The Indiana DNR has confirmed the state’s first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in an adult white-tailed buck that was harvested in LaGrange County in fall 2023. CWD is a fatal infectious disease, caused by a misfolded protein called a prion, that affects the nervous system in white-tailed deer. It can spread from deer-to-deer contact, bodily fluids, or through contaminated environments and remains in the soil for many years.

The sample for this case was collected by a licensed taxidermist through DNR’s CWD Taxidermist Incentive Program. CWD has previously been detected in the four states bordering Indiana (Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky) and is now found in 33 states. Because CWD had been detected in Michigan near the Indiana border, a detection in LaGrange County was likely.

There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters strongly consider having deer tested before eating the meat. The CDC also recommends that you do not eat meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD.

For the 2024 hunting season and beyond: If you would like to have your harvested deer tested for CWD, you can drop off its head in a CWD freezer located at our Fish & Wildlife Area or State Fish Hatchery offices, or schedule appointments to bring the harvested deer to these sites to be tested during the deer hunting season. All CWD sampling locations can be viewed through an interactive map. Alternatively, you can ask your taxidermist to submit a sample through them at no cost if they are participating in the CWD Taxidermists Incentive Program. You may also submit samples directly to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) at Purdue University for a fee. More information and submission forms are available on the ADDL website.