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Sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be unforeseen disruptions to CWD sampling at the local level. Please check this page frequently for updates to sampling locations throughout the deer season.

When visiting a CWD sampling location, please make sure to follow any applicable local ordinances pertaining to COVID-19 precautions. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.

How to have your deer sampled for CWD

Hunters anywhere in Wisconsin can have their deer sampled for CWD, at a self-service kiosk, CWD cooperator or through your local wildlife biologist. Testing through the DNR is free for deer harvested in Wisconsin. Testing is also available for a fee through private veterinarians EXIT DNR or the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory exit DNR for sampling.

Test results are added as they become available. During an average year, results are typically available 10-14 days after the deer is brought to a sampling station. This year, we will likely experience delays due to implications from COVID-19. To protect our staff's health, we have reduced the number of staff per shift at our CWD sample processing center. Despite adding shifts, the daily volume of processed samples will be reduced from previous years.

We estimate that results will be available 2-3 weeks after the deer head or tissue sample is received. Unforeseen circumstances may cause further delays in either our field operations or at the CWD processing center. We thank you for your patience as we seek to provide our services during these unprecedented times.

Find CWD Sampling and Carcass Disposal Locations Near You

Full page view of the CWD sample and disposal locations

Follow these steps to get your adult deer sampled for CWD.

This year, hunters can save time by using the DNR's new digital data sheet. Hunters can access their unique link to the form in their registration confirmation email and in their Go Wild harvest history.

The form automatically fills in your registration and contact information and provides a clickable map to mark harvest location. Simply answer a few questions, mark your location, and click the "Continue" button at the bottom of each screen, including the confirmation screen.

Note: This year the on-line form will not be available for agricultural damage permits, CWD surveillance permits or replacement authorizations. These harvests will still need to use the paper form.

  1. Register your deer.
  2. Bring your deer to a local sampling station or self-service sampling kiosk. If no sampling station is available nearby, contact a local biologist to arrange the sampling.
  3. Fill your your harvest information using the new online form. Your unique link can be found in your registration confirmation email. Paper forms are also available. This year ag damage permits, CWD surveillance permits and replacement authorizations still need to use the paper forms.
  4. If using a self-service kiosk, follow posted instructions to prepare and deposit your sample. More information is available in the section below titled "Proper Sample Collection for CWD Testing."

How to use the online CWD form

Hunters using the online CWD data form will still need to visit a CWD sampling location to deposit their deer's head. The form requires hunters to enter a barcode number and the sampling station ID number, both of which are available at each sampling station.

We recommend that hunters do not open the form until they arrive at their sampling location. The form must be completed in one pass, and without a barcode number and station ID number, hunters will not be able to complete the form.

Proper sample collection for CWD testing

Take your deer to a sampling station as soon as possible after harvest. If you choose not to bring the full carcass, remove the deer's head with 4-6 inches of neck attached. Heads can be brought up to five days after harvest if kept refrigerated (35°F to 45°F), longer if frozen.

If you would like to keep only the antlers, you may skull cap the deer after registration and prior to bringing it to a sampling station. If you are using a self-service kiosk, you will be advised to remove the antlers before placing the head in the dropbox.

Sampling a deer you plan to mount

A deer that will be shoulder-mounted can still be tested for CWD. The deer should be registered, then taken to your taxidermist for caping and skull capping. The caped head can then be brought to a sampling station. Please remember to follow all sample preservation guidelines.

A European mount can be brought to a staffed sampling station that will remove the lymph nodes for sampling, allowing the skull to stay with the hunter. Call ahead to ensure the station will be staffed at the time you plan to arrive.

Moving deer parts from an infected county

The DNR does not intend to prevent hunters from moving a deer head and hand-width length of neck outside a CWD-affected county if it is being transported to an approved CWD sampling cooperator, self-service kiosk or staffed CWD testing location to submit the head for tissue removal and testing. Heads will be disposed of properly after tissue removal.

Using a CWD self-sampling kiosk

Surveillance area maps

Surveillance areas are created around CWD positive locations in wild and farm-raised deer. Enhanced CWD sampling is focused in these areas.