The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants more hunters in Northwestern Wisconsin to submit deer heads for chronic wasting disease testing during the 2020 archery, crossbow and gun hunting seasons, although testing remains voluntary.

DNR officials say managing CWD requires knowing where the disease exists on the landscape, and having this knowledge is only possible with a lot of samples to test from deer hunters around the state.

The DNR is asking more hunters to participate this year after low numbers participated last year.

“Hunters who haven’t had their deer tested before might be concerned about the time involved or just not know what to expect when having their deer tested,” said Amanda Kamps, DNR wildlife health conservation specialist. “We offer a variety of ways for hunters to participate, letting them choose the route that’s most convenient for them.”

This year, hunters in far northern Wisconsin are especially encouraged to participate in the department’s effort to map where CWD occurs throughout the state. The counties with heightened focus in the northwest are Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Taylor.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“This fall in particular, CWD testing by hunters in northwestern and northeastern Wisconsin will be crucial in our effort to understand where CWD occurs in our state,” Kamps said. “Every last sample counts, so if you’re hunting in one of these counties, make sure to visit us online to find the most convenient sampling location near you.”

Hunters have several options available to have their deer sampled for CWD, and all drop-off sites can be found at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/registersample.html. In addition to a network of 24/7 self-service sampling stations kiosks around the state, many meat processors and businesses offer in-person sampling assistance.

A sample consists of the deer head with 3-5 inches of neck attached. Hunters will also need to have their harvest authorization number, harvest location and contact information when submitting a sample. This year, hunters may submit this information online rather than using a paper form. (To make special arrangements for large bucks, call your nearby DNR wildlife biologist.)