We hope that everyone has had a good summer so far, weather it was going to the lake or taking a family vacation or even going fishing. Hunting season is just a few weeks away and with that everyone is gearing up for the busiest time of year for taxidermists. With that being said we have a few topics that we would like to touch bases on so that everyone is informed and in the loop.
“Chronic Wasting Disease In Arkansas”
Chronic wasting disease(CWD) is a neurological disease that affects members of the cervid family (deer/elk). CWD is similar to scrapie in sheep/goats and mad cow disease in cattle. The disease is caused by prions(misshaped proteins), these accumulate in the tissues of the animal (lymph nodes, brain, and spinal cord). CWD was detected in Arkansas’s deer and elk back in February of 2016. Since then they have placed regulations on the counties that have had positive cases of CWD to try and help contain the spread of this disease.
What counties are in the CWD containment areas?
Tier 1-Carrol, Boone, Madison, Newton.
Tier 2- Benton, Washington, Crawford, Sebastian, Scott, Logan, Franklin, Johnson, Pope, Yell, Van Buren, Searcy, Marion, Baxter, Stone.
Here is a link you can go to and see the map of the tiers and counties listed above. https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/cwd/cwd-regulations/
What can be legally transported out of the two tier areas?
Antlers and cleaned skulls meaning no red meat or brain matter at all it must be completely clean
Meat with all bones removed meaning NO bones except CLEAN skull plate and CLEAN skull or teeth
Finished taxidermy Products
Hides and tanned products.
How can I legally mount a deer from the two tier area?
You are able to go to the above counties and cape the animal out yourself or work with another taxidermist in the area to do the capping for you, but make sure the skull plate is clean of all red meat and brain matter. No part of the spinal cord, brain, spleen, Tonsils, or lymph nodes can leave the two tiers. But be sure that it is documented that the deer was caped out in that area or if you work with another taxidermist make sure it is documented that they caped the deer out in that area.
Arkansas Game and Fish is currently looking for taxidermist who are willing to pull CWD samples in their areas. This does not mean if you become a sample site that you can take in un capped deer from the CWD zone. It is to help the Game and Fish commission to keep track of the progress of this disease. If you are interested in becoming a sample site you can get in contact with Mrs. Aj with CWD management, you can contact her at 479-264-3334. She is the women to speak with about becoming a tester she can tell you in full detail what all there is in becoming a CWD Test check point.
“The Start Of The Arkansas Taxidermist Association”
Believe it or not the Arkansas Taxidermist Association was started all because of Sunday drives by Mrs. Pearl Henderson and her husband, when work on the farm was done they would go on rides and just drive around. If they happened to pass a taxidermy shop they would stop in and visit, some stops resulted in life long friendships and some wasn’t as successful since it was pretty much taboo to share the secrets of the taxidermy industry in those days. The few that was interested in sharing their knowledge started having meetings in cafes and other places around the state and discussing the idea of starting an association. These meetings slowly grew into what we now know as the Arkansas Taxidermist Association, the first few conventions were just discussions of new tricks and techniques that someone had discovered. A few years down the road the Association had grown to fifty members and had developed seminars, vendors, and a competition just like today. Every year or two they would try and hold the convention in a different location for several different reasons. People from different parts of the state would learn about the convention and show up with it being close to them one year and return again to see another part of the state, some people would plan their vacation around the convention, vendors would come from different states and they would try to encourage them to attend by being a little closer to them one year and another vendor the next. I don’t believe that any of the first few people that attended these meetings had any idea that they were starting something that would still be around and going strong almost forty years later, but they sure did do a good job regardless of what they were thinking back then!!
“The Arkansas Taxidermist Hall Of Fame”
Pearl Henderson (Pearls Taxidermy, Beebe Arkansas)
For those that don’t know Mrs. Pearl your missing out! She is the one who got this whole thing started many years ago. In the early days of the ATA she would store plywood backboards in her barn and haul them to the convention every year, and on the years that nobody would buy stuff from the auction to support the ATA she would step up to bat and insure that the association had a little money to run on. She also piloted the first seminar for the National Taxidermist Association by mounting and making the form for a two-headed calf. At 91 years young she still attends the yearly conventions today and meets all the members with a smile.
Bryan Harness (Ozark Woods, Harrison Arkansas)
Bryan Harness was the founder of Ozark Woods, a very talented taxidermist, and an avid outdoors man. Bryan started making furniture and panels in the early days of Ozark woods, then later started casting the divide and conquer forms that Ozark woods exclusively handles. In 2009 Bryan won best in the world in the small game division. He was known for his fun loving ways, work, kindness, and exceptional taxidermy work threw the years. Bryan was always willing to share his knowledge with any taxidermist young or old, and was always encouraging others to be the best they could be at everything they tried doing.