NDA’s Taxidermist Incentive Program Finds Indiana’s First CWD Case

April 8, 2024 By: NDA Staff

A cooperative program between the National Deer Association and Indiana DNR helped find the first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in Indiana whitetails. The Taxidermist Incentive Program pays $10 to Indiana taxidermists for every sample they collect from deer and submit for CWD testing. A participating taxidermist submitted the deer that tested positive in LaGrange County, on the Michigan border.

Through the Taxidermist Incentive Program, NDA serves as the vendor who makes payments to taxidermists possible. Otherwise, each taxidermist would have to go through the difficult application process to become a state vendor, and participation would be very low. In 2023-24, nearly 30 taxidermists across Indiana participated in the program. They collected over 400 CWD samples. Taxidermists can greatly assist in CWD surveillance efforts since they collect samples from the sex and age class with the highest CWD prevalence rates – mature bucks.

“Indiana DNR came to us and asked if we could help,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “Our involvement means a lot more taxidermists can participate, and more CWD testing gets done. Early detection and management of CWD depends on testing, so our participation is a great way for NDA to help in the fight against this disease.”

NDA also cooperates in a similar program in Kentucky with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife. For more information about chronic wasting disease in deer and how hunters can join the fight, visit our CWD Resource Center

CWD is an always-fatal disease found in most deer species, including elk, reindeer, moose, mule, red and white-tailed deer. As of April 2024, CWD has been identified in 33 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces (including the Toronto Zoo), Korea (from an elk imported from Canada in 1997), Norway (in free-ranging reindeer, moose and red deer), Finland (free-ranging moose) and Sweden (free-ranging moose).