SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Hunting season is now underway for Arkansans and each year the state issues new rules and regulations for hunters.

One big change that’s new this year is you can now hunt bears in Arkansas.

This isn’t the only new rule though, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission‘s Steve Dunlap. He also said some hunters in certain counties of the state will need to get their deer checked for Chronic Waste Disease at free drop-off locations.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk. Dunlap said it was first found in Arkansas in 2016 and although it is safe to eat a deer with the disease, it’s not advised.

Check out what your hunting zone is and other rules for that zone here.

While hunter safety is always a concern, Dunlap said the data shows that injury chances are low.

“You normally put yourself in significantly more danger driving to work every day, then you will going into the woods with a gun. A lot of that has to do with Hunting Education Classes and learning how to do things the right way,” said Dunlap.

Dunlap said if you were to be out hunting last year, you had a 0.007% chance of getting injured. He credits state-required hunter education courses for that figure.

“They teach you everything, from firearm safety to tree stand safety and how to properly identify wildlife. Plus, understanding what the hunter’s role is as a conservation tool,” said Dunlap.

Dunlap said most injuries happen while getting to and from your hunting spot. For example, when folks are unfamiliar with four-wheeler trails or climbing into a stand without a harness.

Some other safety tips Dunlap recommends is to always make sure your firearm is not loaded when you’re going into the field and to only load the gun when you’re ready to start hunting. He also said the first thing you should do when heading back into town is to unload your firearm.

Dunlap said if you’re taking a child or grandchild out hunting for the first time, it’s important to manage their expectations. He wants kids to know that hunting is all about the experience and being close to nature, not just the harvest.

If you’re planning on heading out to the tree stand soon, make sure you purchase a hunting license and you have permission to hunt on the property beforehand.