Free-range deer in new area found with wasting disease

MAHAFFEY, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Game Commission says chronic wasting disease has spread to free-ranging deer in an area of the commonwealth whether it was earlier only found in captive deer.

The commission said a free-ranging whitetail buck in Clearfield County’s Bell Township in central Pennsylvania tested positive for the disease. Officials are particularly concerned because the buck shot June 7 was on state game lands near the commonwealth’s elk range.

The commission plans to increase testing and will use sharpshooters to try to stop the spread of the disease, which already exists among wild deer in south-central Pennsylvania.

The neurological condition is fatal to deer, elk and moose. Officials say there’s no strong evidence that it can be transmitted to humans, but hunters are advised not to eat meat from infected animals.

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