Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids – Hunters urged to primarily harvest adult white-tailed deer
QUÉBEC CITY, Sept. 6, 2019 – Further to the new white-tailed deer hunting directives announced to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs stresses the importance of proper sampling to protect wild white-tailed deer populations and is urging hunters in the Enhanced monitoring area (EMA) to collaborate by harvesting primarily adult male or female deer.
Given its public mandate to protect wildlife in Québec, the Ministry must continue with its CWD detection and control efforts to reduce the risk of the disease taking hold. Although no cases of CWD have been detected so far in slaughtered animals, this does not mean that no animals have the disease.
As announced, the Ministry will conduct sampling at registration stations in the EMA for analysis purposes. It is important to have enough samples to determine if the disease is present. Ministry experts estimate that 800 white-tailed deer are needed, but since the disease is only detectable in those over 12 months of age, hunters are encouraged to hunt primarily adult deer.
The Ministry will closely monitor the results as they become available and will inform the public of developments throughout the hunting season, as has been its custom. The results will be posted at Québec.ca/cervidsdisease. Once the target of 800 deer in the EMA for the 2019 hunting season has been met, the Ministry will restore normal hunting directives. The Ministry will also quickly take measures to protect the wild herd if a deer tests positive for the disease.
Should CWD ever spread, it would pose a significant risk to all deer populations in Quebec and all related hunting activities. Cooperation by hunters is therefore critical.
- New white-tailed deer hunting directives have been issued for the 2019 season in 17 municipalities in the Enhanced monitoring area (EMA) to monitor for CWD.
- CWD is a progressive degenerative disease of the nervous system that is always fatal to the affected animal. It attacks deer, particularly white-tailed deer and moose, the main big-game species hunted in Quebec.
- Quebec is actively involved in the fight against this disease and has set up a surveillance and analysis network for animals in the wild. None of the wild cervids tested to date have been contaminated.
- CWD is not considered a disease that can be transmitted to humans. However, Health Canada recommends that you do not consume infected animals or use tissue from them.
For information on CWD detection and control efforts, see Québec.ca/cervidsdisease
For information on white-tailed deer hunting seasons and directives, see https://mffp.gouv.qc.ca/la-faune/chasse/