The investigation into the origin of two ear-tagged deer euthanized recently in Elk County has resulted in a guilty plea.
A 56-year-old Ridgway man pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to two counts of disturbing wildlife after reporting he’d handled the deer. He said both were wild and he tagged them in separate years while they were fawns. Fines and costs totaled $2,120.
According to Game Commission officials, it is unlawful in Pennsylvania to pick up, take into captivity or otherwise disturb wildlife or release any deer into the wild. Doing so can result in stiff penalties, including imprisonment.
The ear-tagged deer were euthanized July 26 in Ridgway Township, Elk County. While the Game Commission uses ear tags in its research, the agency’s tags differ in appearance from the tags commonly used on deer farms.
Because of the risk escaped or released captive deer or elk could spread chronic wasting disease (CWD) to areas where the disease has not been detected in the wild, Game Commission protocol authorizes wildlife conservation officers to shoot free-ranging ear-tagged deer they encounter.
Both deer euthanized July 26 tested negative for CWD. The results from genetic tests performed to learn more about the deer’s bloodlines are pending.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Game Commission’s Northcentral Region Office at 570-398-4744, or 570-398-4745. To report ear-tagged deer encountered in the wild, please call the Game Commission region office serving the area the deer were seen.