Free-range deer found with CWD in Clearfield County

Staff Writer

CLEARFIELD COUNTY — Chronic wasting disease has spread to free-ranging deer in an area of the state where it previously had been detected only in captive deer.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced on Wednesday that a free-ranging whitetail buck in Bell Township, Clearfield County, has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

A news conference about the new CWD-positive deer and the Game Commission’s response will be held at noon Thursday at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters. The news conference will be available to view on the Game Commis-sion’s social media pages.

The CWD-positive buck was shot by a wildlife conservation officer on June 7 on State Game Lands 87, because it showed signs of being diseased. Preliminary tests indicated the buck was CWD-positive, and the final results confirm the buck was infected with CWD, which always is fatal to deer and elk.

The buck was within Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3), which was established in 2014 after surveillance by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture detected CWD at two captive deer facilities in Jefferson County.

Because this buck was located near the center of the 350-square-mile DMA 3, the DMA will not need to expand. However, the Game Commission is immediately taking steps to increase CWD surveillance within DMA 3.