If you see a wild cervid with an unusual appearance or behaviour, please tell a wildlife protection agent by contacting SOS Poaching .
If you see a wild cervid with a 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. Those operations aim to maintain lower deer density in high-risk areas temporarily and to detect the disease.
Surveillance operations, whether for wildlife or livestock, are conducted to detect chronic wasting disease (CWD) quickly. It is necessary to intervene as soon as possible, thus maximizing the chances of eliminating the disease or limiting its spread. As an example, some states and provinces now dealing with CWD have first detected the disease in livestock. Then, the disease spread outside the enclosure and was left undetected in wildlife for many years before surveillance led to detecting the first cases.
Sample analysis results for hunters
The analysis of all white-tailed deer and moose samples harvested in 2020 is now complete.
No samples were found positive for CWD.
Farm surveillance program
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):
Slaughterhouse surveillance program
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.
Wildlife surveillance program
Since 2007, the gouvernement du Québec has been conducting a wild deer surveillance program. 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, the program was expanded to other regions with a high density of white-tailed deer and where the presence of farmed cervid contributes to an increased risk of introducing and spreading the disease.
In addition, in some areas of the Laurentides, Outaouais and Montérégie regions, the surveillance of the disease was enhanced following the discovery of CWD cases on a red deer farm.
The disease is very difficult to detect when few deer are infected since an animal can carry and transmit the disease for months without showing any signs of the disease. Also, tests generally fail to detect the disease in animals that have been infected for less than 12 months.
In order to detect the disease in wildlife and quickly intervene if an infected animal is found, enhanced surveillance must be carried out over many years in a high-risk area. Enhanced surveillance means that a significant number of white-tailed deer should be analyzed every year.
In 2020, hunters who harvested white-tailed deer or moose over 12 months of age, within a 45 km radius from where CWD cases were detected in 2018 (PDF 3.62 Mb), were required to have their game tested by going to one of the selected registration stations or by leaving the head of their game at a participating butcher shop or a designated drop point.
Surveillance program results
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. Here is the yearly compilation of CWD provincial surveillance. Since 2018, no other case of CWD has been detected in 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, it affects very few animals. Thus, we believe it is still possible to avoid the spread or establishment of the disease in Québec, but we cannot conclude that CWD is not present at all in wildlife.
Consult the reports on operations to monitor and control chronic wasting disease in wild cervids :
Wildlife control operations
In place since the detection of CWD on a farm in the Laurentides region in 2018, control operations are aimed at preventing the establishment of the disease in wildlife and its spread to new areas. Indeed, it is essential to maintain low deer density in areas where the disease was detected to minimize contact between animals and therefore limit the spread of the disease if an infected animal is found in the wild.
Consequently, in 2018, the gouvernement du Québec carried out a culling operation for numerous white-tailed deer that were found near the affected farm. This was done to maximize the chances to remove all animals that may have been infected. All culled adults were analyzed to detect the presence of the disease. Efforts continued during the 2019 hunting season with the implementation of permissive measures aimed at reducing deer density in the enhanced surveillance area (PDF 3.62 Mb) (ESA) and the issue of a large number of antlerless deer hunting licences in hunting zones 9 West and 10 East. The ESA applies to 17 municipalities in the Laurentides and Outaouais regions (Grenville, Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix, Fassett, Namur, Saint-Émile-de-Suffolk, Amherst, Huberdeau, Arundel, Barkmere, Montcalm, Lac-des-Seize-Îles, Wentworth-Nord, Brownsburg-Chatham, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Harrington and Boileau). In 2020, no specific hunting conditions relating to hunting periods and gear were put in place in the ESA. In order to maintain low deer densities in the ESA and to obtain sufficient samples for monitoring in this area, antlerless deer hunting licences were issued.
Starting in 2018, restrictions on the movement of live cervid and of some anatomical parts of cervid were applied, respectively, in a 100-km and a 45-km radius from the affected farm to avoid the spread of the disease.
Specific hunting measures for the 2021 season
Antlerless deer licences will be issued in the ESA for the 2021 hunting season to maintain low deer density and obtain enough samples to monitor the area. 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.
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)
Thus, these licences will not be valid throughout hunting zones 9 west or 10 east.
In addition, all hunters must comply with the regulatory measures that were implemented to prevent the disease’s introduction or spread:
Last update: June 11, 2021