Wildlife > Operation to control and monitor chronic wasting disease in cervids

Operation to control and monitor chronic wasting disease in cervids

Last update : October 11, 2018

Following the discovery of a case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a farm-raised deer in the Laurentides region, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) is implementing measures to protect wildlife, calling on hunters to cooperate in the effort.

Although CWD was detected on a farm, steps must be taken to verify if the disease is present in wildlife and limit its spread in cervid populations. To carry out these measures effectively and safely, MFFP must prohibit hunting and trapping on a limited portion of hunting zones 9 west and 10 east from September 21, 2018, to November 18, 2018. Animals harvested within a broader monitoring area will also be routinely tested for CWD.

Hunters sampling results 

Areas of activity and steps to be taken

Download the map 

Interactive map 

Legend

Zone d'intervention contrôlée Control area: Restricted access area; hunting and trapping prohibited

Zone d'intervention rehaussée Enhanced monitoring area: Mandatory to report to registration stations for sampling of cervids harvested in this area

Rayon de 45 km 45-km radius: Area where harvested cervids must be registered and butchered

Stations d'enregistrement pour prélèvement d'échantillons Registration stations for sampling

Station d'enregistrements temporaire pour prélèvement d'échantillons Temporary registration stations for sampling

Zones de chasse Hunting zones

No-hunting zone area (.gpx file)

Warning: The boundaries on these maps are provided for mapping information purposes only. In the event of a discrepancy between these boundaries and the legal descriptions of the entities represented, the latter shall prevail.

AREAS STEPS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Control area (CA)
  • Restricted access area; hunting and fishing prohibited. Specific map of the area 
  • Off-road driving in this area is prohibited any time of day
  • Report violations and any sightings of wildlife showing signs of CWD to SOS Braconnage at 1-800-463-2191
Enhanced monitoring area (EMA)
  • Report to one of the registration stations with your harvested white-tailed deer or moose so that MFFP can take samples for testing
  • Removing certain parts of a white-tailed deer or moose is prohibited within 45 km of a known CWD site, and hunters are required to butcher their game within the hunting zone where the animal was killed and within the 45-km radius
45-km radius (outside the CA and EMA)
  • Removing certain parts of a white-tailed deer or moose is prohibited within 45 km of a known CWD site and hunters are required to butcher their game within the hunting zone where the animal was killed and within the 45-km radius

Hunting license refunds

If you are a hunter, you will be able to use your license where hunting is still permitted. Or if you prefer, you can have your license cancelled and refunded. First send a request to info.dalp@mffp.gouv.qc.ca to have the hunting zone and regulations verified. Requests will then be processed individually as long as you meet specific requirements: complete a statement confirming you have not used the license for hunting, return the license within 10 days, and provide your contact information to be placed on file. Claims for refunds related to CWD must be received before November 2, 2018.

Documents

Frequently asked questions

* New question or modification

Will other animals at the infected farm be killed and tested?

Yes, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued an order to deplete the herd from which the infected animal came. The herd will be eliminated gradually over a period of several weeks according to the procedures established by the CFIA in collaboration with the breeder and provincial authorities.

Does the MFFP intend to prohibit the use of natural lures?

Current regulations allow hunters to use odiferous substances. However, in conjunction with the revision of the white-tailed deer management plan, the question of the use of natural lures is being assessed. In the meantime, the MFFP is asking hunters not to use lures containing natural urine or other cervid body fluids since products collected from animals suffering from CWD would contain the infectious agent. It is essential for everyone to contribute to limiting the spread of the disease.

* Why can deer sampled in the CIZ not be given to a food bank if they are tested negative?

The risk of wild deer being contaminated by CWD is higher in the controlled intervention zone (CIZ), where a case of CWD was declared on a deer farm. Specific steps must be taken when handling and transporting the carcasses of sampled deer to avoid contamination of the natural environment through dispersal of contaminated fluids. In this specific context, the deer cannot be eviscerated quickly once killed, making them unfit for human consumption and hence for donation to a food bank. The carcasses of these animals are subjected to the necessary sanitary measures and are then transported and incinerated by a specialized company.

Is there any reason to install a fence around the site?

It is advisable to limit contact between wild cervids and an infected animal or site. To limit to the utmost the risk of the disease’s spreading to wildlife, the installation of a second fence where required is being analyzed. A study is under way to determine the ideal location of the fence, in particular bearing in mind the risk of spreading in the environment of the prion responsible for the disease (topography, type of soil, and so on). Other solutions are also being considered to limit the risk of the disease’s spreading on this site. Measures will be adopted as soon as possible.

Must special precautions be taken when preparing a deer or a moose?

Game meat, like any domestic meat, is highly perishable and can harbour microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses. It is, therefore, important to properly handle and preserve game meat and to abide by certain standards governing the cutting up of game.

