Hunter Harvest CWD Testing Available at CWHL

August 14, 2018

Hunting season is approaching and the Animal Health Diagnostic Center is accepting hunter-harvested submissions for CWD testing for $65 per sample (deer head).  Only NYS harvested submissions are accepted at the AHDC, so if you harvested outside of NYS, please email us and we can help find the right lab for your submission!

Cornell University CVM AHDC - CWD Test Submission Instructions

CWD Testing Sample Submission Instructions, video by Benjamin Jakobek

What do I submit?

We need the deer head for testing. Remove the head at the first vertebrae behind the skull. If you harvest a buck, cut off the antlers at the base or the skull plate with a saw before submitting. You will not be able to get the antlers back if you submit them to the lab.

When should I submit the deer head?

Submit the head as soon as possible after harvesting the deer. Do not freeze. Do not wait until the deer hangs for several days to submit.

Warning: Graphic Content. To view, click and hold on the image.

How do I package the head?

Follow the detailed shipping instructions provided to ensure that you are complying with federal regulations. The head must be contained in three leak-proof bags with ice packs and absorbent material so assemble these items before you begin handling the head.

Where can I drop the head off?

You can drop the head off at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center, 240 Farrier Rd., Ithaca, NY 14853 during regular business hours. Bring the packaged head to the Receiving window in the main lobby.

How do I ship the head in?

Follow the shipping instructions. Because the head will likely weigh more than 5 lbs., you must use UPS for shipping.

When will I get results?

Expect results about 10-14 business days. Results will be either be mailed or someone will call you with results. Please make sure that your information on the submission form is legible.

Can I eat the venison if it’s negative?

The CWD test is not considered a food safety test. The result will be positive, non-detect, or not able to be tested. The CDC recommends no one knowingly consume a CWD-positive deer. CWD has not been detected in NYS since 2005 so it is unlikely that you will have a positive result. If the head is not kept cool or a long period passes before being submitted for testing, the samples may be unsuitable and the test will not be able to be completed.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing process

This video illustrates the CWD Testing Process

Interested in learning how to submit samples?

For detailed sample submission instructions and required forms, please enter your name and email address into the form below. After submitting your contact information, you will receive an email from cwhl@cornell.edu with the details. Your contact information will only be used for providing materials related to the CWD Hunter Harvest Program.