If you see a wild cervid with an unusual appearance or behaviour, please report it to a wildlife protection officer by contacting SOS Poaching .
The gouvernement du Québec has implemented surveillance and control operations to reduce the risk of establishment of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Québec. These operations aim to detect the disease while temporarily maintaining lower deer density in high-risk areas.
Surveillance of chronic wasting disease in Québec
Surveillance of chronic wasting disease (CWD) for wild cervids and livestock is conducted to detect the disease quickly. It is necessary to intervene as soon as possible, thus maximizing the chances of eliminating the disease or limiting its spread. When the disease is detected on a farm, surveillance in wild cervids in the area is particularly critical, requiring intensive surveillance over many years to detect infected animals in wildlife. Some states now dealing with CWD have first detected the disease in livestock. Without sufficient surveillance, the disease was left undetected in wildlife for many years before the first cases were found. At that time, the disease was already well established and its elimination was no longer possible.
The disease is very difficult to detect when few deer are infected. An animal can carry and transmit CWD for months without showing any signs of the disease. In addition, tests are not effective for detecting the disease in animals that have been infected for less than 12 months.
Sample analysis results for hunters
For samples taken at registration stations in the 45 km transportation restriction area (PDF 3.24 Mb), the time required to obtain the results is estimated to be between two and eight weeks. For samples collected through butchers, the wait times vary from two weeks to a few months.
Health Canada recommends not to consume the meat or products of an infected animal.
Surveillance in farms
For farmed cervids, chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance is done by analyzing samples collected when the animal dies. Owners may send the heads of dead animals to the Laboratoire de santé animale of the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation in St-Hyacinthe or Québec for analysis. Results are forwarded to the veterinarian.
Cervid owners who do not have a veterinarian may send heads to the animal health laboratory for analysis by filling out the form Formulaire d'analyse pour la MDC réservé aux producteurs en l'absence de MVP référent (PDF 116 Kb) (PDF in French only). Only positive results will be forwarded to the owner.
Analyses are free of charge for owners, and transportation fees are handled by the laboratory. Information on collecting samples and shipping them for analysis purposes can be found in the following documents (in French only):
Surveillance in slaughterhouses
As a surveillance measure for chronic wasting disease (CWD), all cervids over 12 months old are tested for the disease. Québec slaughterhouses that supply retail and foodservice establishments are subject to permanent inspection by a veterinarian. All animals are examined before and after slaughter. Thus, it allows for the assessment of animals and carcasses and the removal, if necessary, of any animal or carcass with anomalies.
Surveillance of wildlife
Since 2007, the gouvernement du Québec has been conducting a surveillance of CWD in wild deer. From 2007 to 2017, this program was focused on the administrative regions of Estrie and Montérégie. Both regions were considered high-risk for CWD introduction given their proximity to New York State, where cases were documented in 2005.
In 2018, CWD cases were detected on a red deer farm in the Laurentides. Following this event, the government extended its surveillance to other regions where the high density of white-tailed deer and the presence of farmed cervid contributes to an increased risk of introducing and spreading the disease. This surveillance is still in effect in 2021. The samples are collected through the collaboration of a number of butchers who keep the white-tailed deer heads harvested by their clients for analysis.
Near the farm that was affected in 2018, CWD surveillance has been enhanced in a part of the Laurentides, Outaouais and Montérégie regions. Enhanced surveillance of this area ensures that the disease has not been introduced in wildlife and that it is possible to quickly intervene if an infected animal is found. A more significant number of white-tailed deer have to be analyzed every year, for many years to come.
Cervids kept in captivity
Analyses are done every year by the Laboratoire de santé animale du ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation to detect the disease in cervids kept in captivity. Here is the yearly compilation of CWD provincial surveillance. Since 2018, no other case of CWD has been detected on a farm.
To this day, no samples coming from wild cervids were found positive.
These results suggest that if the disease is present among wildlife near the farm affected in 2018, it affects very few animals. Thus, we believe it is still possible to avoid the spread or establishment of the disease in Québec. However, these results cannot support the conclusion that CWD is not present at all in wildlife.
Consult the yearly reports on surveillance and control operations for chronic wasting disease in wild cervids:
Control operations targeting wildlife
Control operations have been conducted since 2018 to avoid the establishment of the disease in wildlife and its spread to other areas.
In 2018, the gouvernement du Québec carried out a culling operation for a large number of white-tailed deer near a farm in the Laurentides where CWD cases were detected. With the assistance of hunters, efforts are continuing to temporarily maintain a low deer density in the enhanced surveillance area (ESA). The implemented measures aim to reduce contact between wild animals, which limits the spread of the disease if an infected animal is found in the wild.
Delineation of areas and measures associated with CWD
The enhanced surveillance area (ESA) is made up of the territories of 17 municipalities in the Laurentides and Outaouais regions. The transportation restriction area is a circle with a 45 km radius around the farm that was affected by CWD in 2018.
Zones 9 west-ESA and 10 east-ESA delineate the territory for the use of antlerless deer licences issued in the ESA for the 2021 hunting season.
Zone 9 west-ESA includes the following municipalities:
- Grenville-sur-la-Rouge (east of rivière Rouge)
- Harrington (east of rivière Rouge)
Zone 10 east-ESA includes the following municipalities:
- Grenville-sur-la-Rouge (west of rivière Rouge)
- Harrington (west of rivière Rouge)
Transportation restrictions in the 45 km radius
Transportation restrictions in the 45 km radius
When a cervid is killed within a 45 km radius of the farm affected by CWD in 2018, some anatomical parts must not leave this delineated territory. They must also stay within the hunting zone (9 west, 10 east or 8 north) in which the animal was killed. Even though game registration can be done online, the butchering must be done within the 45 km radius and the hunting zone in which the animal was killed.
- List of butchers authorized to receive cervids that were killed in the 45 km radius (PDF 269 Kb)
To determine if your hunting site is within the 45 km radius, download :
IMPORTANT: Keep your hunting licence number, you might need it to obtain the analysis results. If your game tests positive, the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs will contact you.
In 2021, all hunters who harvest a white-tailed deer or a moose over 12 months old in the 45 km radius transportation restriction area must have their game tested.
From September 25 to October 1, you will have to contact an employee from the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs by calling 819-360-1928 to have a sample taken from your game.
Starting on October 2, you will have to go to one of these registration stations:
1404, route 117Mont-Tremblant
Sport N.P. enr.
14-1, rang Sainte-Julie Est
Coopérative de solidarité Laurel-Station
3455, route Principale
Halte routière Pétroles Bélisle
125, route du CantonBrownsburg-Chatham
The staff will collect the samples on the base of the animal’s head. Sampling will be done in compliance with the public health directives related to COVID-19.
Using the antlerless deer licence-ESA
Antlerless deer licences have been issued in the ESA for the 2021 hunting season. Winners of these special licences will be able to use them in the specific area for which they were issued, either in the territory of zone 9 west-ESA or zone 10 east-ESA. Thus, these licences are not valid throughout hunting zones 9 west or 10 east.
Other applicable regulatory measures
- Chronic wasting disease in cervids
- White-tailed deer management plan (in French only)
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Bilan RAIZO secteur des cervidés en 2018 (PDF 315 Kb) (in French only)
- Flyer - Information for hunters SEASON 2021 (PDF 2.17 Mb)
- Action plan - Chronic wasting disease in cervids (in French only)