Arkansas deer hunters will be venturing out into the state’s woods for the start of Modern Gun Deer season on Saturday. As many as 300 to 350 thousand hunters go after cervids each season, according to Randy Zellers of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He says the weather this weekend is right.
“It finally feels like deer season,” he says. “It’s finally getting cool in the morning. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good opening day as far as the weather is concerned to give you that feeling that you’re in fact deer hunting.”
Hunters in Arkansas may have to contend with Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal illness in deer that is new to the state. The Game and Fish Commission is operating 25 CWD check stations this weekend in the 10-county management zone in north Arkansas for voluntary disease testing. The agency has also compiled a list of veterinarians who will also accept any deer samples for testing.
“If you do happen to harvest a deer outside of the 10-county CWD management zone or if do you happen to harvest a deer outside of this two-day opening weekend, then there’s still an option for you to get your deer tested for CWD,” he says.
The Game and Fish Commission has compiled a listed of veterinarians around the state who can test deer for Chronic Wasting Disease.
First discovered in the state in February, CWD is 100 percent fatal in deer and elk, but is not known to spread to humans. The disease first surfaced in Arkansas in February in Newton County. By the end of October, the Game and Fish Commission had confirmed that 109 deer and elk had contracted the disease.