Sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD)
Hunters anywhere in Wisconsin can submit a sample from their deer for CWD testing. Testing through the DNR is free for deer harvested in Wisconsin.
On this page, you will find:
- How to find a CWD sampling location near you.
- How to have your deer sampled for CWD testing.
- How to use the online CWD form when submitting your sample.
- How to submit a sample using a self-service kiosk.
- Answers to frequently asked questions, including what to do for a shoulder-mount deer and when to expect your test results.
For information on CWD test results, visit the test results page.
FIND CWD SAMPLING AND CARCASS DISPOSAL LOCATIONS NEAR YOU
NOTE: We add more sampling locations throughout the season. Be sure to check back before your hunt to find the location that’s most convenient for you.
CHOOSE THE MOST CONVENIENT OPTION FOR SUBMITTING YOUR SAMPLE
The DNR offers hunters four ways to submit a sample from their harvested deer for CWD testing. Choose the method that’s most convenient for you:
Self-service kiosks open 24/7:
We add locations throughout the season, with many added ahead of the nine-day gun deer season. Hunters can drop off their adult deer’s head with 5 inches of neck attached for testing. Check the DNR’s CWD sampling page before your hunt to find a location near you.
In-person with cooperating meat processors, taxidermists and other business owners:
You can get assistance with CWD testing by visiting a cooperating partner.
At-home lymph node extraction:
Hunters can extract the retropharyngeal lymph nodes using a kit provided by the DNR and return them to the DNR for testing. Contact your local wildlife biologist to get a kit.
Hunters interested in extracting lymph nodes for testing can use these printable step-by-step instructions [PDF] to complete the process.
By-appointment with local DNR staff:
Hunters can contact their local wildlife biologist to schedule an in-person appointment.
HOW TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT A SAMPLE 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 5 inches of neck attached. Heads can be brought to a sampling location up to five days after harvest if kept refrigerated (35°F to 45°F) or longer if frozen.
If you harvested a buck and 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.
See the Frequently Asked Questions section below for information on shoulder-mounted and European-mounted deer.
Whichever method you choose to submit your sample, follow these steps to complete the process:
- Register your deer in GameReg online or by phone at 844-426-3734.
- When you arrive at your chosen sampling location, get started by filling out information about your deer.
- Follow instructions posted at your sampling location or provided by a CWD cooperator to give us your contact information and information about your harvested deer. We recommend using our online form, which automatically fills in your name, phone number, customer ID, harvest authorization number and registration confirmation number. Paper forms are also available.
- Follow posted guidance or cooperator instructions to submit your sample for testing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- How do I have my deer tested for CWD if I intend to make a shoulder or European 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.
- When can I expect to receive test results?
Once a hunter submits a sample, test results are added as they become available. During an average year, results are available 10-14 days after the deer is brought to a sampling station.
- Can I have my deer’s head sampled for CWD testing in a different county from the one where I harvested my deer?
Yes. 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.
- Can I have my deer tested through a third party?
Yes. Testing is also available for a fee through private veterinarians EXIT DNR [PDF] or the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory [exit DNR] for sampling.