How hunters can help monitor for chronic wasting disease

Hunters can help monitor deer populations in northwest and northeast Indiana for chronic wasting disease (CWD) by voluntarily submitting harvested deer to the DNR for testing during the 2019-20 deer hunting season.

For doing so, participants will receive a commemorative 2019 Deer Management Partner magnet and a metal tag reminiscent of historical confirmation tags as tokens of appreciation.

Surveillance involves collecting lymph nodes from the neck of hunter-harvested deer and submitting those samples for diagnostic testing.

During opening weekend of firearms season (Nov. 16 and 17), 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) and cooperating businesses in the 11-county surveillance area. The locations of these sampling stations will be posted on the DFW website at on.IN.gov/CWD. No fee will be charged for voluntarily submitting harvested deer for CWD testing at these locations.

Hunters may also have their harvested deer sampled for CWD throughout the entire 2019-20 season at FWAs statewide. DNR staff will collect samples by appointment during normal business hours. Hunters who wish to have their deer sampled at a FWA should contact that FWA to make an appointment. Select FWAs will offer an after-business-hours option through which hunters can place the head of their harvested deer in a designated freezer for CWD sampling. Contact information for participating FWAs is at on.IN.gov/CWD.

Successful hunters who would like to have their deer sampled for CWD but do not wish to visit a FWA may submit samples directly to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) at Purdue University for a fee. More information and submission forms are available by clicking on the link at the top of the DNR CWD website at on.IN.gov/CWD.

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

For more information or to view sampling location information, see on.IN.gov/CWD.

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

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