Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a serious neurologic disease affecting white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is a member of a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases. CWD is fatal in these species. CWD is spread through bodily fluids like feces, saliva, blood or urine. CWD is transmitted either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, plants, food or water. CWD is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep.

Although it has been associated with captive deer and elk in the past, CWD is also found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in several Midwestern states close to Indiana, including Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Each year, Indiana DNR biologists and staff at DNR fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) collect tissue samples from hunter-harvested and road-killed deer for CWD testing. Samples are collected from across the state to monitor the presence of CWD in Indiana. To date, all deer samples tested for CWD in Indiana have tested negative for CWD.

2018-2019 CWD Surveillance

Indiana DNR is conducting targeted CWD surveillance in northwest and northeast Indiana during the 2018-2019 deer hunting season. The DNR requests voluntary assistance from hunters in this effort. Participants will receive a commemorative Deer Management Partner magnet as a token of appreciation. Biologists are collecting samples (lymph nodes at the junction of the head and neck) from deer harvested within the Core Surveillance Area and the Enhanced Surveillance Areas from Sept. 29, 2018 – Dec. 23, 2018. There will be no fee charged for CWD testing of deer from these areas through this program. Test results, when available, will be posted online for individual hunters to access.

A Core Surveillance Area is an area of high interest due to a proximate, known disease risk. DNR established a Core Surveillance Area in northwest Indiana because of the close proximity of CWD-affected deer in Kankakee County, Illinois.

An Enhanced Surveillance Area is one where there is a heightened risk of disease, but the risk is less immediate than in the Core Surveillance Area. CWD has not been identified in Indiana.

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Surveillance Areas

Core Surveillance Area – Northwest Indiana

  • Newton County
  • Lake County south of State Road 2

Enhanced Surveillance Area - Northwest Indiana

  • Lake County north of State Road 2
  • Porter County
  • LaPorte County
  • Starke County
  • Jasper County
  • Pulaski County

Enhanced Surveillance Area – Northeast Indiana

  • Steuben County

Northwest Indiana, 2018-2019

In northwest Indiana, DNR biologists are stationed at the locations below to collect samples for CWD testing from deer harvested within the Core and Enhanced Surveillance areas. Hunters may voluntarily drop off deer heads with DNR biologists at these locations during days and times indicated.

Business

Address

Date

Hours CT*

Phil's Truck Stop

3347 S.R. 10, Lake Village

Weekends, Sept. 29 – Dec. 23

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jay’s Deer Processing

2651 Clifford Rd, Valparaiso

Weekends, Sept. 29 – Dec. 23

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

*Hours of operation subject to change based on need.

Hunters may also voluntarily submit samples for CWD testing at the following fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, by appointment only.

Fish and Wildlife Area

Address

Phone

Dates

Hours
Nov. 17 & 18

Jasper-Pulaski

5822 N Fish & Wildlife Ln
Medaryville, IN 47957

(219) 843-4841

Weekdays
Oct. 1 – Dec. 21
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT

Kankakee

4320 W Toto Road North Judson, IN 46366

(574) 896-3522

Closed

Kingsbury

5344 S Hupp Road LaPorte, IN 46350

(219) 393-3612

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT

LaSalle

4752 W 1050 N Lake Village, IN 46349

(219) 992-3019

Closed

Willow Slough

1803 S 700 W Morocco, IN 47963

(219) 285-2704

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
Winamac

1493 W 500 N Winamac, IN 46996

(574) 956-4422

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET

The following business partners are working with DNR to ensure that CWD samples are collected from any deer harvested within the Core or Enhanced Surveillance areas that a customer brings in for processing or taxidermy and voluntarily wishes to have sampled:

Business

Address

Brook Locker Plant

243 W Main St, Brook, IN 47922

Buck Yeah

9277 N 327 W, Lake Village, IN 46349

Jay’s Processing 2651 Clifford Rd, Valparaiso, IN 46385
Ken Kemble Processing 6300 E 25 N, Knox IN 46534
Realistic Processing 15820 Chestnut St, Lowell, IN 46356

DNR will be reaching out to additional processors to determine if they would be interested in participating in this CWD sampling effort. If your business would like to partner with DNR to collect CWD samples, and you are located in the Core or Enhanced Surveillance areas in northwest Indiana, please call 812-822-3303.

Additional CWD sample collection locations and hours of operation will be added as they become available.

View interactive map of sampling locations, Fish and Wildlife Areas, and partnering businesses.

