AGFC passes special regulations to slow disease

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The commissioners of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) approved a chronic wasting disease management zone to consist of Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy and Yell counties this past Friday at a special meeting held in Little Rock. CWD has been found in five of these counties.

The feeding of wildlife will be prohibited within the ten county CWD management zone but baiting will be allowed September 1 though December 31 when deer harvest is at it's highest. Baiting is a useful tool to increase the harvest in these areas where deer density needs to be reduced. Food plots are not included in the feeding prohibition as well as backyard bird feeding stations, hand feeding of wildlife or normal agricultural or livestock practices.

The AGFC will issue extra deer tags to landowners near known CWD positive cases to help reduce the deer density. The landowners will not be required to harvest additional deer, but all deer harvested with the CWD management tags will be required. Transportation of deer and elk harvested within the CWD management zone will be restricted. Only deboned meat, cleaned skulls, antlers, teeth, hides and taxidermy products may be removed from the CWD management zone. Hunters can transport within the CWD management zone but can only leave the zone with approved portions of the animal.

Hunting limits will be increased in deer zones where CWD has been found. An additional doe will be allowed during modern gun season and the three-point rule will be removed in those zones (deer zones 1 and 2) to help increase harvest. Button bucks will be counted as anterless deer in those zones to help promote harvest. Scents and lures using natural deer or elk urine will be prohibited statewide. The rehabilitation of deer will be prohibited statewide.

Hunters outside of Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties may now harvest any elk they see during regular deer hunting season with a limit of one of either sex. This is to contain the elk to the current range and prevent them from spreading CWD to any new areas. All hunters who kill an elk will be required to submit a sample for testing. A proposal to create a non-commercial hunting enclosure permit for high-fence deer facilities was tabled.

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