Aug. 16, 2017
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
Although chronic wasting disease has not been found in Van Buren County, it’s close. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wants to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the disease at a public meeting in Clinton. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., Sept. 19, at the Petit Jean Electric Cooperative Community Room at 270 Quality Drive.
According to Cory Gray, Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division manager for the AGFC, the AGFC expanded its CWD Management Zone to include Van Buren County after a CWD-positive elk was harvested last season in Searcy County within 10 miles of the county line.
“Even though Van Buren County did not have a positive case inside its county lines, it does fall within the 10-mile buffer zone established in our CWD response actions,” Gray said. “We are trying to find that outside edge of where the disease has spread so we can take the proper steps to slow its progression.”
Gray says he feels the public meetings are essential in remaining as transparent as possible about sharing information with the public about what we know concerning the disease. Although CWD was major news to many Arkansas deer hunters last year, some people may not felt it concerned them because it was in another county or area of the state.
“We need the help of hunters, processors, taxidermists and the general public in helping manage this disease,” Gray said. “But we need to arm them with the information they need to provide that help. We also want to be available to answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions people may have.”
In addition to an overview of the disease and its occurrence in Arkansas, presenters will offer best management practices that hunters can follow to minimize any associated disease risks. Presenters also will discuss regulations the AGFC has enacted to combat the disease.
With the exception of deboned meat, antlers, hides, cleaned skull plates and finished taxidermy, deer and elk harvested in the CWD Management Zone may not be moved outside the zone. Feeding wildlife also is not allowed inside the zone, except for hunting purposes Sept. 1-Dec. 31 (other exceptions apply for birdfeeders and incidental feeding from livestock operations. A complete list of regulations, as well as information about CWD in Arkansas may be found at http://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/cwd.