Collect a Sample for CWD Testing

We appreciate your assistance in helping monitor for CWD

Idaho Fish and Game tests mule deer and white-tailed deer for Chronic Wasting Disease every year. By collecting lymph node samples from your harvested deer, you help increase the number of deer tested in Idaho for CWD.

How to Collect a Sample

After harvesting a deer, follow these instructions to collect lymph nodes near the jaw of the animal.

  

Aging your deer is important

Please take the time to age your deer as a yearling or adult. Our sampling focus is on adults: if your deer has fewer than six teeth per side, we do not need the sample.

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Cut across the neck and under the jaw bone. Cut towards the ears, through the windpipe until you hit bone.
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Pull back the windpipe and cut the muscles towards the base of the skull. Locate the left and right lymph nodes, half-way between each angle of the jaw bone and the base of the skull and beneath the opening to the mouth. Lymph node consistency is much firmer and rounder than the surrounding tissue.
Avoid the salivary glands, which are found next to the lymph nodes and are more segmented. Salivary glands are not a CWD testable sample tissue. 
Remove each left and right lymph node and remove excess fat and connective tissue.
Place samples in the sample bag and completely fill out the information on the label. Follow the instructions below on how to leave samples at a drop-off location or send through the mail.

Submitting Your Samples

  • Fill out the label on the sample bag using a ballpoint pen to prevent smearing. Write legibly so we can ensure accurate information for your sample. Your name, tag number, deer species, animal age, and harvest location are all extremely important in order for us to use your sample.
  • Find the small card with a barcode sticker in the kit bag. KEEP THIS NUMBER in order to check your sample results online.
Drop-off location
Mail-in
  • Double bag your samples in a resealable plastic bag with paper towels between the sample bag and outer bag to absorb leakage.
  • Keep refrigerated or frozen until you're ready to send your samples.
  • Place sample bag in a leak-proof, padded envelope or box using a 1 to 2-day mail service.
    • NOTE: Mail services will not accept any smelly or leaking packages.
  • Mail samples to:  
    IDFG Wildlife Health Lab
    1820 S. Trout Road
    Eagle, ID 83616
Check results

Check online for results. Samples may take several weeks to process.

If you have questions regarding CWD sample collection, please email the Wildlife Health Lab or contact an Idaho Fish and Game regional office.

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Email us to request a CWD sampling kit or contact a Fish and Game regional office.

Request a kit

Drop off a CWD sample at a location closest to you.

Find a drop-off location

Videos

Collecting a lymph node sample


Note: Please disregard instructions specific to Montana sample submission.

Aging your deer

Helping with the threat of CWD