MDC provides voluntary drop-off sites for hunters who want deer sampled for CWD
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – In its ongoing search to determine the prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is once again offering hunters voluntary deer head drop-off sites at select sites.
CWD is a neurological disease fatal to deer. Each year, mandatory sample collection from deer harvested in counties comprising Missouri’s CWD management zone 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. 12-13, but in addition to that, MDC also offers voluntary CWD sampling opportunities for hunters who harvest deer in other seasons (archery, youth, etc.)
Each of these voluntary sites have a freezer that will preserve dropped-off deer heads until they are picked up at a later date by MDC staff for CWD testing. These self-serve sites enable hunters to submit deer heads at their convenience throughout the 2022-23 fall deer hunting seasons. In south-central Missouri, these voluntary drop-off sites fall into three categories.
MDC Offices: The MDC office listed below as a voluntary sampling location 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 – 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. In south-central Missouri, these locations are:
- Howell County – Myers Ark Taxidermy LLC, 114 W. Leyda Ave. West Plains, 417-293-7199
- Howell County – Hughes Taxidermy, 1095 S. Gridley St., West Plains, 417-255-4944
- Oregon County – Holmans Mounts, 631 1355 Highway P, Alton, 417-270-1803
- Pulaski County – Classy Taxidermy, 26286 Rambling Lane, Richland, 573-765-5166
- Pulaski County – Stacy Anderson, 25700 Highway 7 South, Richland, 573-855-7373
Freezer drop-off locations: These sites feature self-serve freezers. Hunters will be 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 WildlifeHealth@mdc.mo.gov. In south-central Missouri, these locations are:
- 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
- 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 https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZCH.
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 within three weeks. MDC will notify directly only the hunters whose samples have returned a positive result. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend consuming meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD.
These voluntary drop-off sites will not be available for use during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season (Nov. 12-13) in counties where mandatory CWD sampling is required. On opening weekend of the November season, hunters who harvest deer in mandatory CWD sampling counties are required, by regulation, to go to the MDC staffed sampling locations to have samples collected.
Since CWD was first detected in Missouri’s wild deer in 2012, there have been 292 positive tests found in the more than 210,000 samples that have been collected. 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 mdc.mo.gov.