In early October, a captive deer in Adams County became the first case of chronic wasting disease confirmed in Pennsylvania.
In response, the state Department of Agriculture quarantined 10 other deer on the farm.
One of those animals, which had not yet been tested for the illness, managed to escape the quarantine. Experts worry that the animal could spread the illness to the wild deer population, resulting in a potentially devastating impact on the deer hunting industry.
According to David Wolfgang, veterinarian at Penn State and a member of the state's CWD Task Force, highly trained sharp shooters employed by the game commission are currently searching for the wayward animal, which is somewhat of an escape artist.
Wolfgang said highly trained sharp shooters employed by the game commission are searching for the wayward animal, which is somewhat of an escape artist.
"I've been told that this deer had a history of leaping over high fences, from time to time. I guess it got scared and nervous," he said.
The doe may be identified by a pink ear tag which reads "23," according to Samantha Krepps, press secretary for the Department of Agriculture.
Doe will typically remain within the same radius of about 10 miles, unless forced out by predators, human intervention, or lack of food, Wolfgang explained.
Though the doe may never reach Lycoming County, an infected wild deer population could cripple the state's hunting industry.
Already, states with no cases of chronic wasting disease, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, have restricted hunters from bringing a deer or elk carcass into their borders. New York hunters who tag a Pennsylvania deer must also have it butchered and mounted here.
Wolfgang explained that certain areas of the deer, such as the brain, spinal chord, spleen, and lymph nodes, are "higher risk" due to their concentration of white blood cells. By banning whole carcasses being moved across state lines, authorities are hoping to mitigate the spread of the illness.
Wolfgang added that the ban on moving carcasses is very similar to a ban on moving firewood.
"We have one problem over here, and we need to do everything possible to make sure it doesn't spread over there too," he said.