Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance
MNRF will be conducting its annual chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance program in WMUs 8, 9A, 9B, 10 and 13, and in WMU 65 and 64B, from October to December 2019.
CWD is a fatal, untreatable brain disease that affects members of the cervid family including white-tailed deer, elk, moose and caribou. CWD symptoms include poor body condition, stumbling, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and excessive thirst or urination. It can take months or years for an infected animal to show symptoms. CWD is currently present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and 26 U.S. states. Last year, CWD was also confirmed in Québec in a captive red deer farm close to the Ontario border. No cases of CWD have been found in Ontario.
Crews of research technicians will canvas the surveillance areas and visit local hunters and hunt camps. The technicians will ask the hunter’s permission to remove a small amount of tissue from the head area of the deer for analysis. Sampling will not prevent hunters from consuming the meat or having the head mounted.
Hunters missed by the crews are invited to take the head of their yearling or older deer to an MNRF freezer depot. If you cannot drop off your sample within 48 hours, you can freeze the head and bring it to the drop off depot frozen. Drop-off depots will be open from October to December. Hunters submitting deer heads are asked to provide their name and phone number, the date and general location of harvest.
Each hunter who provides a tissue sample from a deer taken in the surveillance area, along with the required information, will be given a participation crest. Samples provided by hunters are critical in Ontario’s efforts to detect CWD.
Click here to view a CWD fact sheet and the drop-off depot locations in your area.