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Chronic Wasting Disease (Deer)


Overview of CWD

What is CWD?

  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological (brain and central nervous system) disease that affects members of the deer family including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and caribou.
  • It is caused by naturally occurring proteins, called prions, that become misfolded, creating holes in brain tissue and resulting in eventual death
  • CWD is spread through direct animal-to-animal contact or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, carcass parts of an infected animal, or contaminated materials in the environment (plants and soil).
  • Prions released into the environment through bodily fluids or diseased carcasses are extremely resistant to degradation and can remain infectious for years.
  • Once an animal is infected there is no recovery or cure for CWD.

Where has CWD Been Found?

  • CWD has been confirmed in 30 states, 4 Canadian provinces, Finland, Norway, and South Korea
  • The first confirmed case of CWD in Ohio was found in a captive deer at a shooting preserve in Holmes County in 2014. Since then, 24 additional deer from three other captive facilities in Holmes and Wayne counties have tested positive for CWD.
  • Since 2002, nearly 33,000 wild deer (including nearly 2,500 in the Holmes County region) have been tested for CWD statewide.
  • Ohio confirmed its first and second CWD-positive wild deer in late 2020 and early 2021 in Wyandot County.
  • During the 2021-22 season, an additional nine deer tested positive for CWD in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties.

CWD in Ohio

In fall of 2020, a free-ranging white-tailed deer, a mature buck, was harvested in southern Wyandot County, sampled by a taxidermist as part of our long-standing CWD surveillance program, and subsequently confirmed positive for CWD. A second CWD-positive deer, a yearling doe, was harvested as part of a controlled hunt on Killdeer Plains Refuge in January 2021. Subsequent testing in the 2021-22 hunting season confirmed an additional eight CWD-positive deer in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties. A targeted effort in March 2022 resulted in the removal of one additional CWD-positive deer from the landscape, bringing the total number of positives to 11.

Disease Surveillance Areas and Regulations

List of Disease Surveillance Areas [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area Regulations [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area 2021-01 (Revised 3/22) [pdf]

Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) Flyer [pdf]

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife announced in June 2021 that it has enacted a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA 2021-01) in all of Wyandot and portions of Marion and Hardin counties following the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in two wild white-tailed deer harvested during the 2020-21 hunting season. Subsequent testing has confirmed an additional nine CWD-positive deer in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties. Given the likelihood of established disease, spatial distribution of confirmed positives, an agricultural landscape that facilitates long-distance dispersal, as well as a desire to promulgate DSA-specific harvest regulations at the county level, the DSA was expanded in February 2022 to include the entirety of Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion counties.

DSA 2021-01 is comprised of the following entire counties:

  • Wyandot
  • Marion
  • Hardin

The following regulations apply within the DSA:

  • Successful hunters must bring either the head or complete carcasses of all deer harvested within the DSA to either a staffed sampling station or use a self-serve kiosk on specified days. Staffed sampling locations will only be available during the 7-day gun season. Hunters can utilize self-serve kiosks to have their deer sampled throughout the deer season. Mandatory testing days are:
    • Oct. 8-10
    • Nov. 5-6
    • Nov. 12 -13
    • Nov. 28-Dec. 4
  • The placement of or use of bait (salt, minerals, or any food) to attract or feed deer within the DSA boundaries is prohibited, as is the hunting of deer by the aid of bait.
  • It is illegal to remove high-risk carcass parts from a DSA, unless the carcass complies with deer carcass regulations or the carcass is delivered to a Division of Wildlife certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of leaving the disease surveillance area. Additional information on carcass regulations, acceptable carcass parts, and a complete list of certified processors and taxidermists can be found on this page under the tab “Deer Carcass Possession and Movement Restrictions."

Where to Submit a Deer for CWD Sampling

For Deer Harvested in the DSA

If you harvest a deer within the DSA, 27 self-serve kiosks will be available throughout deer season to submit deer for sampling. Instructions for sample submission will be posted at the kiosk. Hunters are not required to surrender their deer if they wish to have it taxidermied. If you plan to have your deer taxidermied and it was harvested in the DSA on a mandatory sampling day or if you simply wish to have it tested, you can either take the deer to a certified taxidermist or contact 419-429-8322 for further guidance. If you are concerned about having your deer tested for CWD, please call 419-429-8322.

Dumpsters are available to encourage the proper disposal of deer carcasses at the following six locations across the DSA:

  • Wyandot Wildlife Area
  • Andreoff Wildlife Area
  • Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area HQ
  • Hardin County Coonhunter’s Club
  • Big Island Wildlife Area HQ
  • Rural King
  • Click HERE for an interactive mapping application that displays all sampling and carcass disposal locations in the DSA.

