SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding deer hunters about locations where deer can be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) free of charge.
CWD is a fatal disease of the central nervous system in deer and elk. Since 2002 when the first deer was diagnosed with CWD in Illinois, 150,970 wild deer have been sampled statewide, and 1,383 individual deer have been found to be infected with CWD. The disease is predominantly found in the northern third of Illinois.
Biologists track the distribution and intensity of CWD primarily through testing of hunter-harvested deer. CWD is not known to transmit to humans, but caution is advised. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend consuming CWD positive venison (deer meat).
Hunters can visit participating vendors, including taxidermists and meat processors, or drop deer heads at self-serve drop-off sites. A list of locations is available online at https://bit.ly/ILCWDdropoff.
Locations also can be found on the Hunt Illinois app at https://huntillinois.org/cwd-sampling or through an interactive map at https://bit.ly/CWDdropoffmap.
Hunters in CWD counties are strongly encouraged to have their deer tested. Hunters who plan to have their deer mounted can have a cooperating taxidermist collect the sample; testing procedures will not damage the deer skull. Hunters not using a cooperating taxidermist can bring the caped-out head to an IDNR sample drop-off barrel location where available.
Firearm deer hunters in CWD counties can get a voluntary sample taken by a biologist when they bring harvested deer to mandatory physical check stations during the firearm seasons. For a map of check stations, visit https://bit.ly/2022CWDcheckstns.
Hunters in non-CWD counties can use sample drop-off barrels or sampling vendors to have samples taken.
Hunters can view the results of their CWD tests by visiting https://bit.ly/CWDtestresults. Hunters will be contacted by an IDNR wildlife biologist if their deer tests positive for CWD.
Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, IDNR's Wildlife Disease Program identified 218 CWD-positive deer in 18 Illinois counties, including Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will, and Winnebago.
For more information about CWD management in Illinois, visit https://bit.ly/ILCWDprogram.