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FWC seeks meat processors and taxidermists to join fight against CWD

By Staff | Jun 10, 2024

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking meat processors and taxidermists from select counties to help test for chronic wasting disease. Partners in this program play a critical role in helping the FWC determine how many CWD-positive deer are in Florida and how much the disease has spread throughout the state. Meat processors selected for this program will receive $20 for each deer head submitted for testing, and taxidermists will receive $30 for each sample taken and submitted for testing.

Meat processors and taxidermists who are interested in this program can apply online by visiting MyFWC.com/CWD and clicking on “Sample Drop-Off” and “Apply Here.” To receive payment, partners must meet the following requirements:

• Each partner must complete a W-9 tax form, which the FWC can provide.

• All hunter-harvested deer must have a completely and legibly filled-out tag in permanent ink, including the 9-digit confirmation number provided by the hunter.

• For meat processors, each deer head must be bagged and zip-tied shut with the zip tie passing through the eyelet of a filled-out tag. Bags, tags and zip ties will be provided by the FWC before the hunting season starts.

• Bagged and tagged heads must be refrigerated or frozen until picked up by the FWC.

• Taxidermists must extract both retropharyngeal lymph nodes from the neck near the base of the skull.

CWD is a contagious disease of the brain and central nervous system that is always fatal to deer, elk, moose and caribou. It was first detected in Florida in June 2023, and it is one of the most serious wildlife diseases facing state wildlife agencies because of its potential to negatively impact deer populations.

The FWC is asking anyone who sees a sick, abnormally thin deer or finds a deer dead from unknown causes to call the CWD hotline, 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282), and report the animal’s location.

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/CWD.