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Indiana hunters can help monitor for deer disease

Hunters can help monitor the deer populations in northwest and northeast Indiana for chronic wasting disease (CWD) by voluntarily submitting harvested deer to the DNR for testing during the 2018-2019 deer hunting season.

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has established a CWD core surveillance area in Newton County and Lake County south of State Road 2. In those areas, the DNR hopes to sample as many hunter-harvested deer as possible from Sept. 29-Dec. 23, 2018.

CWD enhanced surveillance areas have also been identified in Jasper County, Lake County (north of S.R. 2), and LaPorte, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties in northwest Indiana, as well as in Steuben County in northeast Indiana.

Surveillance involves collecting and testing lymph nodes from the neck of deer harvested by hunters and voluntarily submitted for evaluation.

CWD is a serious neurologic disease affecting white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. The fatal disease is transmitted directly through bodily fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, plants, food, or water. CWD is found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in several Midwestern states close to Indiana, including Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. CWD has not been detected in Indiana.

In northwest Indiana, DNR will be collecting samples throughout the season with the help of area processors, taxidermists, and businesses. During weekends beginning Sept. 29, biologists will be stationed at Phil’s Truck Stop (3347 S.R. 10, Lake Village, IN 46349) and Jay’s Deer Processing (2651 Clifford Road, Valparaiso, IN 46385) to collect samples for CWD testing.

During the week, hunters may submit samples for CWD testing to area Fish & Wildlife Areas, by appointment, during normal business hours. Additionally, partnering processors and taxidermists will be working with DNR to ensure CWD samples are collected for customers wishing to participate in surveillance.

In northeast Indiana, DNR biologists will be collecting voluntary samples for CWD testing from deer harvested within Steuben County at Pigeon River FWA (8310 E 300 N, Box 71, Mongo, IN 46771), by appointment, during normal business hours. Additional locations and hours of operation will be available beginning opening weekend of firearms season.

For more information, to view an interactive map of sampling locations, or to help, visit the DNR CWD webpage at wildlife.IN.gov/9650.htm.