No CWD Discovered in Widespread Testing

None of the dreaded chronic wasting disease has been found in Arkansas’s deer herd.

That’s the bottom line of a report from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory which did extensive analyses for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on a set of samples submitted during the 2013 sampling period.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological malady with no cure. It is always fatal in deer and elk, pathologists say. CWD has taken heavy tolls on deer in a number of other states but has not appeared in Arkansas.

Cory Gray, deer program coordinator for the AGFC, said, “This report is really good news for us. Some people may not understand why we have strict regulations concerning the importation of live cervids and certain parts of carcasses into Arkansas from other states, but our intent is to maintain a healthy, disease free deer herd.”

The deer tested were from animals taken by hunters, inside captive enclosures, sick or emaciated, and from deer-vehicle collisions. These deer came from all parts of Arkansas.

The Wisconsin veterinary lab is a division of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The lab tested the obex, or brain stem, and lymph nodes from the submitted samples.

“We had another good season for deer hunting in Arkansas and came close to matching the previous year’s all-time record,” Gray said. “But this report of no CWD is even more satisfying to us as deer managers. Other positive aspect is the cooperation we are getting from hunters in our campaign to keep out CWD. Biologists and hunters have a common interest – a healthy, productive, sustainable deer herd.”