South Arkansas deer hunting open house and virtual meeting address regulation changes, management assistance

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is encouraging hunters in Ashley, Bradley and Union counties to participate in one of two special meetings this week devoted to deer hunting regulations and deer herd health in south Arkansas following the detection of chronic wasting disease in Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge during the 2021-22 deer season.

An open-house meeting will be held at the El Dorado Conference Center in Union County from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 15. An additional virtual meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 8, for those who cannot attend the in-person meetings. Hunters who can travel to an in-person meeting are encouraged to do so.

“We’ve restructured the format of the in-person meeting to be much more informal and more inviting,” Cory Gray, chief of the AGFC Research Division, said. “We’ll have biologists and researchers available throughout the meeting to speak one-on-one with anyone who attends. South Arkansas remains the deer factory and many hunters travel to this part of the state to deer hunt, so we’re offering this extra opportunity to answer their questions as they make their deer hunting plans.”

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation has agreed to provide hot dogs and hamburgers during the El Dorado meeting so attendees don’t have to miss supper to learn about the work AGFC is doing and how to get their deer tested for CWD during hunting season.

In addition to questions about CWD, biologists and enforcement officers will be on hand to answer any questions on regulations, the Deer Management Assistance Program and other habitat management work benefitting Arkansas’s deer herd. Staff from Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will also be in attendance to visit with hunters.

The virtual meeting on Sept. 8 will be held via Zoom conferencing software and will feature talks on the basic science of CWD, the South Arkansas response in 2021-2022 and what hunters can do to help fight this disease in Arkansas. Staff from Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also will participate in the virtual meeting and be available to answer questions from participants.

Anyone wishing to participate in the virtual meeting should register online through the AGFC’s Outdoor Skills Calendar at https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/186489.

For hunters and conservationists who wish to speak one-on-one with biologists at the El Dorado meeting should register at https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/186491.

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