Group of white-tailed deer
Group of white-tailed deer

Chronic wasting disease in cervids surveillance and control operations

If you see a wild cervid with an unusual appearance or behaviour, please tell a wildlife protection agent by contacting SOS Poaching This hyperlink will open in a new window..

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 and to detect the disease.

Surveillance operations

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

IMPORTANT: Keep your hunting licence number: you might need it to consult the analysis results. If your game tests positive, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs will contact you.

Delays to be expected depending on the origin of samples

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, laboratories' ability to conduct analyses for chronic wasting disease (CWD) is reduced.

Samples from the 45 km transportation restriction area

For samples taken at registration stations, results should be available within a delay of two to four weeks. Additional handling could result in an additional delay of a few days for samples taken from heads left at deposit sites and participating butcher shops.

Samples from outside the 45 km transportation restriction area

It is estimated that obtaining the results will take a few months.

Get the result of your animal

Enter the series of 8 consecutive digits of your hunting licence number to get the result of the analysis of your game.

Last update of the results: November 4, 2020

Result

No result found. Please enter your licence number first.

Health Canada recommends not to consume meat or products from an infected animal.

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 110 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.

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.

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.

Enhanced surveillance

Following the detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) cases on a red deer farm in the Laurentides region in 2018, the surveillance of the disease was enhanced in wildlife.

In 2020, all hunters who harvest a white-tailed deer or a moose over 12 months old in a 45 km radius from where CWD cases were detected in 2018 must have their game tested for CWD through one of the following methods:

  1. By going to one of these registration stations during white-tailed deer hunting seasons:

    Dépanneur Telmosse
    1404, route 117
    Mont-Tremblant
    819 425-2560

    Coopérative de solidarité Laurel-Station
    3455, route Principale
    Wentworth-Nord
    450 226-3149

    Sport N.P. Enr.
    14-1, rang Sainte-Julie Est
    Saint-André-Avellin
    819 983-2120

    Halte routière Pétroles Bélisle
    125, route du Canton
    Brownsburg-Chatham
    450 562-8178

    Department staff will collect the sample.

  2. By having your game cut at a participating butcher shop

    Many butcher shops take part in collecting samples to detect CWD. Samples are collected on the animal’s head. You must therefore leave the head at the butcher shop and the transportation coupon attached to it.

    Participating butchers (PDF 188 Kb)

  3. By leaving your game’s head (you may keep the antlers) at one of the drop points provided for this purpose

    The transportation coupon must be left attached to the animal’s head.

    Drop points for cervid heads (PDF 184 Kb)

At the center of the 45 km radius, an enhanced surveillance area (ESA) was put into place and will remain until 2023.

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).

Deer licences were issued in the ESA for the 2020 hunting season to maintain low deer density and obtain enough samples to monitor the area.

Map of areas where CWD special measures apply (PDF 3.77 Mb)

Note: Hunters are authorized to leave the 45 km radius to go straight to the Débitage des Laurentides butcher shop with a white-tailed deer or a moose shot in zone 9 West.

Contours of the ESA and the 45 km transportation restriction area (Data files, kmz, gpx et kml (ZIP 397 Kb))

CWD situation in other regions of Québec

No information leads us to believe that the disease could be found in wildlife outside of the ESA. Some butcher shops in different regions of Québec also participate in the surveillance program by providing samples of white-tailed deer harvested by hunters.

Surveillance program results

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 monthly compilation of CWD provincial surveillance.

YearLivestock cervids
2019

1792

2018

1281

2017

969

2016

1378

2015

1519

2014

1759

2013

2054

2012

2436

2011

2362

2010

2096

2009

985

Consult the reports on operations to monitor and control chronic wasting disease in cervids:

Wildlife control operations

Control operations have been conducted since 2018 to avoid the establishment of the disease and its spread to other 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 3.77 Mb) (ESA) and the issue of a large number of antlerless deer hunting licences in hunting zones 9 West and 10 East.

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 2020 season

No specific measures related to hunting periods or gear are put into place in 2020 in the regions of Laurentides and Outaouais. Antlerless deer licences were issued in the ESA for the 2020 hunting season to maintain low deer density and obtain enough samples to monitor the area. Hunters must have their game tested.

In addition, all hunters must comply with the regulatory measures that were implemented to prevent the disease's introduction or spread:

Last update: December 3, 2020

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