Hunters can help the DNR with chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts by submitting samples from harvested deer during the 2020-21 deer hunting season.

CWD is a neurologic disease that affects white-tailed deer. The fatal disease is transmitted directly through bodily fluids such as feces, saliva, blood, or urine, or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, plants, or water. CWD is found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in several Midwestern states close to Indiana, including Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. To date, CWD has not been detected in deer tested from Indiana.

During three weekends in November (Nov. 14-15, and 21-22), biologists will operate sampling stations to collect lymph nodes from deer harvested within the CWD surveillance area. The surveillance area includes Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties in northwest Indiana, and Dekalb, LaGrange, Noble, and Steuben counties in northeast Indiana.

Sampling stations will be located at DNR fish & wildlife areas (FWAs), state fish hatcheries (SFHs), and cooperating businesses in the 11-county surveillance area. The locations of these sampling stations can be found at on.IN.gov/cwd.

Hunters may also have their harvested deer sampled for CWD outside the surveillance area throughout the entire 2020-2021 season at select FWAs, SFHs, and National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) statewide. At FWAs, DNR staff will collect samples in-person by appointment during normal business hours. Some FWAs, SFHs, and NWRs will offer a 24 hour/7 day option through which hunters can place the head of their harvested deer in a designated cooler for CWD testing. Contact information for participating properties is at on.IN.gov/cwd. No fee will be charged for voluntarily submitting harvested deer for CWD testing at these locations.

As thanks for submitting deer for testing, participants will receive a metal tag reminiscent of historical harvest registration procedures.

Successful hunters who would like to have their deer sampled for CWD but do not wish to visit a property may submit samples directly to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) at Purdue University for a fee. More information and submission forms are available at https://bit.ly/82JycdfL.

For more information or to view sampling location information, visit on.IN.gov/cwd.

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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