Deer found in Independence County tests positive for CWD

Deer found in Independence County tests positive for CWD
The buck was harvested in Independence County. (Source: KAIT-TV)

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reported Friday a deer in Independence County tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The buck, according to a news release, tested positive for CWD at the Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and later confirmed by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison.

Independence County is outside the AGFC’s CWD Management Zone. The AGFC said it does not plan to make any changes to deer-hunting regulations for the remainder of the season.

Dr. Jenn Ballard, the state wildlife veterinarian for the commission, said the agency will evaluate the need to expand the CWD zone once the season is over.

“Changing the regulations mid-season would not be fair to hunters,” Ballard said.

According to the news release:

Hunters who wish to have their deer tested for CWD can voluntarily take the head of the deer, with 6 inches of neck still attached, to one of the AGFC’s network of participating taxidermists to have a sample tested for free. They also may drop off the head at one of dozens of CWD-testing collection stations positioned throughout the state.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Since the confirmed CWD positive deer was found in Independence County, the AGFC has set up a new CWD-testing collection station in Oil Trough.

The first case of CWD in the state was reported in February 2016. Since then the AGFC has sampled and tested more than 20,000 deer and elk. So far, 770 have tested positive.

One Independence County hunter, Scott Henley, says this is something that has been around for years. Since the information is hitting closer to home, he says he plans to be more cautious.

Although it can be hard to detect is an animal is infected, Henley offered some tips.

“If they don’t run away or if they’re acting strange or not doing what deer do. They are cautious animals and typically if they see someone they will run away. If they’re not and they are just standing around then that’s something you should keep an eye on," Henley said.

Henley says he plans to warn his hunting friends and wear gloves while processing.

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