In effort to slow down the increasing effects of CWD, the Keystone State plans to eliminate 2,000-5,000 whitetail deer.
Chronic wasting disease is becoming more of a concern by the day. Despite strong efforts from state wildlife agencies, it's beginning to seem as though nothing will reverse the trend. So, Pennsylvania has decided to take an extreme approach.
With the help of sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Team, the Pennsylvania Game Commission plans remove 2,000-5,000 whitetail deer in southern Blair and northern Bedford counties, according to a report from WJACTV.
The state offered hunters the first crack at helping by issuing more deer tags for the Disease Management Area, but the rest of the wild deer will be left to the large-scale cull.
However, the decision cut down the whitetail population has the deer hunting community up in arms, which comes as no surprise.
"You're going to be lucky to see a deer (after the removal operation). There's no doubt about it," local hunter Matt Johnson told WJACTV.
Jay Gregory, known for hosting 'The Wild Outdoors" on Outdoor Channel, also voiced an opinion on the state's decision, claiming other states have failed using similar strategies.
"They're going to kill 2,000 deer on the off chance that they are right but they have no proof that they are," he said in the report. "It's so mind-blowing to everybody that they try these same ways of doing things and it just makes no sense.
"Mother nature would make way more sense than that. Just leave it alone."
CWD, first discovered in Colorado in the 1960s, is a neurodegenerative disease that's always fatal, as there's still no way to treat it. So, finding a solution is most definitely time-sensitive. CWD-positive deer have already surfaced in 24 states.
There's still no evidence of CWD having an effect on humans, although officials advise against eating meat from any infected deer, elk, moose or caribou.
The USDA Wildlife Services Team is scheduled to begin the culling process in February or March.
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