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Application period for the 2016 Arkansas Public Land Elk Hunt is May 1-June 1. Click here to apply.

Application period for the 2016 Arkansas Public Land Elk Hunt is May 1-June 1. Click here to apply.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications May 1-June 1 for Arkansas’s annual elk hunting season.

Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management, says he has received many calls about the future of elk and elk hunting since the discovery of chronic wasting disease in the state.

“We are still in the beginning stages of adjusting our management strategies for deer and elk,” Carner said. “We still need to make adjustments on exact dates and numbers of permits available, but we do plan to move forward with this year’s elk hunt.”

Carner expects to have the exact number of elk permits, private land elk quota and elk season dates set at the June 16 Commission meeting in El Dorado. The AGFC also plans to continue drawing the permits at the Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper, June 24-25, with a small number of additional permits available to people who sign up on site.

Applying for an Arkansas elk permit is free, although applicants do need a valid hunting license to apply.

“That measure was put in place last year to improve the chance people who drew permits were actually going to hunt,” Carner said. “Over the years, we’ve had people apply or have someone else apply for them with little interest in actually completing the hunt.”

Carner says continuing the elk hunt will allow the AGFC to keep monitoring the disease in the state’s herd without taking this rare opportunity away from Arkansas hunters who cannot afford big-game trips out West.

“Testing samples from last October’s elk hunt made us aware of CWD being in the state,” Carner said. “We plan to continue testing elk taken during this hunt for CWD as well as brain worms and other diseases that can impact the herd.”

Apply for a Public Land Elk Permit, May 1-June 1. 

 

 

 

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ALERT – Chronic wasting disease confirmed in one Arkansas elk

An elk harvested near Pruitt on the Buffalo National River during the October 2015 hunting season tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

This is the first time an animal in Arkansas has tested positive for the disease, which is fatal to elk and white-tailed deer. To discuss the development, the Commission called a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. at the AGFC’s main office, 2 Natural Resources Drive, in Little Rock.

The AGFC created a CWD response plan in 2006, as the disease was appearing in other states.

“Several years ago, Arkansas proactively took measures to put a testing procedure in place and created an emergency CWD plan,” said Brad Carner, chief of the AGFC Wildlife Management Division. “Those precautions are now proving to be beneficial. We are in a strong position to follow the pre-established steps to ensure the state’s valuable elk and white-tailed deer herds remain healthy and strong.”

To determine how prevalent the disease may be, samples from up to 300 elk and white-tailed deer combined within a 5-mile radius of where the diseased elk was harvested will be tested. There is no reliable U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved test for CWD while the animals are alive. The AGFC will work with the National Park Service and local landowners to gather samples for testing.

A multi-county CWD management zone will be established, and public meetings in the area will be scheduled as forums to discuss plans and to answer questions.

The number of positive samples collected, if any, will help AGFC biologists determine the prevalence of CWD, and will guide their strategy to contain it.

“Although CWD is a serious threat to Arkansas’s elk and white-tailed deer, we are not the first to deal with the disease,” said AGFC Director Mike Knoedl. “Our staff is prepared and, with help from the public, will respond with effective measures. We have learned from the experiences of 23 other states.”

Biologists don’t know how the disease reached northern Arkansas at this point. The local herd began with 112 elk from Colorado and Nebraska, relocated between 1981-85.

“(CWD) would have raised its ugly head a lot sooner than now,” said Don White, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station in Monticello. “I think that it’s extremely unlikely that it came from those 112 elk.”

Biologists have tested 204 Arkansas elk for CWD since 1997; the 2½-year-old female was the only one with a positive result. The AGFC also has routinely sampled thousands of white-tailed deer across the state since 1998.

Samples from the diseased female elk were tested at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison, and verified by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

There are no confirmed cases of CWD transmission from cervids to humans or to livestock,

“As far as we know, it’s not transmissible to humans at all,” said Sue Weinstein, state public health veterinarian for the Arkansas Department of Health. “In other states where they have CWD and they are studying this, they have found no human disease at all. To be on the safe side, it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and by the Department of Health that you not eat meat from an animal that you know is infected with chronic wasting disease.”

CWD was first documented among captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967, and has been detected in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. It’s been found in the wild in 20 states and among captive cervids in 15 states.

