As of mid-November, hunters took 53 elk in Arkansas thanks to regulations passed to help contain the elk herd to Boone Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) biologists took biological samples from all elk harvested during the hunt to track DNA of the herd and test for chronic wasting disease as part of the standard protocol that has been in place for many years. This protocol was responsible for the first detection of CWD in Arkansas, even though it had possibly been in Arkansas for many years prior to its discovery.
"Three elk so far this season were confirmed with CWD," said West Wright, AGFC elk program coordinator. "All hunters who turned in a positive sample were notified and we incinerated the meat for the hunters in the cases where they wanted us to dispose of it. All three elk were taken on private land enrolled in the Elk Management Assistance Program, and the hunters who shot them will be allowed to come back next year as long as they retain the land owner's permission."
A second batch of CWD samples has been submitted for testing from the second segment of elk season, and Wright says hunters with any CWD-positive elk in this batch will be notified as soon as their results are available.
(Photo source: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)