After confirming that 22 elk in the state of Arkansas have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is now considering changes to hunting regulations.
The surprising outcome came after the commission sampled 280 deer and elk, something officials never expected, at least not this quickly.
“It was inevitable that CWD would get to Arkansas, but we did not expect it to get to Arkansas this soon,” Randy Zellers, assistant chief of communications with Game and Fish, told KATV.
Zellers also made a point of noting that identifying affected animals can sometimes be a difficult practice. Oftentimes, the disease takes a fair bit of time to display symptoms such as drooling and poor posture.
“It can take up to 16 months before the animal shows signs and symptoms of the disease,” Zellers said.
In light of the recent findings, Arkansas Game and Fish is considering changing some of the hunting regulations in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease. Proposed changes include thinning existing herds and implementing mandatory check-in sampling locations around the state.
Hunters seem to be supportive of the proposed changes and are willing to do their part in eradicating the disease from the population of deer and elk in the state.