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Submitting CWD Samples

Collecting samples for CWD testing

To submit a sample at an FWP regional office or CWD Sampling Station, bring the following items when you submit your head for testing:

  1. Animal’s head: Leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be collected from frozen heads.
  2. Location of Harvest: GPS coordinates (Lat/Long or Township/Range/Section) of where you harvested your animal.

Submission Guide

To submit a sample via mail to the FWP Lab, take the following steps:

  1. Collect the lymph nodes:
    Please download the printable Lymph Node Extraction Instruction Sheet 1 MB and/or watch the video below for a demonstration:

    ** Only the lymph nodes are necessary for testing deer and elk. Extraction can easily be performed with a field knife. If you have a moose, please visit one of the CWD sampling locations or a regional headquarters office for assistance with collecting the brainstem and lymph nodes.
  2. Put the lymph nodes in sealed plastic bag:
    Ziplock bags or a similar brand work best. Double bag the sample and wrap it in a paper towel.
  3. Please fill out the Hunter Harvest Submission Form:
    Please fill out the the Hunter Harvest Submission Form and follow the associated directions for labeling your samples. Your samples must be bagged and labeled to be testable. You will receive several emails confirming your submission, including one that will assign a unique CWD number that will be used to track your test results. Results will be emailed to hunters and will be available online within 3 weeks. Be sure to record the location of harvest as accurately as possible. Samples without location information will not be tested. Samples without location information will not be tested.
  4. Shipment:
    Place the bagged samples, a cold ice pack, and the bagged submission form(s) in a small box or shipping envelope and send via your choice of postal carrier. Do not freeze water in a Ziplock bag to use as a cold pack. It will leak and carriers may not deliver a leaking package. We recommend using a carrier that will deliver your samples within 24-48 hours to prevent the samples from rotting. Please try to ship your samples on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of each week, and avoid shipping on holidays, to prevent the samples from sitting over the>
  5. Send to:
    • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
      ATTN: Wildlife Health Lab (CWD)
      1400 S. 19th Avenue
      Bozeman, MT 59718
  6. There is no cost for the test.