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Maryland DNR changes tactics on wasting disease

HAGERSTOWN — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it’s changing its tactics in monitoring deer for chronic wasting disease during this year’s modern firearm season.

The agency said Monday it has closed a surveillance station at Green Ridge State Forest that was staffed during the October season for hunters using muzzle-loading guns. Instead, the DNR is sampling deer carcasses at butcher shops.

The agency says too few hunters voluntarily brought their deer to the surveillance station to justify staffing it during the two-week firearm season that began Saturday.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological ailment fatal to deer. There is no evidence it poses a risk to humans.

A deer killed last year in the Green Ridge State Forest was the first in Maryland to test positive for the disease.