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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.

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

  1. Register your deer
  2. Bring it to a local sampling station or self-service sampling kiosk, or if no sampling station is available nearby, contact a local biologist to arrange the sampling. There is no fee for a hunter to get a deer harvested in Wisconsin sampled/tested through the DNR.

Full page view of the CWD sample and disposal locations

You must provide the following information for the CWD datasheet PDF when getting your deer sampled:

  • Deer harvest authorization number
  • DNR customer number
  • Contact information
  • Location of harvest

You can also take your deer to a private veterinarian exit DNR or to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory exit DNR for sampling, however, for both of these options, there will be an associated fee. There is no fee to get your deer sampled/tested through the DNR.

Proper sample collection for CWD testing

Take your deer to a sampling station as soon as possible after harvest. If not bringing the full carcass to a CWD sampling location, remove the deer head with a hand width’s worth of neck attached to the skull. Heads can be brought up to five days after harvest if kept refrigerated (35°F to 45°F), longer if frozen. If you just want the antlers, after registration you can skull cap the deer prior to bringing it to a sampling station. If you are bringing it to a kiosk you will be advised to remove the antlers before placing it in the dropbox.

Sampling a deer you plan on mounting

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 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. To ensure a station is set up for taking lymph node calling ahead is recommended.

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.