If you see a wild cervid with an unusual appearance or behaviour, please report it to a wildlife protection officer by contacting SOS Poaching – Wildlife Emergency .
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 2.92 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.
Obtain the result for your animal
Enter the 8 consecutive digit series on your hunting licence number to obtain the test result of your game.
Mandatory surveillance on farms and other places where animals are kept in captivity
All captive cervids over 12 months of age that are slaughtered or found dead are required to be tested for CWD. The analyses are carried out free of charge by the Laboratoire de santé animale of the ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec.
Cervid owners who work with a veterinarian must submit laboratory samples via that veterinarian, using the Formulaire de demande d’analyse générale (in French only).
Cervid owners who do not have a veterinarian must collect and freeze the head of the animals, then send them 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 295 Kb) (in French only). Only positive results will be forwarded to the owner.
- Collection, packaging and shipping of cervid heads (PDF 182 Kb) (in French only)
Staff trained in the collection of obex and lymph nodes must follow the following instructions when submitting samples:
Breeders and owners of hunting farms can contact the animal health laboratory for assistance in shipping their samples. For holders of a licence to keep animals in captivity issued by the ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs, contact your regional wildlife management office.
Surveillance in slaughterhouses
As part of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance, all animals over 12 months of age, slaughtered in a federally or provincially inspected slaughterhouse, are tested for the disease. Collection and shipping for analysis is done directly on site (without need of intervention from the owner). At all times, Québec slaughterhouses supplying retail and food service establishments are subject to ongoing inspection by a veterinary doctor. All animals are examined before and after slaughter. This inspection allows for the assessment of animals and carcasses and the removal, where appropriate, of any animals or carcasses with abnormalities. No sick animals are introduced into the food chain.
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 2023. 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 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.
* Following the detection of a first case of CWD in a red deer farm in the Laurentides region in 2018, 1,783 deer from the affected farm were tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Among these, an additional 10 cases were detected.
To this day, no samples coming from wild cervids were found positive in Québec.
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 for CWD control for the 2023 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
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. Registration, butchering and taxidermy must be done within the 45 km radius AND within the hunting zone where the animal was killed.
To determine if your hunting site is within the 45 km radius, download:
- the transportation restriction area boundaries for Google Earth (KMZ 4.61 Kb)
- the transportation restriction area boundaries for GPS (ZIP 17.75 Kb)
WARNING - Restrictions on transportation of certain anatomical parts also apply to deer and moose that:
- are under 12 months of age;
- had a negative result for CWD;
- have been sampled for CWD analysis (not all at-risk parts are removed when sampled).
The method of registering harvested game is different in the 45 km radius transportation restriction area.
Registration at a designated registration station is mandatory for all white-tailed deer (adult or fawn) harvested within the 45 km radius transportation restriction area. Therefore, online registration is not allowed longer permitted for these animals.
Please note that online registration of moose harvested within the 45 km radius transportation restriction area remains permitted in 2023. This registration can also be done at a designated registration station.
Keep your hunting licence number, you might need it to obtain the analysis results. If your game tests positive, the ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs will contact you.
In 2023, 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.
Between September 23 and 29, you will need to contact an employee of the Ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs by calling 581‑994‑2874 for sample collection.
Designated registration stations
Starting on September 30, you will have to go to one of these registration stations:
Entrepôt du MELCCFP
364, rue Magloire-Gosselin
Coopérative de solidarité Laurel-Station
3455, route Principale
Sport N.P. enr.
14-1, rang Sainte-Julie Est
Halte routière Pétroles Bélisle
125, route du Canton
The staff will collect the samples on the base of the animal’s head.
Using the antlerless deer licence-ESA
Antlerless deer licences were issued in the ESA for the 2023 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
- Baiting deer for hunting purposes is allowed only from September 1 to November 30
- The use of natural deer urine for hunting purposes, no matter its origin, is prohibited at all times
- The hunters must comply at all times with the rules specific to the different types of game harvested in Québec