Two free-ranging deer were euthanized on the evening of July 26 in Ridgway Township, Elk County. The deer were discovered about 20 miles north of Disease Management Area 3, within the Commonwealth’s Elk Management Area.
Both deer had identification tags in their ears, indicating they were at one time part of a captive-deer herd. The Department of Agriculture manages deer farming operations in the Commonwealth.
The Commission has launched an investigation and will work with the state Department of Agriculture to determine ownership of these deer and to ascertain whether they escaped a facility or were intentionally released into the wild.
“The deer are currently being examined by the Commission’s wildlife veterinarian, who will conduct an initial test to determine whether either deer was infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD),” said Wayne Laroche, the Commission’s Special Assistant for CWD Response.
The discovery of deer from a captive herd in the wild raises significant concerns as the Commission attempts to combat the expansion of CWD.
“This is disturbing news following the discovery a CWD-positive wild deer earlier this month in DMA 3,” Laroche said. “With the Department of Agriculture’s assistance, we will do all in our power to sort out what happened quickly and take appropriate action.”
If you have seen these deer in recent days, or know from where they might have originated, please contact the Game Commission’s Northcentral Office at 570-398-4744, or 570-398-4745.