CWD testing is taking place in two areas of Ontario this year.
In the southwest, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) technicians will take samples from deer harvested in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 94A, 94B, 93A, 93B, 93C, 92B and 92C. In eastern Ontario, sampling will occur in WMU 65. The latter is in response to the 2018 incident in which CWD was discovered on a deer farm in the Gatineau/Hull region of Quebec, less than 20 kilometres from Ontario.
Deer camps visited
To implement the program, MNRF wildlife technicians will visit deer camps in the selected WMUs and will seek permission to remove a small amount of tissue from the deer’s head for analysis. The sampling does not prevent venison consumption or hinder taxidermy. Hunters are also asked to take the heads of deer harvested in the surveillance areas to a MNRF freezer depot, preferably within days of harvesting. Drop off locations, test results and more about CWD can be found at www.ontario.ca/cwd.
Depots will operate from October to the end of December. Participating hunters will be asked to provide contact information, the date, and general area of harvest. In return, they will be given a participation crest. Fawns under one year will not be tested as CWD is unlikely to be detected in young animals.
Hunter vigilance requested
Anyone seeing an animal showing signs of CWD (severe body weight loss, tremors, stumbling, and lack of coordination) is asked to report it to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 or the MNRF Information and Support Centre at 1-800-667-1940.
Since 2002, the MNRF has tested more than 13,000 hunter-harvested white-tail deer in Ontario. At press time, Ontario remains CWD-free.