Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations Approved

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ARKANSAS (KFSM)- Twelve proposals were approved by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) in efforts to slow the spread of and combat Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a target area of 10 Northern Arkansas Counties.

Those counties include Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy, and Yell.

"The main goals we're looking at are we're trying to slow the speed of Chronic Wasting Disease," Assistant Chief of Communications, Randy Zellers said. "We do know that we have a very high prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease in the focal area that we have sampled."

At the top of the regulation list is prohibiting the feeding of deer, a big contributor to deer density.

"Just like when people get the flu, whenever people congregate and get wadded up in one spot, disease spreads much more quickly through the entire group," Zellers said.

AGFC said no known transfer of CWD to humans, livestock, or pets has been recorded. Therefore, hunters don't have to worry about catching the disease. Zellers said the disease has been around since the 1980's. Arkansas is the 24th state to get CWD and no other state has been able to eradicate or stop the disease completely. Zellers still urges hunters to steer away from eating deer that appear to be sick.

"If a deer looks healthy, it won't effect anything I've done in the past," hunter, Brad Kohler said. "I'll continue business as normal."

"It's been like that my whole life," hunter, Story Whitson said. "Every animal you shoot, you look at it, you make sure it doesn't look sick. I mean, if you see a sick animal, you're probably not going to eat it regardless, so it doesn't change anything for me."

Another regulation states that if deer is harvested within the ten counties, it cannot be taken out of the target area unless it is deboned or taken for taxidermy purposes.

"This isn't the end of deer hunting in Arkansas," Zellers said. "We still have a very healthy deer population and it's a great source to have and it's a great resource to take advantage of."

AGFC will continue to research Chronic Wasting disease and monitor it through the testing of road kill. If you hit an animal, you are urged to call the 24-hour radio room at 1-800-482-9262 to report it so that they can pick up the animal for testing.

For a full list of CWD regulations and counties within the CWD management zone , visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.