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AGFC wildlife veterinarian, National Deer Association offer five reasons to test your deer for CWD

BY Randy Zellers

ON 12-13-2023

CWD Testing Freezer

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas deer hunters submitted a record 8,759 samples from their harvested deer during the 2022-23 Arkansas deer hunting season to be checked for chronic wasting disease, but according to Dr. Jennifer Ballard, wildlife veterinarian for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, there’s still a lot of work to be done in monitoring and slowing the spread of CWD on the landscape. 

Ballard recently partnered with the National Deer Association to increase awareness of chronic wasting disease and the importance of having your harvested deer tested. The article “Five Reasons to get Your Deer Tested for CWD” gave a concise message to a national audience to help increase awareness about having your deer tested, even if you don’t live in an area where CWD has been confirmed.

“If there are resources available to get your deer tested, results from areas where the disease has not been found are just as valuable as those where a few detections have occurred,” Ballard said. “They may even be more valuable because they give us greater confidence in knowing where the disease does and does not occur.” 

CWD management is constantly evolving, but one constant in nearly all wildlife diseases is that management strategies are most effective when they are implemented early. That means remaining vigilant.

“When something like CWD is first found in an area, hunter participation in testing their harvest and reporting sick deer is high, but wildlife management is a long-term prospect,” Ballard said. “One pattern we see is that hunters become complacent about having their deer tested once CWD has been in the area for a while, but surveillance is really critical to informing deer management in the presence of this disease.

“When CWD was first detected in Arkansas, Cory Gray, who’s now the chief of the AGFC’s Research Division, explained it best: ‘Fighting CWD is a marathon, not a sprint.’ We’re still way too early in the race to rest.”

Visit to learn more about the National Deer Association and its mission to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. 

Visit for more information on CWD in Arkansas, how to get your deer tested, and how testing your deer might earn you a $1,000 Arkansas Lifetime Sportsman Hunting and Fishing Permit




The AGFC has more than 100 CWD testing site options throughout the state for hunters. 

More than 8,700 CWD samples were turned in by successful hunters during the 2022-23 Arkansas deer hunting season.

The AGFC’s network of taxidermists also can help pull samples from deer to help preserve your trophy. 

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