Monday, March 18, 2019

New APHIS Pests & Disease Site Launched

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has launched a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources.

On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image.

APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources.

To visit the page, go to or click the Pests and Diseases link under the Resources tab on the APHIS homepage.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Deer and Chronic Wasting Disease - What do we Know

We have been hearing a lot about Chronic Wasting Disease in the news lately.  This disease has the possibility to completely change deer and deer and deer hunting in Pennsylvania.  The disease has not been shown to impact humans but we are still advised to have deer tested and to not eat positive infected animals.

Some news has recently surfaced, actually the results are a couple of years old, that the prions, or folded proteins, are symptomatic of a spiroplasma bacteria infection and not the actual cause of the disease.  We will have to wait and see if this is actually the case.  If so, the potential for a vaccine could be in the future.

Below is a time series map provided by the LSU Ag Center showing the presence of states and provinces with CWD detections in wild or captive cervids.

Below is a link to an article from the Cornell University Wildlife Health Lab by Dr. Krysten Schuler.  In this article Dr. Schuler lays out the evidence why prions are implicated in all transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases, including CWD.

Prion Hypothesis for CWD: An Examination of the Evidence
February 21, 2019

I also wanted to share with you the position statement of the Quality Deer Management Association. As of February 28, 2019 they still follow the prion theory for the cause of the disease.  "Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is caused by prions, and the scientific evidence is overwhelming. While it’s important to explore all potential solutions to this serious challenge, the spiroplasma theory is not new and has been thoroughly examined for years without verification. Nothing could be better news for deer hunters than the discovery of a cure for CWD, but the recent promises that a cure is coming soon have no basis in verified science."

The Centre Daily Times recently posted an excellent summary article. I provided a link to that article below.  In it, the author, Mark Nale, interviews Duane Diefenbach, the Leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State to get his take on the situation.

Read more here:

Chronic Wasting Disease Continues to Spread Among PA Deer
February 23, 2019

We will have to wait and see what the research tells us in the future.  Hopefully we can find a way to stop this awful disease impacting our state mammal and potentially our elk herd. In the mean time I encourage everyone to review and follow the recommendations of the PA Game Commission as we try to figure this out.  We need to work together to stop the spread of this disease.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019 Forest Landowners Conference

Working Woods for Today and Tomorrow

Owners of large and small woodlots can learn how to better manage and enjoy their property at the 4th biennial Forest Landowners Conference to be held March 22-23 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, PA. Sponsored by the Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners, this two-day event brings together the best tools, instructors, resources, and connections to equip Pennsylvania’s forest landowners with the ability to make informed decisions that ensure the present and future well-being of their woods. A carefully crafted lineup of presentations, keynote speakers, tours, workshops, and exhibitors will inspire, educate, and build the growing community of forest landowners committed to caring for their woods.

One of the main features of the conference is the nine learning sessions with 11 presentation offerings at each session. The breadth and diversity of presentation offerings provides attendees with the opportunity to learn about topics relevant to their needs and interests. Topics range from forest health, wildlife, water, financial, legacy planning, and small acreage opportunities to drones, charcoal, prescribed fire, pollinators, and wildlife diseases. For conference details and to register visit or call 1-877-778-2937.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Will Sunday Hunting in Pennsylvania become a Reality?

Sunday hunting bans are one of the last remaining examples of the puritanical blue laws that were initially designed to encourage church attendance. Today, most of the blue laws have been repealed. Pennsylvania is currently one of 3 states that either severely restricts or completely bans Sunday hunting. The other two states are ME and MA. Currently in Pennsylvania only fox, coyotes, and crows can be hunted on Sundays.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the State Senate Game and Fisheries Committee approved Senate Bill 147, legislation which would give the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners the authority to regulate hunting on Sundays.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission supports this legislation that would give the agency the authority to determine for which species Sunday hunting should be lawful. The legislation approved must pass the full Senate, the House of Representatives, and be signed by the Governor before it could become law.

The current prohibition on Sunday hunting is in state law, and the Game Commission does not have the authority to change it without legislative action. Please contact your local state representative and/or state senator on this topic.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania
Senate Bill No. 147
Session of 2019