapt, he added.
“The consequences of spreading CWD has potential to jeopardize the future of deer hunting in Pennsylvania,” Hough said.
With the changes, there are now 22 states and two Canadian provinces from which high-risk cervid parts – brains, tonsils, eyes, skull plates with attached antlers if there’s any tissue present, spinal cords, and the like — cannot be imported. They are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Hunters can bring back meat from harvested animals so long as the backbone is not present. Antlers and hides can come home, too, so long as they’re clean.