If you plan to be hunting deer, moose or elk this season, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment is reminding you to test your animal of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The Ministry of Environment is specifically testing wildlife management zones 2W, 9, 10 (southwestern Saskatchewan), 35, 37 (southeastern Saskatchewan near the Manitoba border) and 50 (northern Saskatchewan).
According to Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation executive director Darrell Crabbe, the Moose Jaw area has been in the mid-range for CWD, but the numbers are starting to creep up. He added that numbers are especially high in the Qu’Appelle Valley areas.
“One of the major areas and one the first areas that were infected were in around Saskatchewan Landing, which is, of course, on the west end of Diefenbaker Lake. So, the disease has easily spread through the valley and heading east,” Crabbe said.
CWD is an infectious central nervous system disease that effects animals such as deer, moose and elk and it is always fatal in affected animals. Crabbe said, depending on where the disease is chronologically within the animal, there may not be visible signs of the disease. Once it progresses, the animals will lose weight, drool, become disoriented and don’t look healthy in general.
For the most part in southern Saskatchewan, CWD has been found in white-tailed deer, but it has been detected in elk and moose.
Testing for CWD is free and there is a drop off point at the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation office here in Moose Jaw at 9 Lancaster Rd.
“It's a very simple process. You can come up here if you want to extract the sample yourself and just put it in a bag and drop it off here and register what you what you want. We have a freezer here as well, so we can freeze the heads or the samples,” Crabbe said.
A full list of drop off sites and how to submit a sample can be found here.
There have been no documented cases of CWD is humans, but hunters are asked to not eat or distribute meat that has tested positive.