NDA Calls For Pennsylvania Game Commission to Oversee Captive Deer Shooting Facilities

The National Deer Association is calling for full authority over Pennsylvania’s captive deer shooting facilities to be transferred from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

On April 11, PGC announced the creation of a new chronic wasting disease management area (DMA) and the expansion of two existing DMAs. The new DMA 7 was created when CWD was detected at a captive deer facility in Lycoming County. The DMA represents the fifth of seven DMAs to be created due to a captive facility. 

“Each CWD-positive facility negatively impacts tens of thousands of hunters and Pennsylvania’s wild deer,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “PGC has the biological and law enforcement staff necessary for captive deer shooting facility oversight, and full authority over these facilities would help protect the state’s wild deer resource and the $1.6 billion that hunting contributes to Pennsylvania’s economy annually.”

Captive deer facilities in Pennsylvania must be enrolled in the PDA’s herd monitoring program (HMP). According to PDA, the HMP is a mandatory program of surveillance and related actions designed to monitor farmed or captive deer and elk herds for CWD. There is also a more rigorous, but voluntary, herd certification program (HCP). Most of the state’s 723 captive shooting facilities are in the HMP. Unfortunately, 10 herds in the HCP and 25 herds in the HMP are now CWD-positive, and the number continues to climb. Eighteen of those captive facilities still have deer on them. This is completely unacceptable from a disease management standpoint, and it continues to threaten Pennsylvania’s wild deer resource and all the Keystone State’s deer and elk enthusiasts. For more information on PDA programs and CWD-positive facilities click here.

Transferring responsibilities for administering and enforcing statutes and rules related to captive deer shooting facilities from PDA to PGC will ensure uniformity and efficiency in managing deer and CWD in the state. Currently, PDA has authority over captive deer, while PGC has authority over wild deer. Transfer of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s authority over captive deer shooting facilities to the Pennsylvania Game Commission will help protect Pennsylvania’s wildlife resources and limit the spread of CWD and the number of sportsmen and women negatively impacted by it.