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Chronic Wasting Disease (Deer)

CWD Notice:

A captive white-tailed deer breeding facility in Holmes County was confirmed CWD-positive in January 2018 and depopulated in February 2018. Two of the 93 deer euthanized were CWD-positive as well. A disease surveillance area (DSA) was established around the facility and will remain in effect for at least the 2020-21 season.

Learn more about 2019 Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) updates below.

District Two (Northwest Ohio) Enhanced Surveillance Results

Results usually take 6-10 weeks from the day the deer was collected by the Division of Wildlife. If you have questions, please contact the Wildlife District 2 Office at (419) 424-5000

Chronic Wasting Disease (Deer)

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in wild or captive deer or elk in 24 states and 2 Canadian providences. If you plan to hunt outside of Ohio, you should familiarize yourself with the carcass restrictions that apply to the possession of deer parts from outside of Ohio.

Deer Carcass Restrictions

The risk of introducing CWD by transporting hunter-killed, wild deer, elk and moose is likely very low. Rather, it is the improper handling of carcasses, trims and parts that dramatically increases the odds of introducing CWD into Ohio’s wild deer herd from hunter-harvested deer outside of Ohio. To minimize the introduction of CWD into Ohio from deer and other cervids harvested outside of Ohio, we have imposed a complete ban on the possession of high-risk carcass parts from anywhere outside of Ohio.

Effective August 1, 2018: Any person may possess all or any part of a cervidae carcass legally taken, killed or processed in Ohio unless the carcass is taken from an area of Ohio that is posted on the division website at wildohio.gov. Any person may possess all or part of a cervidae carcass from Ohio that is legally taken, killed or processed within an area published by the division and posted on the division website at wildohio.gov provided that all or any part of the cervidae carcass possessed remains within the posted area.

No person shall possess all or any part of a cervidae carcass from an area outside of Ohio, unless the carcass is kept in the area where legally taken, killed or processed, except when the cervidae carcass consists only of any of the following:

  • 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; or
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.
  • Any soft body tissue wrapped and packaged for use by a diagnostic research laboratory.

Moving to a complete ban simplifies import rules for hunters traveling out of state and reduces the risk of introducing CWD into Ohio.

Rules Governing Interstate Transport of High-risk Cervid Carcass Parts

Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) Changes

In response to a captive cervid facility testing positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in January 2018 in eastern Holmes County, DSA 2018-01 was established effective August 1, 2018. Hunters harvesting a deer within the DSA during the 7-day gun season are required to present either the complete carcass or head for disease testing at an inspection station. Hunters will no longer be required to submit heads for disease testing during either the 2-day Bonus Gun or 4-day Muzzleloader seasons. As in years past, no testing will be done during the youth deer gun season. Hunters may present their deer at either the Sugar Creek Village Hall (Tuscarawas County) at 410 S. Broadway Street, Sugar Creek or the Walnut Creek Township Garage (Holmes County) at 2490 TR 414, Dundee. Both locations will be open and staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday December 2 to Sunday December 8. Additionally, inspection stations will be open Monday, December 9 from 8 a.m. to noon. New this year, the Berlin Township Garage (Holmes County) at 5253 TR 359, Millersburg, will serve as an unmanned head drop location during the gun season. Deer heads will need to be removed prior to arrival and placed in designated containers. Skull-capped and caped heads are acceptable.

Hunters will be asked to provide their 6-character confirmation code from the game check process as well as the location (nearest road intersection and township) where the deer was killed. Hunters that harvest a deer and wish to have it mounted must still bring their deer to an inspection station. Samples will not be taken at the time, but staff will collect additional information, so samples can be collected later.

DSA rules prohibit the placement of or use of salt, mineral supplement, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed to attract or feed deer within the DSA boundaries as well as hunting of deer by the aid of salt, mineral supplement, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed within the DSA boundaries. Normal agricultural activities including feeding of domestic animals as well as hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants and agriculture crops are not prohibited.

Hunters who plan to hunt in DSA 2018-01 are encouraged to have their deer processed commercially, and ideally within the DSA. Commercial processing all but ensures that all high-risk carcass parts are properly disposed of. If you process your own deer, you are encouraged to double-bag all high-risk carcass parts and set them with household trash for pickup. There is no strong evidence that CWD affects humans; however, hunters can take some common-sense precautions, such as not harvesting deer that appear sick or otherwise abnormal and wearing rubber gloves while field dressing and processing deer.

Disease Surveillance Area 2018

White-tailed Deer Harvested in Ohio

Irresponsible dumping of carcasses can spread disease. Hunters who process their white-tailed deer at home should properly dispose of the hide, brain and spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, bones and head by double-bagging these parts and set them with the trash for disposal at a municipal landfill. It is unlikely that hunters would increase CWD transmission by field dressing and leaving the entrails and internal organs in the field.

Anyone who sees deer that appear to be sick or are displaying abnormal behavior should immediately report the occurrence to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The person reporting the animal should describe the location of the animal, its symptoms and behavior. Hunters should not kill or handle a deer that they believe is sick.

Hunters Asked to Submit Deer Samples for Testing in Northwest Ohio

Deer hunters in Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties in northwest Ohio are encouraged to submit samples of harvested deer to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). While CWD has not been detected in Ohio’s wild deer herd, Ohio is enhancing surveillance efforts in northwest Ohio after the disease was detected in Michigan. Participation is voluntary and free of charge.

Hunters who participate in the program are asked to remove the head from a harvested deer and drop it off at any one of 12 collection stations. A kiosk at each location provides instructions on how to properly submit the deer head for testing. Hunters will be provided a unique specimen number which can be used to check results in approximately eight weeks.

Only adult deer harvested from Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties will be accepted. Fawns will not be tested. If a deer is sent to a taxidermist, it should not be submitted for testing. To submit a deer, remove the head approximately 4 inches below the bottom jawbone.

Hunters outside of Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties may submit a deer for testing at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a small fee. Please call 614-728-6220 for more information.

Collection station kiosks will be available from October 18, 2020 to January 10, 2021. The collection station locations are:

Lucas County

  • Cleland’s: 10306 Airport Highway, Swanton, OH 43558
  • Spencer Township Fire Department: 9445 Frankfort Road, Holland, OH 43528
  • Mallard Club Marsh Wildlife Area: 8349 Cedar Point Road, Oregon, OH 43616
  • Magee Marsh Wildlife Area Check Station, Ottawa County: 13299 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449
  • This location is not a kiosk, but all supplies and instructions will be located at the self-serve controlled waterfowl hunt station.

Fulton County

  • Pettisville Community Park: 18405 County Road D-E, Pettisville, OH 43553
  • ODNR Rest Area: 10601 U.S. 20, Lyons, OH 43533
  • Maumee State Forest Headquarters: 3380 County Road D, Swanton, OH 43558
  • Franklin Township Garage: 10392 State Route 66, Archbold, OH 43502

Williams County

  • Lake LaSuAn Wildlife Area Headquarters: 9455 County Road R, Pioneer, OH 43554
  • Williams County Fairgrounds: 619 E. Main Street, Montpelier, OH 43543
  • Florence Township Building: 362 S. Michigan Street, Edon, OH 43518
  • Pulaski Township Garage: 6646 U.S. 127, Bryan, OH 43506

Training and Test for Processors and Taxidermists 

After receiving authorization from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, a taxidermist or processor may possess a cervidae carcass or parts thereof taken from outside of the state of Ohio. Taxidermist 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, please watch a 10-minute video and answer the test questions at the links below.