CWD Monitoring Program

Attention Deer Hunters – Help us conduct statewide chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has not been found in Florida; however, continued surveillance is necessary to confirm Florida remains free of CWD. If you or someone in your hunt club harvests deer, please consider donating the heads (fresh or frozen) for CWD testing. Antlers and skull caps can be removed and kept by hunters prior to submission. 

We've provided the following donation information and options:

  • Heads can be turned in to the nearest FWC office. Please call the CWD hotline to make arrangements (866-293-9282).
  • Heads can be taken to staffed WMA check stations during open hunting days (check individual WMA regulations brochures for dates/times).

If you have questions or wish to report sick/dead wild deer (from any location in Florida), please call the CWD hotline at 866-293-9282 (866-CWD-WATCH). For more information about CWD, visit MyFWC.com/CWD.

Ongoing monitoring program

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has an ongoing monitoring program to detect Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) if present or introduced into Florida’s wild deer population.

Monitoring free-ranging deer involves both a "passive" and "active" component.

  • passive (or targeted) monitoring tests deer that display abnormal behavior like increased drooling, tremors, stumbling, difficulty in swallowing, excessive thirst, or excessive urination, are abnormally thin, or found dead of unknown causes. Deer exhibiting these signs can be reported to our Wildlife Health hotline at 866-293-9282 (866-CWD-WATCH)
  • active monitoring monitoring tests randomly selected hunter-harvested or road-killed deer.

Deer are received at the FWC where samples of brain stem and lymph node tissue are retrieved and submitted to USDA approved testing laboratories for immunohistochemical analyses. Not all deer submitted for sampling are suitable for testing due to tissue condition or improper collection. Passive or targeted surveillance deer undergo complete necropsy to determine the cause of death. In this way FWC monitors for other diseases important to deer health in addition to CWD. The results are shared with the person reporting the case.

Deer collected from July 2002 - present

FWC Region Number Tested
NC 2,485
NE 1,465
NW 3,000
S 1,093
SW 1,253
Unknown 31
Total 9,327

 

Of this total, 555 samples were collected from sick/dead deer as part of the passive or targeted surveillance component of FWC's program. 

 



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