Southeast Iowa has become the center of the battle against chronic wasting disease.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease that attacks the brains of deer and elk.
Earlier this year, the first confirmed case of the disease in Iowa was found at a hunting preserve near Bloomfield.
The only way to determine if the disease is spreading in southeast Iowa is to collect samples and test them.
In an attempt to determine if there is an outbreak, Iowa Department of Natural Resources officers hope that when the shotgun deer season opens on Saturday, hunters will help provide 500 samples of southeast Iowa deer for testing.
Conservation officials are hoping to collect samples from Davis, Wapello, Jefferson, Van Buren and Monroe counties.
The samples will be collected by DNR staff in the field or at meat lockers.
There will also be a testing station at Lake Wapello State Park on December 1 and 2 from noon to 6 p.m.
DNR officials say that they will not mutilate any trophy animals for the sake of testing.
Until the positive test this summer, none of the 42,000 Iowa deer tested in the last decade had come up positive for the disease.
The disease has been detected in Macon and Linn counties in northeast Missouri.Previous stories...Is CWD being handled correctly in Iowa? - Monday, November 19, 2012 A look at how Chronic Wasting Disease is affecting landowners, sportsman and hunters.
Deer expert predicts strong deer harvest - Monday, October 29, 2012 How will this yearâ??s historic drought and higher-than-normal incidence of hemorrhagic diseases affect Missouriâ??s deer harvest?
Iowa residents raise concern about CWD - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 Chronic Wasting Disease meeting called by Iowa legislators.
State to hold public forum on CWD in Ottumwa - Friday, September 28, 2012 Three southeast Iowa State Representatives are hosting a public forum concerning Chronic Wasting Disease.