Sample Collection How-To Videos

Hair Samples                                Tissue Samples                           Antler Core Samples

Sample Collection Instructions

NADR accepts hair, antler core, tissue, semen and blood samples for DNA testing. DNA testing is used to identify parentage of an animal. We recommend breeders submit hair samples or antler core, if available, due to historical success with DNA extraction and ease of storage and shipping. The other sample types work as well but require more special handling on the part of the breeder.

The DNA analysis procedure is very sensitive to contamination by very small numbers of cells from other deer. The inclusion of two different deer’s cells will result in questionable analysis or incorrect identification. To reduce possibility of sample contamination when collecting samples from several animals in the same session ensure there are no hairs, tissue, or antler core remaining from the previous animal on your hands or tools before moving onto the next. Please contact the NADR office with any questions.


Clients are responsible for shipping costs. Ensure alcohol and blood tubes are sealed tightly. Surround alcohol or blood tubes with bubble wrap before placing in shipping envelope/box. Blood must be sent overnight mail with a cold pack. All other sample types may be shipped via any reputable mail delivery service. Recommend shipping method selected provide a form of tracking. Please note that there is NO weekend mail delivery.

Hair Deer Hair Sample 1


  • Paper Envelope (label owner, animal name, ear tag, sex, year born, state ID)
  • Envelope template can be found at


  1. Label envelope per instructions above.
  2. From the underside of the tail, grasp long, thick white hairs close to the skin and pull sharply. Pull (Do Not Cut) 30-50 hair strands.
  3. Examine the ends of the hair for the presence of root bulbs. Hair roots are required for DNA testing. If the majority of the hair strands lack the root ends, discard hair and start again.
  4. Place hair strands inside envelope and seal completely.

Antler Core Deer Antler shavings

Antler core samples are collected from the base (hardest region) of hard antlers that have been shed. Do not use antlers still in velvet; the lab will not be successful in extracting DNA.


  • Plastic baggie (owner’s name, animal name, ear tag, year born)
  • 10% bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water)
  • Variable Speed Drill with 1/8 to ¼ inch drill bit
  • Paper (need one sheet for each sample; do not reuse)


  1. Label plastic baggie per instructions above.
  2. Clean the drill bit of all antler core material with 10% bleach solutions. Preparation area must be cleaned of any antler core dust or shavings before and after each sample collection.
  3. Place a plain sheet of clean paper on surface below antler sample. (Use a new sheet of paper for each sample.)
  4. Grasp the antler firmly and drill slowly to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch. Using the slowest effective speed will prevent overheating of the sample. Avoid areas that are porous or contain air pockets.
  5. Deposit the antler shavings into the labeled plastic baggie and ensure it is sealed completely.

Tissue Deer Tissue sample 1

Tissue samples include earplugs, meat, bone (containing marrow), or tissue in a DNA dart. We recommend each sample consist of 1 square centimeter of tissue. This is a little smaller than a dime or approximately the size of a small pea.


  1. Label leak-proof, unbreakable storage container with ear tag #
  2. Place tissue in container
  3. Immediately fill container with 70% alcohol or rubbing alcohol.
  4. Seal container with tape to ensure it does not leak during shipping.

Semen Deer Semen Sample 2

Straws do not need to be kept frozen or refrigerated. Used straws with the intact cotton plug can also be submitted.

Blood Deer Blood Sample 1

Collect at least 3ml of blood using a standard Vacutainer® vial (PURPLE top tube) containing anti-coagulant. Sample should be immediately refrigerated but not frozen. Sample must be shipped overnight on ice.