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

Mandatory CWD Testing in 2024:

CPW will require mandatory submission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) test samples from all deer harvested for specific hunt codes. Check your hunt codes closely, as not all hunt codes in a given unit were selected for mandatory CWD testing. The hunt codes selected for mandatory testing are shaded green in the Big Game Brochure​. There will be no charge for mandatory testing. Please note, there is no mandatory CWD testing for elk in 2024.


CWD testing for deer (bucks and does) is mandatory and free for all rifle season hunters who have harvested in specific hunt codes in the following GMUs: 11, 12, 13, 18, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 37, 48, 50, 56, 59, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122,123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 139, 145, 146, 181, 211, 231, 371, 481, 500, 501, 511, 512, 561 and 591.

The hunt codes selected for mandatory testing are shaded green in the 2024 Colorado Big Game Brochure, starting on page 22.

Voluntary CWD Testing for 2024

If a hunter is not selected for mandatory testing but wants to know whether their harvested deer or elk has CWD, they can voluntarily submit their animal's head and pay a testing fee of $25. Testing fees for voluntary submissions will be waived for all moose statewide and all deer from hunt codes that were not selected for mandatory testing but are within the same GMUs that were selected for mandatory testing. Voluntary submissions are accepted annually statewide. 


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

You can take heads or tissue samples to any CPW submission site regardless of where in Colorado the animal was harvested.​​​​​​​​​​​​

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 CPW submission sites. Animals from other states may be tested at Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Please contact the Colorado State University Veterinary 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 caps 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?

  • Submit heads as soon as possible (within 5 days is recommended). The sooner you submit your sample, the sooner you will receive your test result.

  • Timely submission of your sample is critical to ensure a good quality sample for testing​​.

  • Test accuracy is greater than 90%; no testing process can assure 100% for CWD diagnosis. Accuracy may be compromised with poor quality samples.

​When can I expect my results?

  • Please plan for up to five weeks (25 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. As soon as results are known they will be available on the Get Your Test Results page.​

  • At times, there may be additional time required for heads/samples to be transported from submission sites to the laboratory; short delays may also occur due to a high volume of samples in line at the laboratory.

  • If you don't get test results more than five weeks (25 working​ days) after submission, email CPW at​. ​

​What happens if my animal tests positive?

Hunters whose animals test positive will be contacted.

A CPW representative will try to reach you by email, mail, and phone to deliver the news regarding your CWD positive test result. This representative will also assist you with the reimbursement process.

In order to be eligible for a processing refund, hunters will be required to submit the following:

  1. A copy of your hunting license, showing your CID number

  2. CWD head tag, given to you at the time of your CWD submission

  3. Proof of payment:

  • Credit card receipt

  • Front & back of canceled check

  • Receipt showing cash payment

  • Itemized Invoice (If processor has one)

  • A handwritten note with the tools you used (If self-processed)

​​​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. ​​

​CWD Refund Information​

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

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

  • Hunters can be reimbursed up to $100 for animals non-commercially processed. Reimbursement is capped at $200 for the combined costs of commercial and personal processing of deer and elk.

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

​​Reminder to hunters 

CPW strives to make the CWD submission and testing program more efficient and as cost effective as possible so we can continue this important research into the future.​

  • CPW provides reimbursement costs from processing CWD positive animals.

  • CPW does not provide license fee refunds to hunters that harvest a CWD positive animal.

  • CPW no longer offers a replacement antlerless 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.​​