Clearfield County, PA – After a wild deer was found in Clearfield County with Chronic Wasting Disease, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is taking action to stop the disease from spreading any further.

A wildlife officer shot a deer in Bell Township, Clearfield County, on June 7 after it showed signs of being sick. It tested positive for CWD, which is a fatal neurological disease that can spread quickly through deer and elk populations.

At a press conference held by the Game Commission, they stressed that action had to be taken immediately in the affected area.

They say that state-employed sharpshooters will shoot the deer in the immediate area surrounding where CWD was found in Clearfield County. The infected deer likely spread it to others, and this is a way of keeping the disease from spreading.

All of the deer harvested within the area where the infected deer was found will be tested for the disease. Any deer that are disease-free will be donated to local food banks.

This case of CWD is surprising because the disease has now spread to a free-ranging deer in an area of the state where the disease had previously only been found in captive deer. Other free-ranging deer have tested positive in Bedford, Blair and Cambria Counties.

The infected deer was found in the center of the 350-square-mile Disease Management Area 3 where surveillance is already being done. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture says they will increase surveillance in the area but won’t need to expand the coverage area.

Part of the increased survey of CWD in the area will include allowing more Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits for hunters. Each hunter can purchase no more than two DMAP permits. They are sold anywhere that hunting licenses are sold. The DMAP permits can be used to take antlerless deer on public and private land within the DMA 3 location, which includes Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana Counties.

Data from the permits will be used to gather information about Chronic Wasting Disease. All road-kill deer that wildlife officers find are also already tested for the disease.