Chronic wasting disease (CWD) – Hunters are asked to cooperate in follow-up actions to prevent the establishment of the disease

Québec City, May 15, 2019  – The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) is continuing its action to prevent chronic wasting disease (CWD) from becoming established in the wild white-tailed deer population. Hunters are asked to play an active role in the special monitoring and control measures that will be applied starting in the fall of 2019.

After the first case of CWD was discovered in Québec in a breeding facility in the Laurentides region, a range of measures was introduced in the fall of 2018 to assess the presence of the disease in the wild population and prevent it from becoming established. To date, no cases of CWD have been detected in wildlife, but it is impossible to state with certainty that the disease is not present.

Therefore, the white-tailed deer population must be maintained at a low density in the area where the CWD was detected. The Ministère works to prevent the establishment of the disease since it would have a major negative impact over the long term on the wild cervid population and on hunting in Québec.

Objectives and hunting rules

The Ministère plans to put measures in place beginning in the spring of 2019 to achieve the following objectives:
• Maintain the deer population at a low density in the area where the disease was detected in order to reduce contact between animals and limit disease transmission;
• Increase surveillance of the disease to detect any outbreak in the natural environment and intervene swiftly;
• Improve measures to prevent any new introduction of the disease and its propagation.

To maintain low deer density, the Ministère will allocate antlerless deer hunting licences for the 2019 season, by way of a random draw in hunting zones 9 West and 10 East.

Important note for hunters hunting only in the 17 municipalities in the enhanced monitoring area (EMA): you are not required to register for the random draw for antlerless deer hunting licences since relaxed rules will be in place in the fall for the municipalities concerned, to be communicated later.

The Ministère also intends to relax the hunting rules in place in the enhanced monitoring area, in order to allow:

  • the harvesting of all segments of the white-tailed deer population (males, females and fawns);
  • the use of all hunting implements (rifles, shotguns, bows and crossbows) for the hunting season from September 24, 2019 to November 17, 2019.

The MFFP will organize information sessions in the regions concerned to present the hunting rules in more detail. Information about the sessions will be communicated later.

The enhanced monitoring area includes the 17 following 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.

Enhanced surveillance will involve analyzing samples from white tailed-deer taken in the enhanced monitoring area. The results of the analyses will be available on the MFFP website. In addition, the surveillance network will be extended to several other regions.

Cooperation by hunters is essential

Starting in the fall of 2019, hunters will be able to hunt white-tailed deer in the whole of hunting zones 9 West and 10 East, which will help significantly reduce the risk of CWD becoming established and spreading in the area, while contributing to the detection and monitoring of the disease.

Hunters are asked to visit the MFFP website regularly for more information on:
– changes to the hunting rules, once adopted;
– the regulations applicable for the year 2019;
– the gathering of samples and the results of the analyses conducted.

Highlights:

• CWD is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system, which is always fatal for the animal involved. It affects cervid species, including white-tailed deer and moose, which are the key species hunted in Québec.

• Québec is engaged in an active fight against the disease. Since 2007, the MFFP has set up a network to monitor and analyze animals in the wild with assistance from butcher shops in several regions of Québec, in order to detect the disease. No animals have tested positive for the disease to date.

• To avoid all risk of spreading the disease, restrictions apply to the moving of certain body parts (including the head and spinal column) of cervids taken within a 45 km radius of the breeding farm affected. Possession of the same body parts is prohibited when they come from cervids taken outside Québec.

• CWD is not considered to be transmissible to humans. However, Health Canada recommends that animal parts from an infected animal should not be eaten or used.

Links:

To find out more about actions to control and monitor CWD : https://mffp.gouv.qc.ca/the-wildlife/chronic-wasting-disease-cervids/?lang=en

For information about the season and rules for hunting white-tailed deer: https://mffp.gouv.qc.ca/la-faune/chasse/

 For information about the MFFP and its activities and achievements, see the website mffp.gouv.qc.ca and social media:

Pour obtenir des renseignements sur le Ministère et en savoir plus sur ses activités et ses réalisations, consultez le gouv.qc.ca et les réseaux sociaux :
Facebook MFFP https://www.facebook.com/ForetsFauneParcs
Twitter MFFP https://twitter.com/MFFP_Quebec