The show must go on.

May 1st marked the first day the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began accepting applications for the state’s annual elk hunt.  The business-as-usual announcement came after an offseason full of speculation and bad news from the state’s deer and elk herds after a number of confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease were reported.

“We are still in the beginning stages of adjusting our management strategies for deer and elk,” AGFC chief of wildlife management Brad Carner said in a release. “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.”

Arkansas is hoping to use the hunt as way to monitor the disease in the herd while at the same time allowing residents the shot at a rare opportunity to hunt these magnificent animals.  Although, state officials are fully expecting a decrease in the number of hunters in the coming season.

“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.”