AGFC Partners With Taxidermists And Vets To Offer Voluntary CWD Testing

Since chronic wasting disease was discovered in Arkansas in February 2016, biologists have collected thousands of samples from deer and elk taken by hunters, from targeted animals showing signs of the disease and from road-killed deer throughout the state. In addition to samples taken to establish the disease’s spread and prevalence, the AGFC is offering a convenient way for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD at participating taxidermists and veterinarians.

“The AGFC’s main focus is on the area of the state where we know CWD exists and determining the outer edge of its spread, but we have received calls from hunters in all parts of the state who want to know if their deer has CWD,” said Cory Gray, manager of the AGFC’s Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division. “We do have a few more options in place for that to happen this year.”

Gray and Jenn Ballard, the AGFC’s veterinarian, reached out to taxidermists to collect samples last year from hunters turning in heads for mounts.

“Most deer turned in to taxidermists are going to be older age-class bucks, which typically have the highest prevalence of CWD of any segment of the population,” Gray said. “So this was a good source for us to look for the disease throughout other portions of the state. This year we’ve worked with taxidermists so that hunters can get a CWD sample taken from any deer, young or old, buck or doe.”

Gray says the added locations of taxidermists and veterinarians throughout the state also offer more places than the Commission can man throughout deer season to make it easier for a hunter to turn in a sample.    MORE

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