Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) causes misfolded proteins in deer and elk. It always results in death, and CWD progresses in the animal over an incubation period of 16-24 months. For most of that time, the infected animal does not show signs of infection. But during the final progression, symptoms like lack of coordination, poor body condition, hanging the head, drooling, wide stance, and lack of fear of people begin to appear.
CWD is spread through the environment, and through saliva, feces, and urine of infected animals. Outside of family groups, deer do not naturally congregate in the same area, which slows the transmission of CWD. Be cautious as feed, bait, and mineral licks can unnaturally congregate animals, causing the spread of CWD.
Dress. Test. Suppress.
This is an easy way to remember CWD action steps.
There are no reported cases of CWD transmitting from deer to humans through meat consumption. However, prion research has shown the risk is not zero. All deer should be tested for CWD before processing and consuming.
If the animal is transported from the hunting site to be processed, the carcass should be returned to the hunting site or disposed of in a local landfill. The greatest cause of the spread of CWD is humans transporting infected animals in vehicles.
Hunters can benefit from cost-free CWD testing during the 2022-2023 seasons through one of several options: Obtain collection instructions from University of Missouri staff by calling (620) 402-4195 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Hunters in DMUs 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8 may receive direct assistance from University of Missouri staff. Simply call or email to make arrangements. Drop off samples to their local KDWP district biologist. Click here for KDWP contact information. Hunters can Click Here for a list of drop-off and sample collection locations. Transport harvested deer head to a participating taxidermist for sample collection. Visit for a list of participating taxidermists.
Symptoms of CWD include: