Area archery hunters have a chance to be part of a voluntary survey of Chronic Wasting Disease in white-tailed deer conducted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Hunters are being asked to submit the head of a deer and have it tested for free.

“The archery season for deer opens Oct. 1. We’re doing this as a surveillance to see if it has spread to those counties,” said Ray Eisbrener, a wildlife biologist with the IDNR.

So far in Illinois the disease, which is a fatal disease of the central nervous system, has been seen in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago counties. Eisbrener said there have been 67 confirmed cases in Illinois with the majority in Boone and Winnebago counties.

The IDNR will test the deer’s head and inform the hunter of the results within about three days.

“The World Health Organization says it is not known to cross the species barrier, but it’s not recommended to eat it,” he said.

Male or female deer can be tested. He said hunters should not freeze the heads, but keep them in a heavy plastic bag in a refrigerator. Samples cannot be taken from the animal if it has been refrigerated for more than three days.

The head should be removed so the two closest vertebrae nearest the skull are still attached. They can be dropped off (you can submit one or more) at an IDNR archery check station between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. in each respective county.

In Lake County it is at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Spring Grove. The station will not be open on Friday or Saturday.

The archery season ends Nov. 14.

For more information call Eisbrener at (815) 675-2386, ext. 316.