MDC offers deer head drop-off sites for Chronic Wasting Disease testing

deer head drop off freezer (Source: MDC)
deer head drop off freezer (Source: MDC)

(KBSI) – The Missouri Department of Conservation has deployed deer head drop-off sites in four counties in the Southeast region to make it easier for deer hunters to help monitor Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Firearms deer season in Missouri opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 22.

Each site has a freezer that will preserve the samples. They will be picked up later by MDC staff for CWD testing. To submit a deer head for testing, hunters will be required to cut off the head in advance, so it can be left in the freezer.

The goal is to provide hunters an additional way of submitting their harvested deer for voluntary CWD testing. The self-serve drop sites enable hunters to submit deer heads for sampling at their convenience throughout the 2022-2023 fall deer hunting season.

The sample drop-off sites in the Southeast region include:

  • Perry Co. – Perryville Forestry Office at 2206 W. St. Joseph in Perryville
  • St. Francois Co. – Farmington MDC Shop (behind USDA Office) at 812 Progress Drive in Farmington
  • Ste. Genevieve Co. – Dairy Queen parking lot at 18575 Hwy. 32
  • Jefferson Co. – Festus/Crystal City Chapter Conservation Club at 2567 Hwy. 61 in Festus

Tap here to view an interactive map showing all voluntary CWD testing drop-off sites throughout the state.

Hunters should cut off the deer head (and antlers for any bucks) while leaving about six inches of neck attached before coming to the drop-off location. Materials like trash bags, zip ties, and data sheets will be available at the freezer sites that hunters can use to label the heads.

Hunters need to record their name and contact information, as well as their Telecheck ID numbers and the location the deer was harvested. They can then leave the head in the freezer. Staff will collect the head and pull the samples to be submitted for testing.

The drop-off sites will not be available for use during the opening weekend of the firearms deer season (Nov. 12-13) in counties where mandatory CWD sampling is required. Hunters harvesting deer in mandatory CWD sampling counties must use the MDC staffed sampling locations normally used for CWD Mandatory Sampling during the opening weekend.

Hunters will be able to check the results themselves online using their Telecheck ID within three weeks. MDC will notify a hunter directly if their sample returns a positive result. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend eating meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD.

CWD is a neurological disease that is deadly to deer. A deer may be infected with no visible symptoms. The only way to positively identify the presence of CWD is to extract lymph nodes from the animal’s neck. Hunters play an important role in helping MDC monitor and track the disease in Missouri by providing this valuable data.

Hunters who harvest deer from any of the 34 CWD Management Zone counties are reminded that they must follow carcass transportation restrictions when traveling to CWD testing sites. Visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd, or see the 2022 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Information and Regulation booklet for details.

The drop-off sites will be available to accept samples until the conclusion of the 2022-2023 archery deer season, Jan. 15, 2023.

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