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Arkansas To Check Deer for CWD

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Deer hunters during the upcoming muzzleloader season will see an increased Arkansas Game and Fish Commission presence during the season's opening days. Biologists from the AGFC will be checking deer for signs of chronic wasting disease.

The process of checking the deer may take a little extra time, but the data will be invaluable, according to the AGFC's deer program coordinator Cory Gray. "It will take a couple of minutes longer to collect the samples and data, but it is very important that we check the recommend number of deer for CWD," Gray said.

Testing will continue into the modern gun season. "Our biggest effort will be the opening weekend of modern gun season. Some regions of the state will start the opening weekend of muzzleloader just to ensure they get the numbers of samples needed. We just want to inform the hunters that we will be out there and if they see us, please bring their deer to us," he said.

Biologists will be asking hunters to donate the head of the deer for testing, AGFC field biologist and CWD coordinator John Gallagher says. "Contributing a head for sampling is totally voluntary. Hunters cooperating with biologists is the best approach to disease control," Gallagher said.

This is the second year of intensive sampling in Arkansas. Biologists hope to gather 1,250 deer samples this year. "This is year two of a three-year plan developed in cooperation with the USDA and APHIS to do intensive surveillance across the entire state. We will be working at check stations, processors, on WMAs and with hunting clubs around the state," Gallagher said.

Biologists will be focusing on the following counties: Fulton, Independence, Yell, Sebastian, Pope, Washington, Benton, Desha, Chicot, Woodruff, St. Francis, Monroe, Cross, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Ouachita, Faulkner, Lonoke, Clay, Greene, Howard, Pike, Perry and Scott counties

For the second time in as many years, Arkansas' deer herd got a clean bill of health last month. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission had almost 800 deer tested recently and none tested positive for CWD.
Chronic wasting disease, is a nervous system disease that has been observed in deer and elk in Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana and Oklahoma. There is limited information known about origin and means of transmission for the disease. It causes damage to portions of the brain of the animal and there is no cure for the always-fatal disease.
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