Deadly disease affecting deer population in Arkansas


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A deadly disease is running rampant in the region’s deer population, and biologists for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said everyday citizens can help prevent it from spreading further.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects deer and elk. Washington County is in Tier II of the CWD Management Zone, and nine deer have been confirmed disease-positive as of this year.

It’s illegal to feed wildlife within Washington County as a precaution, but bait can be used on private land from now until the end of the year.

“In a general sense, when you feed wildlife, you’re congregating them at higher densities than what is otherwise normal,” said Levi Horrell, a biologist for Arkansas Game and Fish. “So, you have potential issues with disease transmission.”

Horrell said this is the biggest issue facing the state’s deer community and gave three tips on how to stop the spread of disease:

  • Report deer acting abnormally or appear clearly unhealthy
  • Have harvested deer tested for the disease
  • Try to follow Arkansas Game and Fish regulations regarding transport of harvested remains

There isn’t scientific evidence at this point to suggest that CWD can transmit to humans or pets under natural conditions. Still, Arkansas Game and Fish recommends not feeding diseased meat to any domestic animals.

For more information on the disease, go to this link.

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