Taxidermists, AGFC Partner to Track Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. - The first weekend of modern gun hunting season wraps up Sunday night, which means Monday morning is the busiest time for deer processing. 

One taxidermist in Pulaski County isn't just helping preserve a prized kill, but providing what the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission needs to track Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, in deer. 

In February of 2016, an elk carrying CWD was discovered in Arkansas. It had been harvested in the fall of 2015. 

Since then, the AGFC has been working with local taxidermists and veterinarians to test elk and deer for the disease. 

CWD is a neurological disease that effects deer and elk. It's similar to "Mad Cow" disease in cattle. Eventually, the disease would kill the infected animal. 

David Corley with Fin, Feather N Fur Taxidermy in Jacksonville is one of about 40 other taxidermists in the state helping AGFC. 

He's been in the business for almost 40 years, but in the last 2 he's added on lymph node removal to his "to do" list for mounted animals. 

After removing the retropharyngeal lymph node, he'll package it up and send it to the AGFC for testing. The samples are numbered and the results are posted online, here

"We did a bunch of them last year and I think we had one positive," he said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, CWD does not cause any problems in people, but it's not recommended to eat meat from an infected deer or elk. 

To see where you can get your deer or elk tested for CWD and see where animals have tested positive, click here

Modern gun deer hunting season lasts through Dec. 3rd in most areas. Click here for a full list of deer hunting season dates. 


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