Solid-phase radioimmunoassays for woodchuck hepatitis virus core antigen (WHcAg) and antibody (anti-WHc) were developed. WHcAg in woodchuck liver homogenates was characterized by ultracentrifugation in CsCl gradients; both heavy and light cores were obtained from the liver of an animal during acute WHV infection, which is consistent with observations in hepatitis B virus infection in man. Endpoint titers of anti-WHc were higher in chronic WHV carriers than in animals recovered from acute infections. Both IgM and IgG anti-WHc antibodies were produced by infected woodchucks. A survey of colony woodchucks demonstrated that 88/89 animals having one or more markers of past or ongoing WHV infection were positive for anti-WHc. Thus, serum anti-WHc appears to be a sensitive marker of WHV infection.