SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resource (IDNR) will continue surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer by testing tissue samples taken from adult deer provided by archery hunters who voluntarily participate in the effort in select northern Illinois counties. Tests will be conducted on samples from deer harvested by participating bow hunters in Boone, Cook, DuPage, DeKalb, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Ogle and Winnebago counties from October 1 thru November 17.

Only adult deer will be tested since it is unlikely that CWD would be detectable in deer less than six months old.

The voluntary monitoring program will help track the distribution and number of chronic wasting disease cases in Illinois deer. To date, CWD has been found in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease, involving deer and elk, which poses a serious threat to deer populations in areas where it occurs. There is no evidence that humans can contract CWD from eating venison and CWD is not considered a threat to human health.

Archery deer hunters who wish to participate in the CWD sampling effort should first check in their deer using the new DNR Direct telephone/internet harvest reporting system. After checking in their deer, hunters can bring the deer or an unfrozen deer head (with the two neck vertebrae nearest the skull still attached) to one of the sampling stations listed below. Tissue samples will be taken for laboratory analysis. Hunters may retain the head and/or antlers, although capes used for taxidermy mounts will be damaged during this process.

These sites will serve as CWD sampling stations, taking samples from entire deer or deer heads:

  • Sportsman’s Choice, 11820 Catalpa, Woodstock. Open: Tues-Fri 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sun 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Jones Processing, 204 N. Seminary, Woodstock. Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat and Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Pinnons Meats, 2324 N. Court St., Rockford, Open Mon-Sat 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Eickman’s Processing, Grant Ave, Seward, Open Mon-Fri 7 a.m-5:30 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-noon
  • Authentic Taxidermy, 1849 Yates Ave, Beloit, WI, Call 608/362-8323 to confirm hours

Alternatively, hunters who wish to participate in the CWD sampling may leave the heads from adult deer for testing at several drop-off sites. Hunters should remove the deer head, leaving the two vertebrae nearest the skull attached. The head should be placed in a heavy-grade plastic bag and kept cool until the hunter delivers it to the drop-off site. The head should be stored on ice or refrigerated, but not frozen. Tissue samples cannot be taken from deer heads refrigerated more than three days.

The following sites will serve as drop-off sites for deer heads:

  • Chain O’ Lakes State Park, 8916 Wilmot Rd., Spring Grove, Open: Mon-Sun 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Illinois Beach State Park, Wadsworth Road entrance, Zion, Open: Mon-Sun sunrise – sunset
  • IDNR Regional Office, James Pate Phillip (Tri-County) State Park, 2050 W. Stearns Rd., Bartlett, Open: one-half hour after sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
  • Rock Cut State Park, 7318 Harlem Rd, Loves Park, Open: Mon-Sun
  • Hononegah Forest Preserve, 80 Hononegah Rd, Rockton, Open: Mon-Sun
  • Pecatonica Wetlands Preserve, 4550 N. Pecatonica Rd, Pecatonica, Open Mon-Sun
  • Smokehouse Processing, 5735 S. 9th St, Rockford, Open: Mon-Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Boone County Conservation District – Maintenance Bldg, 655 N. Appleton Rd, Belvidere, Open: Mon-Sun 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

All test results will be posted on the IDNR web site and will be accessible to participating hunters. Hunters submitting a deer that tests positive will be notified by phone as soon as results are available.

For more information, contact IDNR Wildlife Biologist Ray Eisbrener at 815/675-2386 ext. 316 (Lake, Kane, Cook, DuPage and McHenry counties) or IDNR Wildlife Biologist Doug Dufford at 815/535-2875 (Boone, DeKalb, Ogle and Winnebago counties).

The IDNR appreciates the assistance of hunters who volunteer to participate in this very important wildlife disease surveillance program. Hunters will also have the opportunity to have deer tested for CWD during the upcoming firearm deer season in Boone, DeKalb, Kane, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties. Firearm season is Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4.