Meat Processor and Taxidermist Sampling Program

Hunters Using this Program

Hunters who are interested in having their harvested deer or elk sampled and tested for CWD at a participating meat processor or taxidermist can check the below map to see participator meat processors and taxidermist. Check this map frequently for the most up to date information.

You can bring the whole deer or just the head of your harvest. Remember, if you plan to have your harvest prepared for a shoulder mount, it should be caped out prior to any CWD samples being taken.

For Meat Processors and Taxidermists

To expand CWD testing across the state, CDFW is seeking meat processors and taxidermist willing to collect samples or heads from deer and elk harvested in California. Meat processor, taxidermist, and hunters are important partners helping us meet our CWD surveillance goals and prevent the spread of CWD to California. Hunters, please read the "Hunters Using this Program" section below.

Options for Meat Processors and Taxidermists wanting to help with CWD surveillance program:

  • Option 1: Directly extract CWD samples from customers' harvests. CDFW can provide training, materials, and shipping/sample pick-up free of charge. If the hunter wishes to have the skin preserved for a shoulder mount it should be caped out first.
  • Option 2: Preserve heads from harvested deer or elk for CDFW to pick up and sample at a later date.
  • Option 3: Invite CDFW to run a voluntary sampling station at your place of business during high-volume times of year.

For meat processors curious about how to best handle out of state deer, we have linked to a list of best practices (PDF) to help keep your shop and other deer free from CWD contamination.

Contact Us and CDFW will work with you on the option that best works for you.

Are You a Meat Processor or Taxidermist interested in joining the program? Contact us!

Program Resources

Distribution of CWD in North America. Courtesy of USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Wildlife Health Lab
1701 Nimbus Road Suite D, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 358-2790 |