Both Facebook and Twitter are reporting that at the last meeting of the Game Commission, Jay Delaney, commissioner from District 7 in northeast Pennsylvania proposed that the boundary lines of WMU 3 be changed because of habitat and deer density issues.
Remember the rumpus it caused when dividing the state into WMU's was proposed, doing away with sending for antlerless licenses according to county?
It never was really a satisfactory solution because most everybody was of the opinion that the WMU's might be too large and have such diverse habitat that it was not really going to be a good management tool. So this move comes as no real surprise and I don't doubt that other WMU's will come under consideration too. Most who think about this issue agree that WMU's ought to be of a smaller size.
During the agency's board meeting last week, commissioners asked PGC staff to review the boundary lines of three WMUs in particular 2B, 2G and 3D in the northeast.
WMU 3D includes all of Monroe and Pike counties, and parts of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northampton and Wayne counties. In the western half of 3D there seems to be a huge issue with forest health and the amount of deer. So the PGC's Bureau of Wildlife Management and Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management will conduct the review of all WMUs. It's probably a good thing to do this and it probably will come eventually to all state WMU's.
Some alarming news came from the Game Commission reports this week. It seems that On Jan. 20,a hunter killed a deer that was later identified as having rabies. So that hunter has had to take a series of rabies shots since then.
Last summer, you may remember, more than the usual number of animals were found to be infected with rabies around the state. Even beavers were found aggressive, attacking fishermen boldly. Now it is a deer and this is a warning we need to listen to.
According to the reports, the hunter saw the deer standing and he heard it making growling and hissing noises.
They were so loud in fact that he thought there must be a coyote there harrassing the deer. He shot the deer and when he got to it he thought it looked strange but he went ahead an field-dressed it becoming more and more suspicious that something was wrong with it.
He contacted the Game Commission - this happened in Chester County - and reported that the deer he killed was not fit for human consumption. One look at the deer and the officers agreed. They sent the animal for the tests and sure enough it was positive for rabies.
Since the hunter had scratches on his hands and had field dressed the deer without wearing gloves, he was sent to begin the rabies shots. I am trying to remember the last time I ever heard of a rabid deer and I can't recall every having heard of such a thing.
The Game Commission is quick to remind us, however, that any animal is capable of contracting rabies. In the light of this report and remembering the many cases of rabies from last summer, we had all better brush up on the signs of the disease.
Any animal that acts in a strange/unusual manner, that is staggering, standing with head drooped, or acting in an unusually aggressive way, is to be avoided. Never should a deer be field dressed without your wearing gloves. I carry a set of rubber gloves in my pack always. I buy them at yard sales for a quarter a pair and they come in mighty handy.
This mild winter is a time to be especially alert since animals are wandering around freely searching for food and could show up in your yard or back porch at any time. Do not let children near them. Better safe than sorry is one cliche that we must put into practice.