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Alert Details

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) affects the brain and nervous system of infected deer, elk, and moose eventually resulting in death. CWD-infected deer, on average, do not display clinical symptoms of disease for 18 to 24 months

Within Disease Management Areas (DMAs), it is unlawful to rehabilitate deer, elk, and moose (cervids); use or possess cervid urine-based attractants in an outdoor setting; remove high-risk cervid parts; and feed wild, free-ranging cervids.

Testing

You can submit a harvested deer to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostics Laboratory Systems (PDF) for testing.

If you are hunting within a DMA, before you leave the DMA, deposit high-risk parts in a high-risk parts disposal dumpster. High-risk parts include the head, lymph nodes, spleen, and spinal column. You also may dispose of any other deer parts in these dumpsters.

FREE testing of deer taken in any DMA is available by depositing the deer’s head, with your completed harvest tag affixed to the deer’s ear, in one of the head collection containers. You should be notified of test results within 21 days.

How do I keep the antlers?

You can keep the antlers of a buck by capping the skull to remove the antlers and removing all visible brain material from the underside of the skull cap. The antlers and skull cap can then lawfully leave the DMA. You can then double-bag the remaining parts of the head, with harvest tag attached, and place it in a head collection container within the DMA, to be tested. You should be notified of test results within 21 days.

How do I have my deer tested and mounted by a taxidermist?

  1. Harvested deer can be taken to any taxidermists within the DMA where the deer was harvested or a cooperating taxidermist for that DMA. Finished taxidermy mounts may leave the DMA. You can have your deer tested by double-bagging the remaining parts of the head, with harvest tag attached, and placing it in a head collection container, within that DMA. You should be notified of test results within 21 days.
  2. You can transport your deer’s cleaned cape and cleaned skull cap with antlers outside of the DMA to the taxidermist of your choice. You can have any processor or taxidermist within the DMA, or a cooperating processor or taxidermist for that DMA cap the skull and remove the cape. You can have your deer tested by double-bagging the remaining parts of the head, with harvest tag attached, and placing it in a head collection container, within that DMA. You should be notified of test results within 21 days.

Learn more about CWD in Pennsylvania at .