Arkansas whitetails: Harvest again surpasses 200,000; CWD confirmed in three northwestern counties

LITTLE ROCK – There’s still a month-and-a-half left in the deer season for archery hunters, but Arkansas’ deer harvest has already topped the 200,000-mark at the conclusion of the second modern gun youth hunt Jan. 6-7. This is the sixth consecutive year Arkansas hunters have reached this milestone.

The Arkansas record harvest came in 2012, when hunters harvested 213,487 deer. Although this year’s harvest likely will fall short of that number, the season is fairly consistent with last year’s total harvest of 202,070.

Ralph Meeker, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission deer program coordinator, says the consistent harvest numbers from recent years are a good indication that Arkansas deer populations are beginning to stabilize.

But on the heels of that harvest news, the AGFC announced that chronic wasting disease, detected in Arkansas almost two years ago, has been found in three more counties as four white-tailed deer in Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties recently tested positive for the deadly disease.

The deer in Benton County were a 2½-year-old doe near Decatur and a 5½-year-old doe near Springtown. The Sebastian County deer was an adult buck near Lavaca, and the deer from Washington County was a 1½-year-old buck near Prairie Grove. All four were harvested by hunters during the 2017-18 deer season and confirmed as CWD-positive by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison.

Test results have not been received for all samples that have been collected; it’s possible more deer and elk could test positive for the disease. Since these positive samples were detected outside the current CWD Management Zone, the AGFC will continue their review to ensure all information is accurate, the agency said in a news release announcing the findings.

CWD was first detected in Arkansas Feb. 23, 2016, when a hunter-harvested elk in Newton County tested positive. The first Arkansas deer with CWD was verified March 3, 2016, also in Newton County.

Public meetings in the area will be scheduled as forums to discuss plans and to answer questions.

For more on CWD in Arkansas, go to ArkansasCWD.com.

Categories: CWD, Hunting News, Whitetail Deer

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