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CWD Testing & Submission Information
CWD Testing & Submission Information
​​​​Whitetail Doe Deer

Mandatory Deer CWD Testing in 2018:

All rifle season buck hunters licensed for Game Management Units (GMU) 3, 4, 5, 14, 15, 18, 27, 28, 35, 36, 37, 41, ​42, 45, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 181, 214, 301, 361, 371, 421, 441 and 951 who harvest a buck are required to submit their deer head or have a CWD sample taken.

Voluntary CWD Testing:

The voluntary submission fee for CWD testing will be waived for all bucks harvested during rifle seasons only in GMUs 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24, 131, 211, and 231 (White River Herd).​​

Aside from these GMUs, submitting a deer harvested from elsewhere is VOLUNTARY for the 2018 seasons.

  • Elk and moose CWD testing is VOLUNTARY in ALL units in Colorado for 2018.

  • The voluntary testing fee is $25 per head when submitted at a CPW submission site and may be submitted at any submission site regardless of where in Colorado the animal was harvested.​​​​​​​​​​​


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Submission Guide, Locations & Hours of Operation

You can take heads or tissue samples to a CPW office submission site or a participating veterinarian. 

Bring the following items with you when you submit your head for testing:​

  1. Hunting License. You must bring your license so that CPW can scan the bar code and obtain your address and phone number.

  2. Location of Harvest. GPS coordinates (Lat/Long or UTM) of where you harvested your animal, or map location.

  3. The hunting unit (GMU) and date of harvest.

  4. If someone else submits your animal: They must bring a copy of your hunting license or Customer Identification (CID) number, but the carcass tag that came with your license should remain with the carcass.​​​​

​I harvested my animal outside of Colorado. Can I have it tested here?

Animals harvested in states other than Colorado will NOT be accepted at Colorado submission sites. Animals from other states may be tested at Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Please contact the Colorado State University Vetrinary Diagnostic Laboratory​ directly for information on fees and submission details.​​


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How-to Prepare Your Animal for Testing

Guidelines to Ensure Suitable Samples

Hunters should be prepared to leave the head until a sample can be taken and may have to wait up to a day to get their head back. 

  • Avoid shooting the animal in the head as tissues may be destroyed, rendering the animal unsuitable for testing. 

  • Keep heads cool and avoid freezing if possible. 

  • Submit heads as soon as possible (within 5 days is recommended). 

  • Hunters may remove the antlers/skull cap, but remember to comply with all antler point regulations. 

Preparation & Required Animal Parts for Testing 

  • When removing the head, leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the lower jawbone and base of the skull. 

  • Whole brains or pieces of brain are not accepted for testing. ​

  • Please wrap the exposed brain and skull with cheese cloth or other material to prevent the brain from falling out of the skull. 

​Planning for Taxidermy ​

If you wish to have a mount made of the head, you (or a taxidermist) may skin the head and remove the skull cap with the antlers attached. CPW will not remove antlers or capes for hunters. 

CPW suggests that hunters planning shoulder-mount taxidermy should take their animal to the taxidermist before submitting the head for CWD testing. Hunters planning European-mount taxidermy should bring the head to the CPW submission site before the taxidermist. Hunters planning taxidermy or mounting should notify CPW personnel at the submission site.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About the Testing Process & What to Expect

​​Why do I need to have my deer or elk tested right away?

  • Timely submission of your sample is critical​​. Submit heads as soon as possible (within 5 days is recomended).

  • CPW biologists are working to improve the knowledge of infection rates around the state. 

  • Tests are only intended to screen for evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection.

  • There are no reports of CWD infection in humans, but public health officials recommend that people avoid eating CWD-infected animals.​

  • Accuracy can vary depending on the stage of the infection in the animal.

  • Test accuracy rates are more than 90%, no testing process can assure 100% accuracy for CWD diagnosis​​​.

​When can I expect my results?

  • Please plan for up to three weeks (15 business days) from the date a head is submitted for results to become available. Moose are tested differently than deer and elk and may take longer.

  • At times there may be additional time required for heads/samples to be transported from submission sites to the laboratory. As soon as results are known they will be available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web page.​

  • If you don't get test results more than three weeks (15 working days) after submission, contact your regional Colorado Parks and Wildlife​​ office​. ​

​What happens if my animal tests positive?

Hunters whose animals test positive will be contacted. 

​​​Disease in humans resulting from CWD exposure has not been reported to date. However, there may be a small risk from eating meat from infected animals. Consequently, public health officials recommend that people avoid exposure to CWD-infected animals. ​

If you have any questions ​​regarding your results​, please contact your regional Colorado Parks and Wildlife​​ office.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​CWD Refund Information​

When paid, costs for processing CWD-positive animals are refunded. 

  • Requests for reimbursements must be made on CPW forms and accompanied by receipts.

  • Reimbursements up to $50 for processing allowed without receipts. 

  • The standard rate will be up to $100 for animals non-commercially processed and up to $200 for deer and elk that are commercially processed.

  • The maximum reimbursement for commercial processing moose is $250.​

​​Beginning in 2018 

The intent of these changes is to make the CWD submission and testing program more efficient and cost effective so we can continue this important research into the future.​

  • CPW will continue reimbursement costs from processing CWD positive animals.

  • CPW will no longer provide license fee refunds to hunters that harvest a CWD positive animal.

  • CPW will no longer offer a replacement anterless license for the same species as the one harvested.​​​​​​

If you have any questions ​​regarding your results​, please email CPW at​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​Chronic Wasting Disease Sampling Demonstration

CWD Sampling Demonstration

Watch this instructional video about the CWD sampling process.​​