Current Bovine Tuberculosis Surveillance in Indiana Deer


2017 bovine tuberculosis surveillance

The Indiana DNR will again conduct bovine tuberculosis (bTB) surveillance in portions of Fayette and Franklin counties during the 2017-2018 deer hunting season. Samples will be collected from deer harvested within the bTB Surveillance Zone continuously during the regular hunting season from Oct. 1, 2017 through Jan. 7, 2018 (excluding Thanksgiving and several days around Christmas).

Biological check station

An IDNR check station is in the parking lot at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site maintenance facility at 19083 Clayborn St., Metamora, IN 47030 (star on map below). Hunters may submit deer at this location for bTB testing. Hours:

Sept. 23-24
9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Oct. 1-Nov. 10
Monday-Friday, 9-11:30 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Nov. 11-Dec. 3
Daily 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day

Dec. 4-Jan. 7
Monday-Friday: 9-11:30 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Closed Dec. 22-26

Note: Due to Metamora Canal Days Autumn Festival, the IDNR check station will be temporarily located at the railroad tracks on State Road 52 near Pennington Road on Oct. 6, 7, and 8, 2017.

Drop-off locations

Drop-off locations are established at three businesses for hunters to drop off deer heads anytime during the hunting season for bTB testing. The heads will be later collected by an IDNR biologist (see map below).  Call for hours:

  • Hunter’s Choice Deer Processing, 6164 Highland Center Road, Brookville, IN 47012; (513) 403-7667
  • Mustin’s Taxidermy & Processing, 1660 W. County Road 350-S, Connersville, IN 47331; (765) 698-4960
  • Mounds State Recreation Area office, 14108 State Road 101, Brookville, IN 47012; (765) 647-2657

2017 surveillance zone

2017 bTB survey zone

The bTB surveillance zone is defined as follows. (Printable version in PDF | Interactive map)

  1. The portion of Fayette County south of State Road 44 and west of State Road 1; and
  2. The portion of Franklin County bounded by the following:
    1. From the northwest corner of Franklin County east to Brookville Lake.
    2. The western half of Brookville Lake south to the Tailwaters of Brookville Lake.
    3. South along the Tailwaters of Brookville Lake to State Road 101.
    4. South along State Road 101 to State Road 1/Main Street.
    5. South along State Road 1/Main Street to 6th Street.
    6. West along 6th Street to St. Mary’s Road.
    7. West along St. Mary’s Road to Pumphouse Road.
    8. West along Pumphouse Road to Pipe Creek Road.
    9. West along Pipe Creek Road to Hickory Road.
    10. West along Hickory Road to State Road 229.
    11. North along State Road 229 to Beacon Road.
    12. West along Beacon Road to BullFork Road and continuing onto Harvey Branch Road.
    13. South along Harvey Branch Road to Beacon Road/Harvey Branch Road.
    14. South and west along Beacon Road/Harvey Branch Road to Rail Fence Road.
    15. West along Rail Fence Road to Hilltop Road.
    16. West along Hilltop Road to Bullfork Road.
    17. South along Bullfork Road and continuing onto North Hamburg Road.
    18. West along North Hamburg Road to West Hamburg Road.
    19. West along West Hamburg Road to the Franklin/Decatur county boundary.
    20. North along the Franklin/Decatur County boundary to the northwest corner of Franklin County

Surveillance goals

The 2017 bTB surveillance goal is to identify bTB at a prevalence rate of 0.2 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. This means our target number of deer to sample is 477 bucks at least 2.5 years old or older, or a combination of deer with varying age and sex to equal the value of 477 bucks. Each age and sex class has a predetermined value for surveillance:

  • Bucks 2.5 years old and older are the most valuable for surveillance
  • Older-age does (2.5 years old or older) are worth about one-third of a 2.5-year-old buck
  • Young deer or yearlings (1.5 years old) are worth about one-tenth of a 2.5-year-old buck

As an example, we would need approximately:

  • 350 bucks age 2.5 years old or older, and
  • 300 does age 2.5 years old or older (equal to 100 bucks age 2.5 years old or older), and
  • 220 yearling deer (equal to 22 bucks age 2.5 years old or older).

