LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has placed dozens of special drop-off containers for hunters to submit chronic wasting disease samples from their deer this year. Locations of these specially marked coolers and other CWD testing options are available at www.agfc.com/cwd.
Biologists and researchers at the AGFC understand that the best hunting often takes place early in the morning and late in the evening, when taxidermists, AGFC regional offices and other CWD testing options may not be available. These drop-off locations offer a way for hunters to submit their samples as easily as possible and preserve the integrity of the tissues needed during warm days. Some drop-off locations are available 24 hours a day, and others are only operational during certain times. Please check the list at the link above to find one that suits your needs.
“There are 32 drop-off locations throughout the CWD Management Zone, and another eight are placed in different parts of the state for hunters to submit samples there as well,” said Dr. Jennifer Ballard, state wildlife veterinarian for the AGFC. “But hunters should be careful not to cross the boundaries of the two-tiered CWD management zone when transporting their deer to one of the collection locations.”
Ballard says the AGFC’s wildlife health biologist, AJ Riggs, has worked tirelessly to find locations and build partnerships throughout the state that can benefit all hunters and offer free CWD testing to anyone who wishes to drop off a sample.
“The process is pretty straightforward,” Ballard said. “You just need to keep the animal as cool as possible to prevent spoiling the sample. Then cut off the head, leaving about 4-6 inches of neck attached, remove the antlers and place it with your information and deer check number in the bags provided on site. We will collect the samples as the coolers begin to fill.”
Ballard says the antlers from bucks should be removed, not only to preserve space in the freezers, but also to prevent any tears in the bags holding the samples. The hunter will be able to look up their test results within two to three weeks using their deer’s check number at www.agfc.com/cwd.
Testing is voluntary for white-tailed deer, but The Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly encourage hunters to get their deer tested for CWD when hunting in a known CWD area and not consume any meat from CWD-positive deer or any sick animal. CWD testing is mandatory for all elk harvested in Arkansas. Hunters must call 870-204-0576 immediately upon harvest of an elk. They will receive instructions on testing their elk through that hotline.
In the case that an animal tests CWD positive, the AGFC can help dispose of the meat properly.
Lists of drop-off locations and alternative testing methods are available at www.agfc.com/cwd.