  • Wear gloves when handling, eviscerating and skinning game.
  • Wash your hands and clean surfaces and instruments that have come into contact with the game to avoid contaminating other consumer products.
  • Cook the meat. This is an effective way to eliminate certain risks of foodborne illnesses. However, cooking cannot destroy the prion. It is important to cook the meat to a temperature of 77°C (171°F).
  • Store the meat at a safe temperature (between 0°C and 4°C) to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Moreover, certain additional precautions must be taken to minimize contamination by tissues that can naturally concentrate the agent of the chronic wasting disease of cervids (CWD).

  • Minimize contact with the brain and spinal cord.
  • Do not consume the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, intestines and lymph nodes (green or grey tissue masses near organs and in the fat) of the animals harvested.
  • Eviscerate game where it was killed by removing all of the internal organs while minimizing contact with them.
  • Promptly take the animal to a butcher’s shop or follow instructions to prepare the game as safely as possible. If the animal has been harvested within a radius of 45 km, it must be butchered when possible within a radius of 45 km and in your hunting zone.
  • Avoid cutting across the spinal column and the bones, except to remove the head. Detach the head with a knife, then disinfect the knife. Use a bone saw as little as possible.
Can the head or the calvaria of the cervid killed be kept within a radius of 45 km?

To avoid the possible spread of the disease, the regulation stipulates restrictions concerning the movement of certain anatomical parts, including the brain. Hunters who have harvested a white-tailed deer or a moose within a 45-km radius of the site where CWD is present (see map) must abide by the following instructions:

  • the head of a cervid killed within a radius of 45 km must be given to a taxidermist doing business within the same radius and in the hunting zone where the animal was killed;
  • the hunter can remove the calvaria and must ensure that it is disinfected and all of the skin, meat or tissue attached to it is removed. To disinfect the calvaria, soak it for 15 to 20 minutes in a solution comprising at least 2% sodium hypochlorite (generally speaking, the solution corresponds to a mixture of 50% bleach and 50% water).

To learn about good taxidermy practices that prevent the spread of CWD, please consult the Taxidermie et désinfection des instruments video on the MFFP website.

* What operations are being carried out in the controlled intervention zone?

The MFFP’s priority is to determine whether the disease is present in wildlife. To do so, it must test a significant number of animals to obtain scientifically reliable data on the disease’s presence. The data will facilitate the implementation of measures to limit the possible spread of the disease and to eliminate it.

Since this is the first field intervention for CWD, the MFFP has assigned operations in the controlled intervention zone to Wildlife Protection, which is following the recommendations of its biologists, and is acting in collaboration with a well-known American consultant with more than 20 years of experience in cervid population management. To maximize speed and effectiveness, specialized hunting techniques are being used in accordance with stringent rules. These hunting techniques are not permitted in Québec, except for the current operations, for which special authorizations have been granted.

What impact will the wildlife harvesting have on the deer population in the CIZ?

To properly assess the presence in wildlife of chronic wasting disease of cervids, it is necessary to harvest 330 animals, that is, more than the number usually hunted, in the controlled intervention zone (CIZ).

White-tailed deer are a productive, resilient species. According to the available data, especially concerning the productivity of deer in this region, their density, average winter mortality rate and harvesting history, it is estimated that if the wildlife harvesting objective is attained, the deer population in the controlled intervention zone could regain its initial density after two years.

Why not ask hunters to carry out the operations in the CIZ?

In this limited zone, where there is a higher risk that wild cervids carry the disease, intervention by specialists to carry out sampling is essential and is warranted by the significant number of animals to be harvested in the short term, which exceeds usual wildlife harvesting through hunting in the territory, the rapidity of action required, and the specific sanitation measures to be adopted to limit the risk of contamination. However, the collaboration of hunters is required in the enhanced surveillance zone (ESZ) in order to have analyzed the cervids killed.

How can hunters contribute?

The collaboration of hunters is required in the enhanced surveillance zone (ESZ). It is essential since all of the animals tested in this zone come from hunting. They account for 60% of the animals that will be tested this fall.

Will the hunting season be affected?

Not in most of Québec’s territory. However, in the hunting areas adjacent to the contaminated farm (zones 9 West and 10 East), specific measures have been adopted to avoid the spread of the disease to wildlife and to test wildlife for the presence of the disease. The activities of hunters in this sector will be affected differently depending on the distance from the infected site.

  • In the controlled intervention zone, hunting and trapping are prohibited up to and including November 18, 2018.
  • In municipalities located on the outskirts of this zone, hunters must go to predetermined registration stations to have their animals analyzed (see the map ).
What happens if a harvested deer tests positive for CWD?

