Conservation

Photo © USFWS

CWD Testing

How can I submit my own CWD sample for testing?

Hunters with licenses to harvest animals in South Dakota priority surveillance areas will be mailed information on how to submit CWD samples. Hunters who harvest deer or elk outside of priority surveillance areas can still have their animal tested for CWD by following the process outlined below.

As a voluntary submission, hunters will be responsible for the cost of shipping and any professional sample collection costs. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will pay for the testing cost of the sample at South Dakota State University Animal Disease and Research Diagnostics Lab (SDSU ADRDL). Results will be sent to both the hunter and GFP. These results will supplement GFP’s surveillance effort across the state.

Submission Steps

  • Fill out the South Dakota Chronic Wasting Disease Hunter Submission Form. Record the location of harvest as accurately as possible.
  • Collect only the retropharyngeal lymph nodes, located in the throat area, as demonstrated in videos below. Extraction can easily be performed with a field knife, but some veterinarians will exact samples for a small fee as well.
  • Informational videos showing how to extract samples can be found here and also here.
  • Once removed, place lymph nodes in a sealed bag (Ziplock or similar). Place sealed bag into another sealed bag, then wrap in a paper towel. Place the wrapped sample with a cold ice pack and the submission form (in separate sealed bag) into a small box and send via your choice of postal carrier. Choose a carrier that will deliver your sample within 24-48 hours. Ship samples during the week (Mon-Thurs) and avoid shipping on weekends and holidays. We recommend using a carrier that offers tracking of your package.
  • Package delivery address is listed below, and at the bottom of the Chronic Wasting Disease Hunter Submission Form. Results are usually available 7-10 days.

Send samples to:
South Dakota State University
Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab
Box 2175, 1155 North Campus Drive
Brookings, SD 57007

Latest CWD testing results

In the South Dakota CWD Surveillance period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, a total of 746 samples have been collected for CWD surveillance.

Breakdown of the sampling is as follows:

  • 459 elk sampled-- 434 results returned as Not Positive--(25 POSITIVE ELK FOUND)
  • 15 mule deer sampled-- 15 results returned as Not Positive--(0 POSITIVE MD FOUND)
  • 272 white-tailed deer-- 260 results returned as Not Positive--(12 POSITIVE WT FOUND)

Below is a listing of the positive deer and elk that have been found in South Dakota during the surveillance period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. 

  • WT male from Unit BH1 in Pennington County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk male from CSP in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT female from Unit 21B in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT female from Unit 21B in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk female from Unit H3A in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from CSP in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from CSP in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk male from Unit H3B in Fall River County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from Unit H3B in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from Unit H3E in Fall River County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • WT female from Unit BH1 in Pennington County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT male from Unit 21B in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT male from Unit 21A in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT male from CSP in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • WT male from Unit 27B in Fall River County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from CSP in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from CSP in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk female from Unit H2F in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • Elk female from Unit H2F in Custer County. (Hunter Harvest)
  • WT female from Rapid City Limits in Pennington County. (City Removal)
  • WT male from Rapid City Limits in Pennington County. (City Removal)
  • WT male from Rapid City Limits in Pennington County. (City Removal)
  • Elk female from CSP in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk male from WICA in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk male from WICA in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk male from WICA in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk female from WICA in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • Elk female from WICA in Custer County. (Sick/Surv)
  • WT male from Unit BH1 in Pennington County. (Sick/Surv)

Additionally, 8 positive male elk were found during the Wind Cave Elk reduction program during January - February 2018 in which 25 elk were removed.

South Dakota is reporting a total of 37 positive deer and elk (0 mule deer, 12 white-tailed deer and 25 elk) in the testing period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. To date, South Dakota has found 397 cases of CWD (203 deer and 194 elk) in free ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park (WICA) accounts for 136 of these animals (126 elk, 10 deer). Twenty-four elk and 2 deer have been found in Custer State Park. A total of 27,063 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997.

What is the difference between prevelance rate and presence?

Prevalence rate can be defined as a percentage of cervids in a population or hunting unit that are infected with chronic wasting disease.

Presence just means that CWD has been documented in a given population or hunting unit.