Deer processing workshops scheduled to help hunters control spread of CWD
CENTERTON – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host workshops in northern Arkansas to help hunters learn how they can debone their own deer and help minimize the potential to spread chronic wasting disease. The workshops will take participants through the process of dressing and deboning their harvested deer to prepare it for storage.
Evidence suggests that prions, the infectious agent responsible for CWD, can spread the disease through animal remains long after the host has died. These prions accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, bones and certain organs of deer and elk, so care should be taken to avoid cutting into these portions of animals in areas where prions could be found.
According to new regulations passed in June, only deboned meat, hides, cleaned skull plates, antlers and finished taxidermy products may be removed from the CWD Management Zone (Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy and Yell counties). Other portions may be moved within the zone for processing, but hunters wishing to transport their game outside of the zone must remove all bones from the meat before leaving the area.
“Some hunters already know how to process their deer, but many shoot their deer, field dress it, then transport the whole thing to a processor in a different part of the state,” said Steve Dunlap, AGFC regional education coordinator in northwest Arkansas. “We want to make the transition as smoothly as we can, and we want to show people the proper way to debone and transport their meat out of the CWD zone.”
Dunlap says the workshops also will cover carcass disposal and how to comply with CWD regulations involving taxidermy.
“We will also go through the preferred method of disposing of bones, hides and other portions of the deer after you’ve finished processing it,” Dunlap said.
Workshops will be held at the following locations and times:
- 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6 – Charlie Craig Fish Hatchery, 977 West Fish Hatchery Road, Centerton
- 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8 – Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek, 851 Conservation Lane, Yellville
- 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8 – Old Post Park (Picnic Area Pavilion 7) 1598 Lock and Dam Road, Russellville
- 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8 – Ponca Elk Education Center, Arkansas Highway 43, Ponca