Missouri Department of Conservation provides drop-off site in Crawford to aid hunters in voluntary CWD testing

Deer head drop-off freezers are one of several options Pulaski County deer hunters will have for having their harvested deer tested for chronic wasting disease this fall. Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation

To make it easier for deer hunters to help monitor Chronic Wasting Disease, the Missouri Department of Conservation has deployed deer head drop-off sites in six counties in the region.

Each site has a freezer that will preserve the samples, which will be picked up later by Missouri Department of Conservation staff for CWD testing.

To submit a deer head for testing, hunters will be required to cut off the head in advance, so it can be left in the freezer. 

The goal is to provide hunters an additional way of submitting their harvested deer for voluntary CWD testing. These self-serve drop sites will enable hunters to submit deer heads for sampling at their convenience throughout the 2021 fall deer hunting season. 

The same drop-off sites in the region include:

Crawford County — Mary’s Valley Meat Processing, 20 Brown Cemetery Road in Steelville

Franklin County — Missouri Department of Conservation’s Meramec Workstation, 3220 S. Highway 185 at Meramec Conservation Area. 

St. Charles county — August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, 2390 Highway D in St. Charles

Warren — Missouri Department of Conservation’s Office, 26620 State Highway U in Warrenton. 

Washington — U.S. Forest Service Office, 10019 W. Highway 8 in Potosi. 

Jefferson County — Festus/Crystal City Conservation Club, 2567 U.S. Highway 61 in Crystal  City. 

For an interactive map showing all voluntary CWD testing drop off sites throughout the state, go to http://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 location.  

Materials will be available at the freezer sites, such as trash bags, zip ties, and data sheets, that hunters can use in labeling the heads. 

Hunters will need to record their name and contact information, as well as their Telecheck ID numbers and the location the deer was harvested.  They can then simply leave the head in the freezer.  Staff will collect the head and pull the samples to be submitted for testing. 

The drop-off sites will not be available for use during the opening weekend of the firearms deer season Nov. 13-14 and hunters are required to use the MDC staffed sampling locations normally used for CWD Mandatory Sampling during the opening weekend.

Hunters will be able to check the results themselves online using their Telecheck ID at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZuE within three weeks.  

MDC said staff will notify a hunter directly if their sample returns a positive result.  

The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend consuming meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD.

CWD is a neurological disease that is fatal to deer.  

According to MDC, a deer may be infected with no visible symptoms.  

The only way to positively identify the presence of CWD is to extract lymph nodes from the animal’s neck.  

The disease has been confirmed in Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford counties in MDC’s St. Louis region, as well as 15 other counties elsewhere in the state.  

Hunters can play an important role in helping MDC monitor and track the disease in Missouri by providing this valuable data.

Hunters who harvest deer from any of the 34 CWD Management Zone counties are reminded that they must follow new carcass transportation restrictions when traveling to CWD testing sites. Visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd, or see the 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Information and Regulation booklet for details.

The drop-off sites will be available to accept samples until the conclusion of the 2020 archery deer season, Jan. 15, 2022.