MICHIGAN (WJMN) – If you harvest a deer this fall, Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to bring the full deer carcass or deer head to a Michigan DNR check station for free chronic wasting disease testing.  

If you harvest a deer in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Gratiot, southern Isabella, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, or if you harvest a deer in the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties), they say you should bring your deer head to a DNR check station.  

The DNR is beginning a five-year process of strategic, focused CWD surveillance by testing deer heads around the state. This year, testing will be occurring mainly in the southernmost three tiers of Michigan counties. Over the next four years, the remainder of the state will be systematically sampled to determine if CWD is present in other areas where it has not yet been identified.   

Deer harvested in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties can be tested for CWD for free through the DNR from Nov. 15-18 only. U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved lab testing is available for hunters in these areas at any time for a fee. Visit Michigan.gov/CWD and click on “For Hunters” for information about USDA-approved labs conducting CWD testing. 

Again this year, deer check station operations will look different than in years before the coronavirus pandemic. Hunters can expect extra measures to be in place to protect the health and safety of all. Hunters are required to wear masks to DNR deer check stations and to remember social distancing guidelines, staying 6 feet away from other individuals at the check station. You will be asked to remain in your vehicle at most check stations.  

When submitting a deer head for CWD testing at a DNR check station, come prepared with information about the county, township, range and section where your deer was harvested. The deer head should also be removed, with 2-3 inches of the neck remaining. If you would like to keep your antlers, please remove those from the head, but bring them with you when you visit a check station so antler measurements can be taken.  

Deer cooperator patches will be available ONLY at DNR deer check stations, during check station hours of operation, while supplies last. 

For more information on finding the closest DNR deer check station to you, click here.