buck and doe

White-tailed deer stand at attention in a Pennsylvania field.

With archery season kicking off Saturday, Sept. 29, in most of Pennsylvania, the state Game Commission has released a map of butchers, taxidermists and parts collection bins approved for Disease Management Area 4.

DMA 4 covers part of northeast Lancaster County, from New Holland to Middle Creek, as well as parts of southern Lebanon and western Berks counties.

It was created earlier this year after deer on a Denver-area deer farm were found to have chronic wasting disease.

The creation of a DMA affects hunters who hunt within the area’s boundaries, since the Game Commission forbids hunters from taking certain high-risk deer parts out of the zone.

Let’s say you shoot a deer within DMA 4. You cannot remove from that zone the head, skull plate with antlers attached if visible brain material is present, spinal cord, spleen, cape if visible brain or spinal cord material is present, upper canine teeth if root structure or other soft material is present, or any other part with visible brain or spinal cord material on it.

Basically, you’d have to completely butcher the deer on site to take meat home, and you’d have take several precautions to be able to remove any kind of trophy parts for mounting.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you are directed to dispose of your high-risk parts in special collection bins placed by the Game Commission. There are three of these in DMA 4 – at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area off Hopeland Road, just north of the Lebanon-Lancaster line; at the Blue Marsh Lake Sheidy Road Parking Area in North Heidelberg Township, Berks County; and at the State Game Lands 274 parking area on Buzzard Road, just east of the Lancaster-Berks county line.

You can also process your deer at home – assuming you live within DMA 4 - then double bag the high-risk parts and set them out with your trash for commercial pickup. Finally, the Game Commission’s least-preferred option – but still legal - is to bone out the deer in the woods and leave the high-risk parts in the field.

“We have told hunters they may leave high risk parts at harvest sites within DMAs, though we have encouraged them to bury them,” said Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau.

“Dumping parts in the field leaves open the possibility of disease transmission to other deer.”

Another course of action is to take your deer to any butcher within the zone. The Game Commission lists three on its map for DMA 4, but the rules state that “any processor” within the zone can be used.

Agency spokesman Dustin Stoner said those that are listed by the Game Commission all have attended an agency-led training session on special CWD processing methods.

Listed by the Game Commission within the DMA are Martin’s Custom Butchering, 405 Reidenbach Road, New Holland; J. Mark Martin Custom Butchering, 741 Red Run Road, New Holland; and Stohler’s Meat Market, 1643 Heidelberg Ave., Schaefferstown.

There also are three processors located just outside the DMA, but still approved as DMA-4 butchers. Stoner said the Game Commission provided a 5-mile buffer zone around the DMA, to allow more butcher shops to participate in the agency’s training program for certification.

Those approved processors outside DMA 4 are: Ebersole Butchering Service, 245 Village Drive, Lebanon; Bur-Pak Family Foods Inc., 98 E. Rosebud Road, Myerstown; and Sadler’s Custom Butchering, 241 Bordner Road, Richland.

To take a DMA-4 deer to one of these processors, obviously, a hunter must leave the DMA with a whole deer – including the high-risk parts.

Stoner said a hunter is only allowed to leave DMA 4 with a deer that was shot inside the DMA if that hunter is heading straight to a butcher shop or taxidermist.

So, let’s say a hunter who lives in Manheim – outside DMA 4 – shoots a deer near Middle Creek, within the DMA. That hunter can’t take the whole deer carcass home, with plans to deliver it to Ebersole Butchering Service later that day or the next day.

“The expectation is that, if a hunter is leaving the DMA with a deer carcass, they are going straight to one of the approved processors outside the DMA,” Stoner said.

If you want to take your deer to a taxidermist, you can go to any taxidermist within DMA 4. The Game Commission lists four within the zone and five that are just outside, but which are approved as DMA-4 taxidermists.

Those listed within DMA 4 are: Fisher Wildlife Artistry, 102 N. Hill Road, Terre Hill; Zimmerman Taxidermy, 805 S. Ridge Road, Denver; Hammer Creek Taxidermy, 565 Cocalico Road, Denver; and South Mountain Bug Works and Taxidermy, 320 South Mountain Road, Robesonia.

Those taxidermists outside DMA 4, which are approved as DMA-4 businesses are: Turkey Hill Wildlife Taxidermy, 1876 Turkey Hill Road, East Earl; Kunkle’s Taxidermy, 151 Boulder Hill Road, Mohnton; Kanati Studio, 46 Frystown Road, Myerstown; Little Stream Taxidermy, 595 E. Kercher Ave., Lebanon; and Weaver’s Taxidermy, 5 Lynch Drive, Lebanon.

The same rules for transporting high-risk deer parts to a butcher shop outside DMA 4 apply to delivering one to a taxidermist outside DMA 4.

If you want the deer you shot to be individually tested for CWD, you can do that for free. Take the head – be sure the harvest tag is filled out and attached to the ear – put it in a sealed, plastic garbage bag and place it into one of the six head collection bins located within DMA 4.

“There’s no requirement to drop heads off at a bin,” Lau said. “It is voluntary…The benefit for hunters is that all heads dropped off at a bin that can be tested, are tested, and the hunters notified of the results.

“Our primary reason for offering these tests is to increase sampling within the DMA.”

Three of these head bins are located at the same sites as the parts collection bins already mentioned.

The other heads-only bins are located at West Earl Township Building, 157 W. Metzler Road, Ephrata; Bowmansville Fire Company, 146 W. Maple Grove Road, Bowmansville; and Jackson Township Park, 457 E. Main Ave., Myerstown.

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