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Chronic wasting disease

  • 11/15/2022 11:40:00 AM
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The Iowa DNR will be working with hunters again this shotgun season to collect deer tissue samples to test for chronic wasting disease. So far this fall, one hunter harvested deer from Wayne County has been confirmed positive for the always fatal disease.

Hunters interested in participating in the surveillance effort are encouraged to contact their local wildlife biologist to arrange for sample to be collected. “If they’re interested but the sample quota has filled, we will assist them in submitting their sample through the hunter submission system, in partnership with Iowa State University – and that comes with a fee of $25,” said Harms.

This is the first year that additional samples will be collected in Greene and Fremont counties after deer in those counties tested positive for the disease last year.

Chronic wasting disease has been found in 12 Iowa counties. In addition to Greene and Fremont, the disease has been confirmed in Woodbury, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Dubuque, Jackson, Decatur, Wayne and Appanoose counties.

If hunting in an area where chronic wasting disease has been found, hunters are encouraged to hold the deer meat separately until the test results are available. Hunters can check the results online at the Iowa CWD dashboard at

“Hunters will need the registration number to find the test results – either write it down before tossing the tag or keep the tag,” Harms said. If a hunter’s deer tests positive, the DNR will contact them to offer to collect the meat and any other parts of the animal for proper disposal.

Hunters in areas where the disease has been found need a plan for carcass disposal.

“We recommend a trash service or landfill that accepts deer carcasses, if that’s not possible, then a burial pit, and lastly, leaving the boned-out deer on the area where it was harvested. That’s the best way to prevent bringing the disease to a new part of the state,” Harms said.

The idea is to minimize transporting carcasses as much as possible, he said. “Don’t bring it back home and pitch it out on the ‘back 40.’”

Virtual meeting

The Iowa DNR is hosting a virtual public meeting on chronic wasting disease on Nov. 29, from 7-8 p.m., when staff will provide an update on the science of the disease, its status in Iowa, and current management efforts. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and staff will answer as many as time allows.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required in order to receive information prior to the meeting. Interested individuals can register to attend through the link