SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — As hunting season continues in Illinois, the state’s Department of Natural Resources is opening up stations throughout the state for hunters to have their prey tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

CWD is a deadly disease of the central nervous system in deer and elk that causes the formation of sponge-like holes in their brain tissue. It is not known to transmit to humans, but the CDC does not recommend consuming CWD positive deer meat.

A map of CWD positive samples on the IDNR’s website shows that the vast majority of CWD positive samples were found in the northern part of the state, with the southernmost samples being in southern Livingston County. Regardless, the IDNR is setting up testing locations in central and southern Illinois, with one at Stewart’s Archery in Charleston and another at Joe-Bob’s Meat Shop in Georgetown. A full list of testing sites can be found by clicking here.

Hunters are strongly encouraged to test their deer for CWD and can do so for free at any IDNR testing site. There are one of two ways deer can be tested, depending on where and how they are hunted:

  • Archery hunters can drop off adult deer heads in sample drop-off barrels or a sampling vendor.
  • Firearm hunters in CWC positive counties can get a voluntary CWD sample taken by a biologist when bringing harvested deer to mandatory physical check stations.
  • Firearm hunters outside of CWD positive counties can use sample drop-off barrels or sampling vendors to have samples taken

Hunters wanting to mount a deer should have an IDNR-cooperating taxidermist collect the sample; testing procedures will not damage the deer’s skull. Hunters not using an IDNR-cooperating taxidermist can bring the caped out skull to an IDMR sample drop-off barrel location.