WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), recognized the environmental stewardship of Arkansas sportsmen and women in a hearing examining the impacts of disease on wildlife conservation and management.
According to a recent study by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, an estimated 58.8 percent or $3.3 billion of conservation funds to state wildlife agencies come from hunting and fishing-related activities, either directly through the sale of licenses, tags and stamps, or indirectly through federal excise taxes on hunting, recreational shooting and angling equipment.
In Wednesday’s hearing, Boozman acknowledged the threat chronic wasting disease (CWD) poses to economic drivers such as outdoor recreational sports.
As of September 15, 2019, there have been 619 positive cases detected in Arkansas’s deer population.
“The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has come up with some innovative ways to address the problem with drop boxes to test elk and deer,” Boozman said. “This season they plan to install at least one drop box in every county.”
“We’re seeing a lot of concern in the outdoor recreation economy and the sport hunting community in particular,” Stephen Guertin, deputy director for Program Management and Policy at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. “We’re doing a lot of proactive work with the state fish and game agencies and others to make sure people know it’s still safe to hunt.”
Guertin said the Fish and Wildlife Service provides technical assistance and grant funding to support state efforts like those in Arkansas and will continue to help the hunting community to get CWD test results quickly.
Boozman is a cosponsor of the Chronic Wasting Disease and Transmission in Cervidae Study Act, legislation authorizing a special resource study to determine how chronic wasting disease spreads and could be prevented in deer and elk.