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Best way to fight Chronic Wasting Disease in Arkansas: Keep Hunting

Southeast Arkansas CWD Information
Southeast Arkansas CWD Information(The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 4:45 PM CST
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EL DORADO, Ark. (KNOE) - Officials with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission say continued hunting is the best way to fight chronic wasting disease in the state.

They outline the plan in five parts:

  • Keep Hunting
    • “Reducing the density of deer in areas where CWD is known to occur can help slow the spread to new areas. Deer naturally disperse less from lower density herds,” Ballard said. “The added samples from around the state also help us monitor the occurrence of the disease across the landscape.” - Dr. Jenn Ballard, state wildlife veterinarian for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
  • Get Your Deer Tested
  • Avoid Artificial Congregation
    • It’s highly recommended hunters end baiting, the use of mineral licks, and other supplemental feeding.
  • Keep it Local
    • Hunters should limit moving any deer, alive or dead, from an area known to have CWD to prevent its spread.
  • Report Sick or Dead Deer
    • Anyone who sees a deer displaying the clinical signs of CWD or found dead with no apparent injuries is encouraged to contact the AGFC immediately. Call 800-482-9262 to report any deer that show a lack of awareness, poor posture, insatiable thirst or and extremely emaciated look. Dispatchers are available to take calls 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

Click here to read those bullet points in expanded form.

South Arkansas Testing Drop-off Containers and Taxidermists

The following information is a review of CWD in south Arkansas from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.

CWD found in South Arkansas

Chronic Wasting Disease was confirmed on Dec. 2, 2021, in a white-tailed deer harvested in Union County at the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge during the area’s scheduled modern gun permit hunt in mid-November.

What is CWD?

Chronic wasting disease is a contagious, fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer and elk family. This disease is caused by a misshapen protein, called a prion, that accumulates in the tissues of infected animals. These animals experience a long incubation period (often more than 12 months) during which they show no outward signs of disease, but are able to shed the CWD prion and infect other deer and elk. When clinical signs of disease start, infected animals may become thin, demonstrate unusual posture or behaviors, and eventually lose awareness of their surroundings. This clinical phase is typically short with a uniformly fatal outcome.

How is it Spread?

Infected animals shed the CWD prion in their urine, feces and saliva. Infectious prions also can be deposited from the carcasses and tissues of infected animals. CWD prions are highly stable and remain in the environment for years. They also can be taken up by plants from contaminated soil, making them more available to infect feeding deer and elk.

Is it Safe to Eat Deer With CWD?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence of CWD transmission to humans, pets or livestock under natural conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends having your deer or elk tested when hunting in areas where CWD is known to be present before eating the meat. Likewise, feeding domestic animals any meat from sick or diseased wildlife is not recommended. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about CWD.

How did it get to South Arkansas?

It is currently unknown where the source for CWD originated in South Arkansas. This case is more than 70 miles from the nearest known positive case (Issaquena County, Mississippi) and is more than 200 miles from the nearest known positive case in Arkansas (Scott County). The AGFC is trying to work with local hunters, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to conduct more sampling in the immediate area to determine the spread of this occurrence.

Where else has CWD been found in Arkansas?

As of Dec. 2, 2021, CWD has been confirmed in Benton, Boone, Carroll, Independence, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Union and Washington counties

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