Two local wildlife officials are shedding light on things the public should be aware of with the arrival of spring and living in an area with such a vast deer population.
People who come across an injured or sick deer, such as a deer with an open wound or broken leg or one exhibiting symptoms of sickness, may not be aware of how to handle the situation. Thomas Henry, state game warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said it is good for people to be aware of how to report this.
These calls are pretty common in the area, said Henry. Last year, he handled 53 injured or sick deer call dispatch incidents.
“There have already been a few this year,” he said. “I hear about it more when just talking to people. It all depends on if the everyday person calls.”
Gene Pendolino, chairman of the Treasure Lake Property Owner’s Association Wildlife Committee, as well as Henry, both said that above all else, a person should not approach a hurt or sick animal, or take things into their own hands and try shooting at the animal.
“Its first instinct is to protect itself. It can get pushed out of sight by someone getting too close,” said Pendolino. “Any wild animal will do what it can for self preservation; even a deer can use its hooves or antlers in a dangerous manner.”
Only the PGC can dispatch an animal legally, he said.
But, in many instances, if an animal such as a deer is mobile, even the PGC will not be able to help, said Pendolino.
“Deer are very resilient, and can survive a serious injury,” he said.
Pendolino noted that feeding deer, common in Treasure Lake, can spread Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
“We are in a disease management zone,” he said. “This is what makes a deer appear sick in many cases.”
Symptoms to look for, said Henry, are drooping ears, weight loss, drooling, walking in circles and inability to move or stand.
“These are just some of the simple signs of a sick deer,” he said.
Henry noted that people should not be afraid to contact the PGC, and he is happy to answer any questions.
“A deer with CWD will eventually die, so we need to do what we can to prevent spread. The PGC is particularly interested in these sick deer and should be called,” Pendolino said.
When someone calls the PGC, a dispatcher will take the call and send an incident to Henry to respond, he said, and he will do what he can to take care of the animal. The number is 570-398-4744.
With the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures also comes the births of fawns, said Henry, and the frequency of deer attempting to or crossing roadways.
“Forage will be starting to grow, which will increase the number of deer crossing roads to get to ‘the greener side of the pasture,’” he said. “I recommend people just be aware of the increase while driving.”