Hunter Submission Pathway

In December 2019, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in partnership with Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) rolled out the hunter submission pathway for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing. This option is available to hunters both in- and out-of-state for cervids harvested in Iowa that either:

  • Do not meet the DNR’s surveillance criteria (i.e. fawns) or,
  • Are harvested in counties or management zones that have already exceeded surveillance quotas

How to Submit a CWD Sample

We test for CWD in free-ranging white-tailed deer using the medial retropharyngeal lymph node, which requires a cut to the neck right behind the jaw. If you intend to mount your harvest, you can work with your taxidermist to pull a sample. Otherwise, you can bring an intact carcass or just the head to your local DNR Unit so our field staff can pull your sample. Additionally, if you are interested in learning how to collect your own sample, check out the video and other resources produced by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach here. Since lymph nodes come in pairs, only one “A” lymph node will go to the lab for testing. Hunters should retain the “B” lymph node until results have been released.

If you are interested in CWD testing through the hunter submission pathway, contact your local DNR Wildlife Biologist to arrange a time for drop-off. The cost of testing through the VDL is $25 per sample. Download and fill out the submission form ahead of your appointment using these instructions:

Please note, cervids harvested outside of Iowa are also eligible for testing through the VDL. For elk, both brainstem (obex) and lymph node must be screened.

Collecting Lymph Nodes for Chronic Wasting Disease Testing

Learn how to take a lymph node sample to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) by watching the following video, produced by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.