Fawns have almost no surveillance value unless they come from an infected premise.

If enough samples are not submitted by hunters, additional older-age bucks will be removed by sharpshooters and tested for bTB after the close of the hunting season. Our goal is to obtain all of the samples we need from hunter-harvested animals.

What if a deer tests positive for bTB?

IDNR has established a response plan if a wild white-tailed deer tests positive for bTB during the 2017-2018 sampling effort. The response will depend on the sex and age of the infected animal and the genetics of the bTB bacteria found in that deer.

  1. If a single buck tests positive for bTB and the genetics of the bTB indicate that the deer was infected from a bTB positive farm prior to 2015:
    • IDNR will determine the precise location where the deer was harvested.
    • No additional deer will be removed for control purposes.
    • Surveillance efforts will increase the following year centered on that location.
  2. If a single buck tests positive for bTB and the genetics of the bTB indicated that the deer was infected from a bTB positive farm in 2016 or later OR if a single fawn or doe tests positive for bTB:
    • IDNR will determine the precise location where the deer was harvested.
    • Biologists will identify the maternal and/or buck groups that use the area where the infected deer was harvested.
    • Maternal and/or buck groups whose home ranges overlap with the identified area will be removed. A group of deer may consist of 8 to 25 deer.
    • Surveillance efforts will increase the following year centered on that location.

What happens when a deer is submitted for bTB testing?

The lymph nodes in the neck and head are removed and submitted to two laboratories for testing. The samples are first sent to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab for initial testing that involves examining them microscopically for signs of bacteria related to bTB. Test results are typically available in 2 to 3 weeks and will be posted online within a few days of receipt by IDNR.

The samples are also submitted to the National Veterinary Services Lab (NVSL) for a more conclusive test known as a culture. Culturing is considered the “gold standard” in disease testing and increases our confidence in the overall surveillance effort. The samples are cultured to grow the bTB bacteria under controlled conditions, if the bacteria is present. Because bTB bacteria grow very slowly, test results may take 4 to 6 months to finalize. The results will be posted online as soon as they are available. Culture testing may allow us to decrease surveillance efforts in the future.

Hunters may view results for a submitted deer. If the result is positive, IDNR will contact the hunter who submitted the deer.

Drawing for additional buck

Hunters who harvest a deer in the bTB Surveillance Zone and submit it for bTB sampling will be entered into a drawing for 1 of 10 authorizations to take an additional buck from anywhere in Indiana during the 2018-2019 deer hunting season. The drawing will be held in January 2018. The number of entries per deer is based on the sex and age of each deer submitted as follows:

  • bucks 2.5 years old and older = 10 entries
  • does 2.5 years old and older = 3 entries
  • bucks or does 1.5 years old = 1 entry
  • fawns = no entries

Additionally, legally possessed road-killed deer may also be submitted for bTB testing, only at the IDNR check station in Metamora. Samples obtained from road-killed deer are valid for entries into the drawing. Individuals must have a valid possession tag from local law enforcement or an Indiana Conservation Officer when submitting the deer or deer head at the check station.

Hunters may check the status of their entries by viewing results for a submitted deer.

Feeding ban

A feeding ban is in place within the bTB Surveillance Zone from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018. You may not bait or knowingly or intentionally feed or attempt to congregate deer or any other wild mammal for any purpose in the bTB Surveillance Zone. The use of salt and mineral licks and normal agricultural practices, including the use of food plots, are not prohibited.

Coyote sampling

IDNR will also be sampling coyotes for bTB from outside the bTB Surveillance Zone during the deer hunting season. Coyotes will serve as sentinels for bTB and will enable IDNR to determine the extent of bTB on the landscape. Whole coyote carcasses can be dropped off at the Biological Check Station located at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site maintenance facility, or you may contact (844) 803-0002 or to receive supplies. Read more details about the coyote sampling program.

More information


Contact Joe Caudell, State Deer Biologist, (812) 334-1137