The AGFC has taken several steps to prevent the disease from entering the state. The Commission established a moratorium on the importation of live cervids in 2002, and restricted the importation of cervid carcasses in 2005. It also set moratoriums on permits for commercial hunting resorts and breeder/dealer permits for cervid facilities in 2006, and on obtaining hand-captured white-tailed deer in 2012.

According to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, CWD affects only cervids (hoofed animals in the cervidae family such as deer, elk and moose). Biologists believe it is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva. Prions (abnormal cellular proteins) that carry CWD have an incubation period of at least 16 months, and can survive for years in organic matter such as soil and plants.

CWD affects the body’s nervous system. Once in a host’s body, prions transform normal cellular protein into an abnormal shape that accumulates until the cell ceases to function. Infected animals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They tend to stay away from herds, walk in patterns, carry their head low, salivate and grind their teeth.

Visit http://www.agfc.com/cwd for more information.

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Freezer full? Donate a deer to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

Learn how the AGFC and Arkansas hunters are making a difference in their communities.

Learn how the AGFC and Arkansas hunters are making a difference in their communities.

Arkansas deer hunters have provided millions of servings of protein to needy families across Arkansas. Learn how you can help the AGFC and Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry keep food banks throughout The Natural State stocked with venison during the holiday season.

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gunlocks

The AGFC is teaming up with the National Shooting Sports Foundation this weekend to help keep curious kids safe. Each AGFC nature center around the state will be distributing free gun safety cables to visitors Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23.
Visit http://www.agfc.com/Pages/eventsAll.aspx to learn more about events coming to each nature center this month.

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The annual Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry bass tournament will be held March 29 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. Click here for details.

The annual Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry bass tournament will be held March 29 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. Click here for details.

The annual Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry bass fishing tournament will be held March 29 at Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs. All proceeds from the tournament go to the organization toward its mission of feeding less fortunate Arkansans while promoting needed harvest of deer in areas where the herd is out of balance.

Prizes include $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, $500 for third place and $250 in merchandise from Zimmerman’s Sport Center for fourth place. The Entry fee is $100 per boat.

For more information, contact Steve Wilson at 501-304-6305 or Ronnie Ritter at 501-282-0006. Tournament sponsors include No-Way Pulpwood, Greeson’s, Zimmerman’s Sports Center, Legacy Printers and Supplies, and Academy Sports and Outdoors.

Entry forms are available at online at www.arkansashunters.org.

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Urban archery hunt applications are now online. Click here for more information

Urban archery hunt applications are now online. Click here for more information.

The application to participate in Arkansas’s 2013-14 urban archery hunts is now online and will remain open until June 1.

Arkansas is blessed with a robust deer population throughout the state. This is excellent news for hunters, but can be troublesome for gardeners, homeowners, farmers and drivers. Each year, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission coordinates with local towns and the Arkansas Bowhunters Association to put on highly regulated archery hunts in urban areas to reduce nuisance deer and allow hunters an added opportunity.

Hunts are scheduled for Sept. 7, 2013-Jan. 31, 2014 in the following cities:

  • Bull Shoals
  • Cherokee Village
  • Fairfield Bay
  • Fort Smith/Barling
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Lakeview
  • Russellville

All participating hunters must have written permission from the landowner if they are on private property and the first deer each hunter takes must be donated to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

Participants must have a valid hunting license, must pass the International Bowhunter Education Program course and must attend an orientation before the hunt.

Only longbows, recurve bows and compound bows with at least a 40-pound pull are allowed for the hunt, and hunters must pass a shooting proficiency test with their bow at the orientation.

For more information about Urban Archery Hunts, times for IBEP education courses and times for urban hunt orientations, visit http://www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/PermitsSpecialUrban.aspx

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Replace your hunter or boating education cards free online

Have you lost your hunter’s education or boater’s education card? At the click of a mouse, you can now get a free replacement card from your home computer. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has unveiled a new site for these replacement cards.
To replace the cards, go to http://www.agfc.com/mycard. Anyone who has completed their hunter or boating education class can find their name and print a PDF page that includes a new free permanent card. If you’re not able to find your name, you will be directed where to call for help.
After printing the card, you will find a QR code on the PDF page. Just scan the QR code and save a copy of your card on a smart phone.
If having a traditional orange or blue card is important to you, you will be given an option to purchase those types of cards for $5 on the same website. A traditional card will then be mailed to you. Last, you can always call the Little Rock office and order a replacement for $5 over the phone at 800-482-5795 or 501-223-6300.

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