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 866-293-9282.
About CWD monitoring
Monitoring free-ranging deer involves both a "passive" and "active" component.
- passive (or targeted) monitoring tests deer that display abnormal behavior like increased drooling, tremors, stumbling, difficulty in swallowing, excessive thirst, or excessive urination, are abnormally thin, or found dead of unknown causes. Deer exhibiting these signs can be reported to our Wildlife Health hotline at 866-293-9282 (866-CWD-WATCH)
- active monitoring tests randomly selected hunter-harvested or road-killed deer.
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 immunohistochemical analyses. Not all deer submitted for sampling are suitable for testing due to tissue condition or improper collection. Passive or targeted surveillance deer 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.
Of this total, 821 samples were collected from sick/dead deer as part of the passive or targeted surveillance component of FWC's program.