Skip to main content

CWD Monitoring Program

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has an ongoing monitoring program to detect chronic wasting disease (CWD). It has not been found in Florida; however, continued surveillance is necessary to confirm Florida remains free of CWD. Hunters can support the FWC’s surveillance efforts by voluntarily submitting their deer heads for testing (skull cap and antlers can be removed and kept by the hunter). Learn more by calling the CWD hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282). 

About CWD monitoring

Monitoring free-ranging deer involves a passive and an active component.

  • Passive (or targeted) monitoring tests deer that display abnormal behaviors such as listlessness, lowering of the head, inattentiveness toward people, walking in circles, staggering, and standing with a wide stance and/or are abnormally thin or found dead of unknown causes. Deer exhibiting these signs can be reported year-round by calling the CWD hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282). 
  • Active monitoring tests randomly selected hunter-harvested or road-killed deer that have died of known causes. 

Deer are received at the FWC where samples of brain stem and lymph node tissue are retrieved and submitted to USDA-approved testing laboratories for analyses. Not all deer specimens submitted for sampling are suitable for testing due to tissue condition or improper collection. Passive (targeted) surveillance deer that have died of unknown causes undergo complete necropsy to determine the cause of death. In this way FWC monitors for other diseases important to deer health in addition to CWD. The results are shared with the person reporting the case.

Deer collected from July 2002 - present

FWC Region Number Tested
NC 4,861
NE 3,094
NW 4,495
S 2,020
SW 1,877
Unknown 27
Total 16,374

Of this total, 1,154 samples were collected from sick/dead deer as part of the passive or targeted surveillance component of FWC's program.