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Free CWD tests available this deer season

by Flip Putthoff | October 5, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will again offer a variety of free options to have harvested deer tested for chronic wasting disease during the 2021-22 deer hunting season. In all, 105 testing locations will be available around the state.

AJ Riggs, wildlife health biologist for Game and Fish, said 7,824 chronic wasting disease samples were collected last year and 95% of those samples were voluntarily submitted.

"We had 261 positive CWD cases from those samples last year," Riggs said. "And 96% of our positive cases came from deer taken by hunters."

The most popular method for hunters to have their deer tested is through the Game and Fish drop-off containers throughout the state. Freezers are available to drop off samples of harvested deer for testing. Simply bring the deer's head with 4 to 6 inches of the neck attached and any antlers removed to the location and place it in one of the provided plastic bags with your name and contact information on the card provided.

Game and Fish will collect these samples for testing by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission laboratory. Results should be available within two to three weeks.

Riggs said anyone who submits a positive sample will be notified by phone as soon as the results come back. He said the bottom half of the information card that the hunter keeps will have a code on it so that the hunter can verify results for himself.

Fifty-seven taxidermists also are available to pull samples for hunters free of charge. Some taxidermists have agreed to take samples from any deer submitted, even if it is not one that will be mounted.

All testing locations are available at Some of the locations have changed from last year, so hunters are encouraged to look ahead of time and find a sample location closest to their hunting area and note hours of operation.

All testing locations will remain open until Feb. 28, the last day of the archery deer season.

Print Headline: Free CWD tests available this deer season


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