With hunting season winding down, hunters are reminded to get their animals tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Eighty-four cases of CWD have already been identified in the province this year. CWD is a fatal, infectious central nervous system disease in cervids (deer, elk, moose and caribou) that has no known cure.
The information collected through head submission by hunters is vital to understanding how the disease is impacting wildlife populations in Saskatchewan.
“Despite the challenges and changes we’ve all had to face in 2020, more than 1,300 heads have already been submitted as part of the ministry’s voluntary CWD surveillance program,” Environment Minister Warren Kaeding said. “Identifying the presence and spread of CWD in the province will help guide the development of disease management plans.”
Hunters in wildlife management zones (WMZs) 2W, 9, 10, 35 and 37 are asked to submit mule deer and white-tailed deer heads for testing. However, free testing is available for all cervid species harvested in any WMZ in the province.
Research suggests that CWD impacts in some parts of North America are resulting in decreased survival rates, and population decline in mule deer.
Although no human case of CWD has ever been identified, the province recommends that hunters avoid eating the meat until they receive their test results. In addition, hunters are strongly urged not to eat, or distribute for human consumption, the meat or other parts from animals that are found to be CWD-positive.
The last day to drop off animal heads for testing is January 21, 2021.
For a complete list of drop-off sites and information on how to submit a sample for testing, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/CWD.
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