By Craig Monger

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF), is encouraging hunters to utilize the self-service Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling stations located throughout the state as part of its annual CWD surveillance effort. CWD is caused by the alteration of proteins in the brain, called prions, which cause a neurological breakdown of the infected host. CWD is limited to members of the North American deer family, including Elk and Moose, and there have been no recorded infections in humans. CWD is caused through contact with the bodily fluids, waste, or carcass of an infected animal.

Alabama’s archery deer season opened statewide on October 15. For complete seasons and bag limits, click here.

For an up-to-date map with directions to the CWD sampling stations, click here.

To prepare the sample to be dropped off at one of the sampling locations, hunters must first remove the deer’s head, leaving four to six inches of neck attached. Once it’s removed, place the head in the provided plastic bag and tie it closed. For bucks, antlers can be removed at the base of each antler or by removing the skull plate before bagging the head. Next, complete all sections of the Biological Sample Tag and attach it to the bag with a zip tie. Remove and retain the bottom receipt portion of the Biological Sample Tag before placing the bagged head in the freezer. Plastic sample bags, tags and zip ties are provided at each freezer location.

Additionally, hunters can have deer sampled at any WFF District Office or at the WFF office in Demopolis. When providing samples at WFF offices, hunters can bring a whole deer, field-dressed deer or just the head from a harvested animal.

WFF offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hunters should call ahead so a biologist is available to collect the sample. District office contact information and test results are available online.