The MFFP will contact the hunter and safely dispose of the carcass.

What does the MFFP intend to do if a case of CWD is found in wildlife?

If a cervid infected with CWD is found in the wild, the regulation that stipulates restrictions on the movement of cervids kept in captivity within a radius of 100 km and the regulation respecting the movement of certain anatomical parts within a radius of 45 km around a site where CWD has been found will apply. The situation will be assessed to determine if other measures must be adopted to respond to the new problem.

What must individuals who hunt in Québec but live outside Québec do?

In the wake of the detection of the first case of CWD in Québec, we ask non-resident hunters to contact the appropriate local authorities to find out about new directives concerning the transportation and importing of game.

How to butcher a cervid and prevent the spread of CWD?

Videos are available in French only.

Also available in .mp4 format

What measures apply to sites with animals in captivity?

Current regulations prohibit the movement of a cervid in captivity within 100 km of a site where the presence of CWD has been detected, unless it is being transported to a slaughterhouse.

What measures apply to hunters who have harvested a white-tailed deer or moose within a 45-km radius of the site where CWD was confirmed?

To prevent the potential spread of the disease, regulations impose restrictions on the movement of certain animal parts. Hunters who have harvested a white-tailed deer or moose within a 45-km radius of a known CWD site (see map ) may not move the anatomical parts listed below outside the 45-km radius and are required to butcher their game within the hunting zone where the animal was killed. Meat is permitted to be transported.

Hunters must:

  1. Field dress the animal at the kill site and then report to a registration station in the hunting zone where it was harvested, along with the entire (dressed) carcass, to register the animal.
    • Hunting zone 8 north:
      Temporary registration station: 1754 route 148, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge
    • Hunting zone 9 west:
      Coopérative Laurel Station: 3455 route principale
      Wentworth-NordTemporary registration station: 1754 route 148, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge
    • Hunting zone 10 east:
      Dépanneur Telmosse Inc.: 1404 route 117, Mont-Tremblant
      Sports NP Enr.: 14-1 rang Sainte-Julie Est, Saint-André-Avellin
      Débitage des Cantons: 526 rang 5 Est, Lochaber
  2. The carcass must then be butchered, either by the hunter or at a butcher shop, within a 45-km radius and within the hunting zone where the animal was harvested.
  3. The meat can then leave the 45-km radius and the hunting zone, provided it does not contain any pieces listed below.

There is a video that shows hunters how to butcher a deer and remove those anatomical parts. See: How to butcher a cervid and prevent the spread of CWD

The animal parts in question are:

  • The head (specifically any part of the brain, eyes, retropharyngeal lymph nodes, and tonsils (at the base of the jaw))
  • Any part of the spine
  • Internal organs (including the liver and heart)
  • Testicles
* What measures apply to hunters for testing white-tailed deer and moose killed in the enhanced monitoring area?

The MFFP requests that hunters who kill white-tailed deer or moose in the following municipalities report to one of the registration stations listed below in the hunting zone where the animal is harvested. MFFP staff will take samples and test them to determine if the animal is infected. Hunters will be informed of the test results  by telephone as soon as they are available.  It is important to keep the sample number assigned by the MFFP staff, since it will be needed to access the results.

Administrative region RCM/Municipality
Laurentides Argenteuil

  • Harrington
  • Grenville-sur-la-Rouge
  • Brownsburg-Chatham

Les Laurentides

  • Amherst
  • Huberdeau
  • Arundel
  • Montcalm
  • Barkmere

Les Pays-d’en-Haut

  • Lac-des-Seize-Îles
  • Wentworth-Nord
Outaouais Papineau

  • Saint-Émile-de-Suffolk
  • Boileau
  • Namur
  • Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours
  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix

Registration stations where samples will be taken:

Hunting zone 9 west:

  • Coopérative Laurel Station: 3455 route principale, Wentworth-Nord
  • Temporary registration station: 1754 route 148, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge

Hunting zone 10 east:

  • Dépanneur Telmosse Inc.: 1404 route 117, Mont-Tremblant
  • Sports NP Enr.: 14-1 rang Sainte-Julie Est, Saint-André-Avellin
  • Débitage des Cantons: 526 rang 5 Est, Lochaber
Can I continue to bait for hunting?

Yes, but MFFP recommends limiting the length of the baiting period and the amount of food offered to that which is strictly necessary, since baiting promotes the transmission of CWD between animals. Responsible baiting is permitted since it can improve hunters’ chances of success, and the current situation calls for a large number of animals to be harvested and tested.

Can I continue to use lures containing natural urine or other cervid bodily fluids?

There is no test to confirm that commercially available lures do not contain the disease, so MFFP requests that hunters not use lures containing natural urine or other cervid bodily fluids. If they are collected from animals with CWD, these products contain the infectious agent.

