MDC offers voluntary drop-off sites for CWD sampling

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – In its ongoing search to determine where chronic wasting disease (CWD) exists in the state and to provide opportunities for hunters to have their deer tested for the disease, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering voluntary deer head drop-off opportunities at select sites around the state.

CWD is a neurological disease fatal to deer. Each year, mandatory sample collection from deer harvested in select CWD Management Zone counties takes place during opening weekend of the November firearms deer season. This large-scale two-day sample collection effort will take place again this year on Nov. 11-12, but in addition to that, MDC also offers voluntary CWD sampling opportunities for hunters who harvest deer at any time during the deer season.

In addition to sampling opportunities at MDC offices and at cooperating taxidermists and meat processors, MDC also offers self-service freezers. These voluntary sites have a freezer that will preserve dropped-off deer heads until they are picked up by MDC staff for CWD testing. These self-serve sites enable hunters to submit deer heads at their convenience throughout the 2023-24 deer hunting season. In south-central Missouri, these voluntary sampling sites fall into three categories.

MDC Offices: The MDC office listed below as voluntary sampling locations typically can accommodate sampling during normal business hours. However, hunters are encouraged to call in advance to ensure staff are available for collecting samples.

  • Howell County – MDC Ozark Regional Office, 551 Joe Jones Blvd., West Plains, 417-256-7161

Non-MDC Sampling Partners: Each year, MDC partners with taxidermists and meat processors to offer hunters additional locations to have their deer sampled for CWD. Availability and hours vary so hunters should call these locations in advance before taking their deer or deer head for sampling.

  • Howell County – Hughes Taxidermy, 1095 S. Girdley St., West Plains, 417-255-4944
  • Oregon County – Holman’s Mounts, 1355 Highway P, Alton, 417-270-1803
  • Pulaski County – Classy Taxidermy, 26286 Rambling Lane, Richland, 573-765-5166

Freezer head-drop locations: These sites feature self-serve freezers. Hunters are responsible for packing their deer heads and filling out an information tag. Directions, packing supplies, and tags will be available at these locations. People who have questions about these sites can call 573-815-7901, ext. 3901 or e-mail

  • Howell County – MDC Ozark Regional Office, 551 Jones Blvd, West Plains
  • Oregon County – Thayer Police Department, 102 Front St., Thayer
  • Oregon County – MDC Alton Forestry Shop, Old Cane Bluff Road off Highway 19, Alton
  • Ozark County – MDC Caney Mountain Conservation Area Headquarters, 597 Caney Mtn. Refuge Drive, Gainesville
  • Pulaski County – LMC Convenience Store, 1302 U.S. Route 66 West, Waynesville
  • Pulaski County – Outdoor Adventure Center, Building 2290 FLW K Road, Fort Leonard Wood (Since this freezer is located on the grounds of the Fort Leonard Wood military base, access to it from the general public may be limited at times.)
  • Pulaski County, Camden County – Shelter Insurance, 700 W. Washington Ave., Richland
  • Ripley County – Doniphan City Fire Station, 124 W. Jefferson St., Doniphan

An interactive map showing all voluntary CWD testing drop-off sites throughout the state can be found at

Hunters should cut off the deer head (and antlers for any bucks) while leaving about six inches of neck attached before coming to the drop-off site. Hunters can use the data sheets, zip ties and trash bags available at the freezer sites to label and bag the heads.

Hunters will need to record their name and contact information, as well as their Telecheck ID number and the location where the deer was harvested. Hunters can leave the deer head in the freezer and MDC staff will collect the heads and pull samples that will be submitted for testing.

Hunters will be able to check the results online using their Telecheck ID number from their hunting permit within 2-4 weeks. MDC will notify hunters directly if their sample returns a positive result. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend consuming meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD.

These voluntary sites will not be available for use during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season (Nov. 11-12) in counties where mandatory CWD sampling is required. On opening weekend of the November portion, hunters who harvest deer in mandatory CWD sampling counties are required, by regulation, to take their harvested deer (or its head) to an MDC staffed mandatory sampling location. Information about mandatory sampling locations and procedures can be found in the “2023 Fall Deer & Turkey” booklet that is available at all MDC offices, most locations that sell hunting and fishing permits, or at:

Since CWD was first detected in Missouri’s wild deer in 2012, there have been 410 positive tests found in the state. More than 243,000 tissue samples have been collected from wild deer since MDC began CWD surveillance in 2002. From the outset, hunters have played an important role in helping MDC monitor and track the disease in the state by their assistance with sample collection.

More information about CWD in Missouri can be found at