    Map of Sampling and Carcass Disposal Locations

    ID Name Street City
    1 Wyandot Wildlife Area* 4191 County Hwy 97 Carey
    2 Johnson’s Hunting and Fishing 8501 County Hwy 16 McCutchenville
    3 Mickey Mart 103 W Saffel Ave Sycamore
    4 Wharton Post Office 124 W Sandusky St Wharton
    5 Salem Township Building 13077 County Highway 47 Upper Sandusky
    6 Wyandot County Fairgrounds 10171 OH 53 Upper Sandusky
    7 The Sportsman’s Stop 2733 County Hwy 330 Nevada
    8 Pasco Custom Processing 7933 OH 231 Nevada
    9 McGuffey Conservation Club 6950 Township Road 55 Ada
    10 Andreoff Wildlife Area* 3373 County Rd 215 Forest
    11 Mifflin Township Building 14991 Township Hwy 103 Upper Sandusky
    12 Marseilles Township Building 20461 State Route 37 LaRue
    13 Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area HQ* 19100 County Hwy 115 Harpster
    14 Hardin County Fairgrounds 14134 County Road 140 Kenton
    15 Hardin County Coon Hunters Club* 21623 County Rd 144 Kenton
    16 Meeker Community Center 6400 Harding Highway W Marion
    17 Grand Prairie Township Building 5071 Marion-Upper Sandusky Rd Marion
    18 Roundhead-McDonald Park 17763 OH 117 Roundhead
    19 Plaza Mini Mart 481 S Main St Mount Victory
    20 Bowling Green Township Building 8500 Guthery Rd LaRue
    21* Big Island Wildlife Area HQ 5389 Larue-Prospect Rd W New Bloomington
    22 Big Island Wildlife Area 3600 Marion-Agosta Rd Marion
    23 Rural King* 233 America Blvd Marion
    24 First Consolidated Fire District 115 S High St Caledonia
    25 Green Camp Township Fire Dept. 217 Main St Green Camp
    26 Pleasant Township Fire Dept 1035 Owens Rd W Marion
    27 Fort Morrow Fire Dept. 306 N Marion St Waldo

    *Dumpster available onsite for convenient and proper deer carcass disposal

    CWD DSA Kiosk Instructions

    For Deer Harvested Outside the DSA

    Hunters that harvest a deer outside of a DSA can submit a deer for CWD testing at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. CWD testing through ADDL will include a fee. Contact ADDL (614-728-6220) for more information regarding cost, sampling, and hours of operation.

    How to Collect a Sample for Testing

    It is important that hunters remove the deer head at the appropriate location when leaving their deer head for CWD sampling. Please watch this short video to learn how to properly remove the deer head:

    Although the easiest way to have your deer sampled is to leave the head at a self-serve kiosk, some hunters may want to remove the lymph nodes themselves. Please talk to a wildlife professional about doing this beforehand. To learn how to remove lymph nodes for CWD sampling watch the video below.

    CWD Test Results and Surveillance Summary

    Search CWD Test Results 2020-2022

    Summary of 2021-22 CWD Surveillance

    Deer Carcass Possession and Movement Restrictions

    Improper disposal of carcasses, trims, and parts from hunter-killed wild deer, elk, moose, and other CWD-susceptible species increases the odds of introducing and spreading CWD. To minimize this risk, we have imposed a complete ban on the importation of carcasses or high-risk carcass parts of all CWD-susceptible species unless they are delivered to a certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of entering the state. Additionally, it is unlawful to move any deer carcass or high-risk parts out of a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) within Ohio, unless delivered to a certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of leaving the DSA. A map and accompanying list of certified processors and taxidermists is available below.

    The Following Areas are Subject to Carcass Movement and Possession Rules:

    • Anywhere outside of Ohio
    • Disease Surveillance Area 2021-01, which comprises the following entire counties:
      • Wyandot
      • Hardin
      • Marion

    No person shall possess all or any part of a cervidae carcass from an area outside of Ohio, or from areas within Ohio listed above unless the carcass is kept in the area where legally taken, killed, or processed, or unless the carcass is delivered to a certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours of entering the state or leaving a DSA. The following is a list of carcass parts that are not subject to carcass possession and/or movement restrictions:

    • De-boned meat;
    • Meat that is cut and securely and completely wrapped either commercially or privately with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
    • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
    • Antlers;
    • Antlers attached to a skull cap from which all soft tissue has been removed;
    • Upper canine teeth from which all soft tissue has been removed;
    • Hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached;
    • Finished taxidermy mounts; or
    • Any soft body tissue wrapped and packaged for use by a diagnostic research laboratory.

    Locations of Certified Processors and Taxidermists (last updated Dec. 2, 2022). Clicking on the map below will open a document containing the list of certified businesses.

    Click map for list of certified processors

    Processor and Taxidermist Training and Certification

    List & Map of Ohio CWD Certified Processors and Taxidermists (rev. 12/2/22) [pdf]

    After receiving authorization from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, a taxidermist or processor may possess a cervidae carcass or prohibited parts thereof taken from outside of the state of Ohio or from a Disease Surveillance Area. Taxidermists or processors may receive authorization after completion of required training in proper handling and disposal of the cervidae carcass or parts thereof as provided by the chief of the Division of Wildlife. As part of the certification, you must complete a short video presentation and test at the links below.

    CWD News Archive

    [News Release 9/8/22]: Additional Deer Hunting and CWD Testing in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot Counties

    [News Release 10/26/21]: Increased CWD Surveillance Planned for Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion Counties

    [News Release 6/11/21]: CWD Surveillance Area Established in North-Central Ohio - Holmes and Tuscarawas counties DSA discontinued

    [News Release 3/5/21]: Second Positive CWD Tissue Sample Identified in Wild Ohio Deer

    [News Release 12/14/20]: Tissue Sample Confirmed Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in One Wild Ohio Deer