Hunters en­listed to keep tabs on deer dis­ease

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

Area deer hunters are be­ing asked to help the On­tario Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Forestry to sub­mit sam­ples from deer har­vested in East­ern On­tario near the Québec bor­der.

Chronic wast­ing dis­ease (CWD) was re­cently con­firmed in a cap­tive red deer in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Québec, just across the in­ter­provin­cial boundary from Hawkes­bury.

This fa­tal, un­treat­able dis­ease of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem af­fects mem­bers of the deer fam­ily, in­clud­ing white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and cari­bou.

There’s no ev­i­dence the dis­ease is in On­tario, but it’s im­por­tant to be vig­i­lant, stressed the min­istry.

Visit www.on­tario.ca/cwd for more in­for­ma­tion on the test­ing pro­gram.

CWD symp­toms in­clude loss of body weight and body con­di­tion, ab­nor­mal be­hav­iour, such as in­dif­fer­ence to hu­man ac­tiv­ity, tremors, stum­bling, lack of co­or­di­na­tion or paral­y­sis.

If you see a wild an­i­mal show­ing signs of CWD, re­port it to the Cana­dian Wildlife Health Co­op­er­a­tive at 1-866-673-4781 or Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Forestry’s Nat­u­ral Re­sources In­for­ma­tion and Sup­port Cen­tre at 1-800-667-1940.

The min­istry says it is com­mit­ted to tak­ing mea­sures to min­i­mize the po­ten­tial in­tro­duc­tion of CWD into On­tario and to keep­ing hunters in­formed.

Chronic wast­ing dis­ease can be spread by close con­tact be­tween an­i­mals or by ex­po­sure to a con­tam­i­nated en­vi­ron­ment. There is ev­i­dence the dis­ease may re­main in­fec­tious in the en­vi­ron­ment, such as in soil, for years.

Hunters who har­vest a deer from a wildlife man­age­ment unit with a test­ing lo­ca­tion can have the an­i­mal tested free of charge by the min­istry.

Dur­ing the firearm hunts, rov­ing crews of min­istry wildlife re­search tech­ni­cians visit hunt camps and re­quest sam­ples from har­vested deer. The re­search tech­ni­cians will ask the hunter's per­mis­sion to re­move a small amount of tis­sue from the head area of the deer for anal­y­sis. The deer will then be re­turned to the hunter. Sam­pling will not pre­vent hunters from con­sum­ing the meat or hav­ing the head mounted.

The min­istry also needs sam­ples from archery hunters and firearms hunters who are not con­tacted by the rov­ing crews. These hunters are asked to take the heads of year­ling or older deer they har­vest to one of the freezer lo­ca­tions for de­posit in an MNRF freezer.

Freezer de­posits must be made as soon as pos­si­ble, prefer­ably within a few days of har­vest.

Hunters will be asked to pro­vide the date and lo­ca­tion of the har­vest as well as their con­tact in­for­ma­tion. If a hunter fails to pro­vide com­plete in­for­ma­tion, the sam­ple will not be tested.

AC­CUSED, VIC­TIM: Bran­don Smeltzer and Ém­i­lie Ma­heu posed in this photo on her Face­book page in 2016. He has been charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of the Green Val­ley woman.

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