Tomorrow is the opening day for section 4E tomorrow in PA for the firearm season. I read that the disease is starting to spread into PA. What signs can I look for in deer when they are on the hoof and after I shoot one? If I see one that shows symptoms of it should I shoot it? What should I do with it if I do get one that has it, worst case scenario?
The incidence rate of CWD will be very low in your area. The odds of you seeing or harvesting a deer with CWD are extremely low. I compliment you for desiring to be prepared! The best information about CWD can be found at the link here.
Deer in the early stages of CWD show no overt signs. They appear normal. Deer often incubate CWD for years. Deer that are closer to dying with CWD appear droopy, weak, not alert, etc. They will appear sick. Such deer (whether harvested or not) should be immediately reported to the local game and fish department. If you harvest such a deer, submit it to the local game and fish for testing.
CWD has never been shown to be transmitted to humans – NEVER. However, it’s always smart to wear gloves with dressing deer and not cut through the spinal column or other areas of the primary nervous system. I usually simply debone deer.
Don’t let the news scare you about CWD – check the link I shared and enjoy hunting!