Hunt, Harvest and Test Deer to Fight CWD in Florida

November 22, 2023 By: Kip Adams

The National Deer Association encourages Florida deer hunters to join the fight against CWD. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in the panhandle of Florida this year in Holmes County in a 4½-year-old doe. You can help slow the spread of CWD and protect Florida’s deer herd by continuing to hunt and getting your deer tested.

CWD is a contagious disease of the brain and central nervous system that is always fatal to deer, elk, moose, caribou, and other members of the deer family. It is one of the most serious wildlife diseases facing state wildlife agencies such as the FWC because it could substantially reduce deer populations. Here are some of the ways you can help and regulation changes you should know about.

  • Many taxidermists and meat processors throughout Florida will offer free CWD testing this season. We encourage you to help with this monitoring every time you harvest a deer.
  • Florida has already placed dropboxes for deer samples for free CWD testing in Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties (the CWD Surveillance Zone) as well as Gadsden, Lee, Taylor and Walton counties. 
  • Changes to hunting regulations now allow for the take of antlerless deer throughout the general gun season in DMU D2 on private lands. We encourage you to harvest does as needed to balance deer density with available nutrition, and get each of them tested for CWD. Additional opportunities to take antlerless deer throughout the general gun season in DMU D2 will result in more deer sampled for CWD, a vital component in slowing the spread of this disease. 
  • All deer harvested in Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties December 9-10 must be checked at a staffed FWC check station. The mandatory check station weekend allows FWC to sample the deer herd to understand where CWD is found in the area. Once you check your deer at an FWC check station, you can take your deer home or to processing or taxidermy. Remember – high risk parts aren’t allowed to leave the CWD Management Zone
  • Hunters in Holmes, Jackson and Washington county locations in DMU D1 have an additional antlerless take weekend December 9-10.

The most important action you can take to slow the spread of CWD and protect Florida’s deer herd is to keep hunting and get your deer tested for CWD. Visit for up-to-date information on dropbox and check-station locations, hunting regulations, and more ways you can help fight CWD.

You can learn more about CWD in deer at our Resource Center.

About Kip Adams:

Kip Adams of Knoxville, Pennsylvania, is a certified wildlife biologist and NDA's Chief Conservation Officer. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a master's in wildlife from the University of New Hampshire. He's also a certified taxidermist. Before joining NDA, Kip was the deer and bear biologist for the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. Kip and his wife Amy have a daughter, Katie, and a son, Bo.