SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will collect and test tissue samples from deer harvested by archery hunters in nine northern Illinois counties Oct. 1-Nov. 19 as part of the state’s continued surveillance program to detect chronic wasting disease in the Illinois deer herd.

Archery hunters in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Ogle and Winnebago counties may voluntarily provide samples from deer they harvest. Tests on samples provided will be conducted at no charge to participating hunters.

“The sampling and testing during the first seven weeks of the bow season continues our CWD surveillance effort that will also include another round of sampling during the upcoming firearm season in November and December,” said IDNR Director Joel Brunsvold. “We thank hunters for their support and cooperation in our CWD sampling program, which has provided valuable information as we monitor and combat this disease.”

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. It is not known to be contagious to people or livestock.

Illinois’ first case of chronic wasting disease was confirmed in November 2002 after a suspect animal was discovered by a Boone County landowner. Thirteen additional cases were detected as part of sampling of hunter-harvested deer last fall and a concentrated harvest of deer by IDNR and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel last winter.

The state’s 15th confirmed case of CWD was detected recently after a suspect animal was discovered near the Winnebago-Boone county line southeast of Roscoe. Of the 15 confirmed cases of CWD in Illinois, 13 of the deer were from an area near the Boone-Winnebago county line, while the other two cases were from deer taken by hunters last year southeast of Woodstock in McHenry County. To date, Illinois has tested more than 4,500 deer for the disease.

Hunters interested in participating in the nine-county CWD sampling that will occur Oct. 1-Nov. 19 as part of the archery season should take the following steps:

1. Check deer at an official archery check station for their county (only adult deer will be tested). 2. Remove the deer head, leaving two vertebrae (neckbones) attached, and place it in a plastic trash bag. 3. Store the bagged deer head on ice or refrigerate it (do not freeze). 4. Within three days of harvest, drop off the deer head and fill out the data form at any of the designated CWD archery season sampling drop off locations listed below.

  • Brian’s Trade Rite Foods 3231 Kishwaukee St. Rockford Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 815/226-1217

  • Chain O’ Lakes State Park 8916 Wilmot Road Spring Grove Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 815/587-5512

  • Countryside Smokehouse 5735 S. 9th St. Rockford Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 815/399-6946

  • Des Plaines Game Propagation Center 30550 S. Boathouse Road Wilmington Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 815/476-7622

  • Eickman’s Processing 3226 S. Pecatonica Seward Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m.-noon 815/247-8451

  • Rock Cut State Park 7318 Harlem Road Loves Park Daily during park hours 815/885-3311

  • Silver Springs State Park 13608 Fox Road Yorkville Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 630/553-6297

“The sampling in the nine northern Illinois counties during the archery season will provide important information about the distribution of the disease,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program manager Paul Shelton. “We also plan to ask for hunters’ assistance in providing tissue samples from deer they harvest during the firearm season in more than 30 other counties throughout the state.”

Counties in which hunters who harvest deer may voluntarily provide tissue samples for testing during the firearm season Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7 are:

Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Carroll, Christian, Clay, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, Franklin, Greene, Hardin, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Knox, Macon, McHenry, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Pulaski, Richland, Schuyler, Stephenson, Tazewell, Wayne, White, Winnebago, and Woodford.

IDNR biologists will be collecting the samples at the firearm deer check stations in those counties.

Chronic wasting disease attacks the brain of infected animals. Diseased animals behave abnormally, lose coordination, become emaciated and eventually die. Brain tissue samples from selected deer will be taken to the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratories in Galesburg and Centralia for testing. Hunters participating in the sampling program can check results on the IDNR web site. Those hunters whose deer test positive for CWD will be contacted.

Earlier this year Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation (HB2918) giving the Deparment of Natural Resources another tool to combat CWD or other diseases found in the deer herd. The new law allows DNR to set up special harvest periods, if deemed necessary, to reduce the deer population.

For details on Illinois regulations and other information regarding chronic wasting disease, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/pubaffairs/CWD.htm.