HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s firearm deer season is opening with state officials on the watch for chronic wasting disease.

The two-week season opens Saturday.

The Department of Natural Resources says it is operating a chronic wasting disease surveillance station at the Green Ridge State Forest headquarters. Hunters who kill deer anywhere in Allegany County or in Washington County west of Clear Spring are encouraged to bring them in for sampling.

The testing is voluntary and free, and the hunters can keep the deer.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological ailment fatal to deer. There is no evidence that 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.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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