As of Tuesday, Pink 23 was still roaming the woodlands and fields of south central Pennsylvania. But there's a warrant out for this white-tailed deer's demise. She was the lone escapee of a captive deer farm being euthanized in eastern Adams County, Pa., due to its exposure to chronic wasting disease.
Hunters are urged to keep an eye out for the doe still sporting its yellow ear tag. Pennsylvania Game Commission officers have spotted her, but were unable to take a safe shot. Commission Spokesman Jerry Feaser says: "We would give a replacement tag to any hunter who lawfully harvests that deer."
CWD deer's long tail
Last week, the list of deer farms under Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture quarantine grew to a dozen, as the agency continued its "trace out" to find other deer that might have had contact with the state's first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease.
As part of Pennsylvania's CWD response plan, the Ag Department is tracking down all deer at other captured deer farms having direct or indirect contact with the farm having the confirmed CWD case. Those cervid farms now under quarantine are in Adams, York and Lycoming County. And hunters within a 600-square-mile zone around the Adams and York county farms are required to have their tagged deer checked at Game Commission stations.
And the tracing isn't over. Assistant State Veterinarian David Griswold estimates that the impact of the one CWD-infected deer could hit a hundred farms across the state. That's because, he says, "Deer farmers in Pennsylvania tend to move a lot of deer."
Pink 23 may or may not have the wasting disease. Test results from the nine deer that were killed on the farm won't be known for several weeks yet.
But should it have the disease, this is "absolutely" the worst time of year for it to have escaped and be roaming around, It's a potential threat to the state's wild deer herd, contends Kip Adams, outreach coordinator for the Quality Deer Management Association in Pennsylvania.
The rut, or breeding season for deer, is about to get into full swing. And, Adams says, in the weeks leading up to that time, bucks and does travel much further and come into contact with more deer than usual. "If you had to pick the one worst time of year for something like this to happen, this would be it," concludes Adams.