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Herd of deer in field

Chronic Wasting Disease Get Your Animal Sampled

Hunters in Montana can have their deer, elk, or moose tested for chronic wasting disease with the help of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. FWP is paying for the testing of samples. CWD sampling is voluntary. In Priority Surveillance Areas, sampling is strongly encouraged to help FWP gather additional data to inform management.

Hunters can either take the samples themselves, fill out the online hunter submission form and mail them to our Wildlife Health Lab in Bozeman, or they can bring the animal (or head) to an FWP regional office or CWD Sampling Station. Hunters who visit a regional office should be prepared to experience wait times during busy hours. Check with your regional office for optimal times, but in general regional offices will be able to take samples during normal business hours.
 

How do you test for CWD?

To determine whether an animal is infected, a certified CWD-testing diagnostic laboratory must test an animal’s retropharyngeal lymph nodes or brainstem for evidence of CWD. These samples can only be collected from dead animals. Unfortunately, there are no non-invasive CWD tests for live animals. Meat cannot be tested for CWD.

How long will it take for me to find out if my animal has CWD?

Results will be posted online and emailed to the hunter within three weeks.

What happens if my harvested animal tests positive for CWD?

Hunters may request a replacement license if their animal tests CWD-positive, however, the hunter must surrender their entire animal, including the head. No replacement licenses for subsequent seasons will be issued.

How can a hunter submit their own sample?

CWD Self-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 and/or watch the video above 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. If you want to collect your own samples and drop them off at a CWD Sampling Location to be shipped, please visit your sampling location of choice where staff will take your sample and collect accompanying data from you at that time, including the latitude and longitude of your harvest location, species, age, sex, and your contact information. You will be issued a CWD ID# at that time.
     
  4. If you plan to mail the samples directly to our Wildlife Health Lab in Bozeman, please follow the instructions below.
     
  5. Please fill out the Online Hunter Harvest Submission Form and follow the associated directions for labeling your samples. Your samples must be bagged and labeled to be testable. Please consider adding your name and phone number on the outside of the sample bag, too. You will receive an email that confirms your submission and assigns a unique CWD number that will be used to track your test results. Results 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.
     
  6. 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 weekend.
     
  7. Send to:
    • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
      ATTN: Wildlife Health Lab (CWD)
      1400 S. 19th Avenue
      Bozeman, MT 59718
       
  8. There is no cost for the test.

Sampling Stations

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.

NEW: View interactive map of CWD Sampling Locations

Region 1 (Northwest Montana)

General Hunting Season
For questions, call (406) 752-5501

Regional Headquarters

490 North Meridian Road
Kalispell, MT 59901

(406) 752-5501

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Libby

Dept of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2

Sat, Sun & Mon, 11 a.m. – dusk
(Canoe Gulch check station will be closed)

US Highway 2 west of Kalispell

Sat & Sun, 11 a.m. – dusk

Swan

Highway 83 north of Swan Lake

Sat & Sun, 11 a.m. – dusk

Thompson Falls

Hwy 200 on west end of Thompson Falls

Sat, Sun & Mon, 11 a.m. – dusk

Olney

Highway 93

Saturdays & Sundays 11 a.m. – dusk

Eureka

Lincoln County Fairgrounds

Mondays, 11 a.m. – dusk

Region 2 (Western Montana)

Regional Headquarters

3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804

(406) 542-5500

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Region 3 (Southwest Montana)

Regional Headquarters

1400 South 19th
Bozeman, MT 59718

(406) 577-7900

CLOSED until further notice

Helena Area Resource Office

930 Custer Ave. W.

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Butte Area Resource Office

1820 Meadowlark Lane

Office Hours: Mon, 12PM-5PM
Tues-Fri, 9AM-12:30PM

Ennis Lions Club Park

Sat & Sun, 10AM - dusk
Mon & Tues, 8AM-12PM

Dillon

730 N. Montana St.

Sat & Sun, 10AM - dusk
Mon & Tues, 8AM-12PM

Region 4 (Central Montana)

Regional Headquarters

4600 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405

(406) 454-5840

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Region 5 (South central Montana)

Regional Headquarters

2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105

(406) 247-2940

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Region 6 (Northeast Montana)

Regional Headquarters

1 Airport Rd
Glasgow, MT 59230

(406) 228-3700

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Havre Area Resource Office

2165 Hwy 2 East
Havre, MT 59501

(406) 265-6177

Office Hours:
Mon 10AM-6PM
Tue 10AM-2PM
Wed 10AM-4PM
Thu 10AM-2PM
Fri 10AM-2PM

Region 7 (Eastern Montana)

Regional Headquarters

352 I-94 Business Loop
Miles City, MT 59301

(406) 234-0900

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM

Sidney

Town Pump at the 4 way junction of Hwy 16N, Hwy 200 W and Hwy 23 E.

Sun, 10AM-4PM or dusk if busy

Hysham

Sat, Sun & Mon, 10AM-4PM or dusk if busy

Ashland

Sat & Sun, 10AM-4PM or dusk if busy

Broadus

Fri & Mon, 10AM-4PM or dusk if busy

Mosby

CLOSED until further notice

Flowing Wells

CLOSED until further notice

Carcass Disposal

Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. Infected animals that are dead or alive can contribute to the spread of CWD. Scientists believe CWD prions likely spread between animals through body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water.

Once introduced into an area, the CWD protein is contagious within deer and elk populations and can spread quickly. Experts believe CWD prions can remain in the environment for a long time, so other animals can contract CWD from the environment even after an infected deer or elk has died.

Proper carcass disposal is critical to protecting our herds. All carcass parts, such as brain, eyes, spleen, lymph glands, and spinal cord material, should be bagged and disposed of in a landfill or may be left at the kill site.

Protect our herds: properly dispose of carcasses.

View interactive map of CWD Carcass Disposal Sites 
Properly Dispose of CWD Carcasses bulletin