Deer bucks

Deer graze in Pequea Township's Silver Mine Park in this 2017 file photo.

In an effort to control the spread of disease among the state’s wildlife, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is weighing a ban on feeding deer and turkeys.

The move would expand current regulations that prohibit the feeding of bear and elk.

The commission says feeding can escalate the concentration of game in a small area and can increase the spread Chronic Wasting Disease, mange and tuberculosis.

An advisory committee has expressed “broad support” for a ban on feeding deer and turkey, but did not want to ban the feeding of all wildlife because it didn’t want to interfere with the public’s use of bird feeders.

Before making a final decision on the proposed deer and turkey ban, the game commission wants to hear from the public. So it is holding a series of public open houses, one of which will be held in Reading on Tuesday evening, July 23.

The session will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the commission’s southeast regional office at 253 Snyder Road, Reading.

Other open houses are being held through Aug. 8 in Jersey Shore, Dallas, Warren, Huntingdon and Delmont.

The open houses will include exhibits explaining the problem, and will allow for members of the public to share concerns and ask questions.

In addition to supporting a ban on feeding deer and turkeys, the advisory committee “also supported banning the use of urine (both natural and synthetic), scents and lures used to hunt big game,” according to the game commission.

As drafted, the proposed regulation states:

“It is unlawful to intentionally lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals anywhere in this Commonwealth for the purpose of feeding big game to include Elk, Deer, Bear and Turkey, or to intentionally lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals that may cause big game to congregate or habituate an area. If otherwise lawful feeding is attracting big game, the Commission may provide written notice prohibiting the activity.”