Until MFFP has confirmed that the disease is not present in wild cervids in the vicinity of the infected farm, the use of urine collected from harvested animals in this area poses a potential risk of spreading the disease.

Why ban hunting and trapping?

MFFP’s priority is to collect and test as many wild cervids as possible in the vicinity of the site where the case of CWD was detected in order to determine whether the disease is also present in wildlife and to put in place measures to limit and eliminate the potential spread of the disease. The objective is to avoid the movement of potentially contaminated animals, eliminate the risk of escape of a contaminated animal injured from hunting, and take steps to avoid contamination of the natural environment or dispersion of contaminated fluids following harvesting (gutting, transport, etc.). To that end, operations will be carried out by specialized teams according to strict procedures. The presence of hunters, trappers, and other land users could pose a risk to public safety and undermine operational efficiency.

However, the cooperation of hunters is required to get harvested animals tested in the enhanced monitoring area.

* How long will the ban on hunting and trapping in the control area be in effect?

The hunting ban applies to all species—white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, and small game—and will be in effect from September 21, 2018, to November 18, 2018. Trapping is also banned during the same period.

Which sections of hunting zones 9 west and 10 east are closed?

The hunting ban covers an area of approximately 400 km2 representing less than 3% of hunting zone 9 west and 5% of hunting zone 10 east (see map ). This is mainly private land (80%). All of the land not covered by the hunting ban will still be available to hunters.

If you see a deer that looks sick, can you kill it yourself?

You can use your license to kill the animal but you will not be issued a new license to kill another animal. The Ministry recommends calling SOS Poaching at 1-800-463-2191 if you spot a sick cervid.

Is game safe for consumption?

CWD is not considered transmissible to humans, but consuming or using tissue from an infected animal is not recommended. The prion is not destroyed during cooking.

MFFP will take samples from cervids (white-tailed deer and moose) killed in the enhanced monitoring area, test them for CWD at no charge, and release the results  as soon as possible.

The risk of CWD being present elsewhere in Québec is negligible, so meat can be consumed. As a general rule, consumption of the brain, spine, and lymph nodes is not recommended.

Will all hunters be able to have their game tested?

No. It isn’t called for in this case. Government efforts will be concentrated in an enhanced monitoring area where the risk of disease is greater.

How do we prevent the introduction and spread of CWD?

There are no known treatments or vaccines for prion diseases. Once CWD is introduced into wildlife, it is extremely difficult to eradicate.

To keep the disease from being introduced into Québec through cervids hunted outside the province, the Ministry has implemented regulations on the import of cervid carcasses.

Regulations on the import of cervid carcasses

The import and possession of whole carcasses or any part of the brain, spine (and spinal cord), retropharyngeal lymph nodes, eyes, tonsils, testicles, or internal organs (spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, mammary glands, bladder, etc.) of cervids (except caribou) killed outside Québec is prohibited. Pathogenic prions are concentrated in these organs in cervids with CWD.

The following animal parts, however, may be brought into Québec:

  • Boneless meat or skinless quarters with nospine or head attached
  • Degreased or tanned hide and leather
  • Antlers without velvet
  • Disinfected skull caps1 with noskin, meat, or tissue attached
  • Teeth without meat or tissue attached
  • Any part mounted by a taxidermist

1 – To disinfect the skull, soak it in a solution containing at least 2% sodium hypochlorite (generally, this solution corresponds to a mixture of 50% bleach and 50% water) for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you hunt outside Québec, the Ministry also recommends you:

  • Avoid hunting in or near areas where CWD has been detected.
  • Quelles sont les bonnes pratiques que les chasseurs et les citoyens peuvent adopter?

What best practices should hunters and residents follow?

To prevent the spread of CWD in Québec, the Ministry also advises hunters and the general public to:

  • Use synthetic attractants.
    If collected from infected animals, natural deer urine may contain the CWD infectious agent.
  • Avoid encouraging cervid herding.
    Non-naturally occurring herds of cervids promote transmission of the disease. Baiting should be kept to a strict minimum, and cervids should not be fed for recreational purposes.

If you observe (or kill) a cervid with one or more of the clinical signs associated with CWD (see How can you tell if an animal has CWD?), call SOS Poaching at 1-800-463-2191.

To prevent the spread of the disease by hunters, Québec regulations prohibit, in areas in the vicinity of a confirmed case of CWD, the possession of certain animal parts outside the hunting zone where the animal was killed. Butchering should therefore be done near the kill site in these areas. Also, to prevent the disease from spreading between captive cervid breeding facilities, regulations also prohibit large cervids from being moved to another contained site if the animals are kept in a facility within 100 km of a site where CWD has been found or suspected.