FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — If you’re a hunter Saturday (Nov. 14) is the day you’ve been waiting for, the opening day of modern gun season.
With more interest in the outdoors this year because of COVID-19, there are likely to also be a lot of first-time hunters.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is urging hunters who harvest a deer to get it tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.
“We use that information so that we have a better understanding from a conservation point of view about how spread out the disease has spread, which parts of Arkansas have the higher concentration of this disease,” said Steven Dunlap, Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Dunlap says this helps them modify their hunting regulations so they can contain the disease.
“Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease that only affects servant animals which is deer and elk. Once the animal is infected with the disease it’s always fatal and there is no known cure at this time,” he said.
On the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s website, you’ll find a map with all the locations where you can drop off your deer to be tested. In our part of the state, many are just freezer drop-offs but there are also several taxidermists and it’s free to drop off the sample.
Richard Wynee owns Rockin W Taxidermy in Hickory Creek which is one of the CWD testing sites.
“They bring the deer head in here and I’ll pull the samples and do all the accompanying paperwork and then once a week the biologist comes in here and picks up all the samples, usually mid-week and he gets them routed to Little Rock,” Wynee said.
Wynee gives people who drop off samples a card with a barcode that’s attached to your sample, so you can go online and see the results of the test.
There is no evidence that any humans have ever gotten Chronic Wasting Disease from eating a properly cooked deer or elk, but the Arkansas Department of Health doesn’t recommend eating an animal that is positive for the disease.