CWD Testing

To submit a sample, hunters have several options:
  • Check Stations - Animals harvested within the state of Wyoming may be tested in association with Wyoming Game & Fish Department's CWD surveillance at check stations established throughout the state during big game seasons
  • In the field – when in contact with a game warden, wildlife biologist, or other employees who are collecting CWD samples
  • Select meat processors and taxidermists - A Game and Fish employee may be present in certain locations in the days surrounding season openers.  Availability varies greatly across the state.
  • Game and Fish regional offices - in many cases if a hunter stops at a Game and Fish office to get a CWD sample collected, the hunter will have to leave the head at the office until such time a warden or biologist is available to take the sample as they are in the field a majority of the hunting season.  Stop by to check, or call first to see what arrangements can be made.
  • Alternatively, hunters may also have their animal tested at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory or Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a fee. 
    Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory
    Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Test Sample:
For testing, the unfrozen and unrotten (fresher the better) head of any deer, elk or moose with the upper portion of the neck attached is needed. The sampling process takes about 5-10 minutes. Game and Fish will also need the hunt area and a specific location where the harvest occurred.  Consider quartering and freezing your game meat until CWD results are available.  License fees, game processing fees or other incidental expenses will not be refunded.

Game and Fish cautions that the testing program is not focused on ensuring the quality of the meat of hunters. Game and Fish does follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations that the public not eat any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD. Game and Fish also urges hunters to wear rubber or latex gloves as a general precaution against all diseases when field dressing an animal.

The whole head or just the retropharyngeal lymph nodes can be submitted for testing.  See the pdf below for instructions on removing retropharyngeal lymph nodes.  It is recommended, that if submitting retropharyngeal lymph nodes, that the head be retained until it is confirmed that the correct tissues were submitted to the laboratory.
Retropharyngeal Lymph Node Removal.pdf

Test Results:
Hunters who participate in Game and Fish’s CWD surveillance program by providing deer, elk, or moose tissue samples and provide adequate information, can obtain test results at the link below.  In most cases, testing is completed within three weeks.  Hunters, whose animals test positive for CWD, will be notified by mail and those hunters may dispose of the meat without violating any laws concerning the waste of game meat.  Meat should be properly disposed of in an approved municipal landfill.  Hunters whose animals do not test positive will not be notified.

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