Northeast Indiana, 2018-2019

In northeast Indiana, DNR biologists are collecting voluntary samples for CWD testing from deer harvested within Steuben County at Pigeon River FWA, 8310 E 300 N, Box 71, Mongo, IN 46771, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (by appointment only; please call 260-367-2164 starting Oct. 1 through Dec. 21, 2018.

During opening weekend of Firearms Season, Nov. 17 and 18, 2018, DNR biologists will be stationed at the locations listed below to collect samples from hunter-harvested deer for CWD testing. Hunters may submit deer for testing during the hours listed.

Location Address Hours Nov. 17 & 18
The Angler Enterprises 7430 S SR 327, Hudson, IN 46747 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
Marsh Lake Wetland FWA Feather Valley Road, Fremont, 46737
Pigeon River FWA 8310 E 300 N, Mongo, IN 46771

Also on Nov. 17 and 18, the following business partners will be working with DNR to ensure that CWD samples are collected from any deer harvested within Steuben County that a customer brings in for processing or taxidermy and voluntarily wishes to have sampled. A DNR biologist will collect the samples.

Business Address
Mister Bratz 9480 State Road 120, Orland, IN 46776
Anstead's Market Deer Processing 7245 N 925 E, Fremont, IN 46737

If you have questions about where to take your deer for CWD sampling, call 844-803-0002.

Tissue samples can be collected from bucks and does that are at least 1.5 years old, but not from fawns. Tissues needed for CWD testing are the retropharyngeal lymph nodes located on either side of the esophagus at the base of the head.

For hunters who wish to mount their deer, samples can be collected after the taxidermist skins the head. DNR will work with hunters and taxidermists to arrange to collect deer heads from taxidermists after the heads have been processed.

Human health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to some types of non-human primates, like monkeys, that eat meat from CWD-infected animals.”

The CDC further states that “These studies raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people. Since 1997, the World Health Organization has recommended that it is important to keep the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain.”

Testing is not required in Indiana at this time, but in areas where CWD is known to be present, the CDC recommends that hunters strongly consider having deer and elk tested before eating the meat. The CDC recommends that you do not eat meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.

For more information about precautions you can take to decrease the risk of exposure to CWD, visit the CDC webpage at www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/prevention.html.

For questions related to human health, you may also contact the Indiana State Department of Health at (317) 233-1325.

More information

If you have any questions regarding CWD or other diseases in wild deer, contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife at (812) 334-3795.

FAQs about CWD

No. Participation in the CWD monitoring program is optional.

  • What are the signs of CWD?

    An animal infected with CWD may not show signs until the later stages of the disease but can be infectious to other cervids before it appears sick. Deer showing advanced clinical signs of CWD appear emaciated, exhibit abnormal behavior such as staggering or standing with poor posture, salivate excessively, or carry their head and ears lower than normal.

  • Why is DNR testing for CWD?

    CWD positive wild deer have been found approximately 25 miles from the Indiana border in northeast Illinois, and DNR is testing Indiana’s deer as a precautionary measure. To date, CWD has not been found in Indiana.

  • How are deer tested for CWD?

    The retropharyngeal lymph nodes, located near the windpipe, are removed from the neck and sent to Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab for testing where they will be examined microscopically for evidence of CWD.

  • Will I be notified of my deer’s CWD test results?

    Yes. Hunters can view their test results by clicking on the link “View CWD test results here” at the top of this webpage. The hunter’s phone number or the deer’s confirmation number is needed to check results. Final test results may take eight to 12 weeks to appear online. If a deer tests positive for CWD, DNR will notify the hunter directly using the contact information provided.

  • Where can hunters have deer tested?

    Biologists will manage deer check stations during peak periods of the firearms deer hunting season. They will ask hunters to voluntarily donate samples of deer for testing. Biologists won’t be able to sample every deer. They will be actively seeking deer from counties in northwest Indiana and at scattered other locations across the state to get a statistically accurate sample.

  • Am I required to turn over a sample of my deer?

    No. Participation in the CWD monitoring program is optional.

  • How can I tell if the deer I harvested has CWD?

    There is no way to tell if a deer is infected with CWD by appearance. DNR officials recommend that hunters not process or consume any deer that is obviously ill or emaciated.

  • How do I get a deer tested outside of the CWD surveillance zone?

    For deer harvested outside the CWD surveillance zone, hunters can submit samples (lymph nodes or entire heads) to Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) for a fee. More information and submission forms are available on the ADDL website