Hunters enlisted to keep tabs on deer disease
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.