FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission expects a large turnout for modern gun deer season. The season begins in Arkansas on Saturday (Nov. 12).
"It's not probably not unheard that we have close to 350,000 or 400,000 folks out hunting, so it's a big event," assistant deer biologist Ralph Meeker said.
Hunters will have to follow some new regulations in chronic wasting disease zones. CWD is a fatal disease that attacks deer and elk. Hunters will no longer be allowed to transport their kill outside the CWD zones without deboning the kill first.
"We're gonna have 25 check stations set up and we will be voluntarily collecting CWD samples from hunters who harvest deer," Meeker said.
Samples will be sent to labs to test for the disease. The commission said the meat is still edible even if results come back positive because CWD is a neurological disease.
Hunters will also be able to harvest more deer as the commission hopes shrinking the deer population will limit the spread of CWD.
"We increased the bag limits in order to help manage deer density, we took away the three-point rule in deer zone one and two to allow some harvest of younger deer," Meeker said.
With good weather in store, the commission expects hunters to bag at least 35,000 deer in just this first weekend of the season.