December 16, 2015

Hunters Reminded About CWD Testing

As the 2015-16 hunting season winds down, the Ministry of Environment is reminding hunters that free chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing is available for harvested deer, elk and moose.

The ministry is currently monitoring the distribution of CWD in Saskatchewan to determine how widespread the issue is and results of this testing will be made available in 2016.  Hunters are encouraged to drop off deer and elk heads at ministry offices throughout the province.  Moose heads can be dropped off at the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

CWD is a disease that affects the nervous system of deer, elk and moose, and can be fatal for those animals.  When healthy animals come in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal or a contaminated environment, they can become infected.

There is currently no scientific evidence that CWD has or can spread to humans, either through contact with infected animals or by eating the meat of infected animals; however, hunters are encouraged not to consume meat from animals that have tested positive for CWD.

CWD was first detected in Saskatchewan in the fall of 2000 in a wild mule deer.  It has since spread to wild white-tailed deer and elk populations in several locations.  There is no evidence that CWD-affected deer and elk can transmit the disease to other species such as cattle.

Hunters should also take certain precautions when field dressing, transporting and processing animals.  Hunters can help slow the spread of CWD by not introducing the disease to new areas of the province through disposal of deer carcass waste.  Avoid transporting a deer carcass from the area where it was taken, especially from areas where CWD has been detected.  If the carcass is transported, dispose of carcass waste by double-bagging it and taking it to a landfill. 

Visit the Ministry of Environment’s website at for more information about chronic wasting disease.