AGFC using new tactic to tackle chronic wasting disease

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - One Arkansas agency is making sure an ongoing problem won’t affect the state’s wildlife population.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, affects deer and elk wildlife. Since 2015, the disease has made its presence in the Natural State.

That’s why Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been continuing its efforts to try and control the disease.

AGFC released a plan through 2025 for management and response to the CWD.

In Northeast Arkansas, Baxter, Stone, Independence, Jackson, and Randolph Counties have all reported at least one case of the disease.

Cory Gray, Chief of Research for AGFC, said the plan is rolling out like it should, allowing for additional research opportunities for them.

“One of the reasons why we’re fighting the disease in these other areas is because of our increased surveillance and our participation with hunters,” he said. “We wanted a plan that would identify this disease in the early stages, so we could increase our management objectives in those early phases of the disease.”

Gray explained hunters who send a portion of their deer off for testing are helping scientists understand more about the disease and where it is located.

For hunters that kill a deer this season and want to get it tested, he stressed how easy it was.

“If we have a hunter anywhere in the state and they want to get their deer tested, look on There is a list of available drop-off locations, there’s also available taxidermist that we’re working with, and so there are many options to have their deer tested,” Gray said.

As time continues, new research will become available, as well as new methods.

AGFC released a photo to social media, warning hunters of encountering a deer with a collar around its neck, saying it’s okay to harvest, but it’s helping the commission track the disease.

“We’re monitoring their movements, we’re able to evaluate home range, survivability, mortality rates, and also CWD infection rates by sex and by age,” Gray said.

For more information on chronic wasting disease in Arkansas, you can visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s website.