If you see a wild cervid with an unusual appearance or behaviour, please tell a wildlife protection agent 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 and to detect the disease.
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.
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.
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, 89 ko). 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.
Following the detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) cases on a red deer farm in the Laurentides region in 2018, an enhanced surveillance area (ESA) was put into place and will remain until 2023.
In 2020, 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).
Antlerless deer licences have been issued for the 2020 hunting season in this area in order to obtain a sufficient number of samples for surveillance.
In 2020, hunters who harvest a white-tailed deer or a moose aged over 12 months in the ESA or within the 45 km movement restriction zone must imperatively have their game tested, starting on October 3, through one of the following methods:
ATTENTION: From September 19 to October 2, you must contact the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs at 819-360-1928 to make an appointment with an employee in order to have a sample collected on your game.
By going to one of these registration stations during white-tailed deer hunting seasons:
1404, route 117
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
Department staff will collect the sample.
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.
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.
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.
Information regarding sample collection will soon be available on this page.
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.
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: September 25, 2020