Chronic Wasting Disease Information for Hunters
Getting your animal tested
The Ministry of Environment offers free voluntary CWD testing for hunters. Hunters are encouraged to test harvested deer, elk, moose and caribou for CWD. It is recommended that hunters do not eat, or distribute for human consumption, the meat or other parts from animals that have not been tested or that are found to be CWD-infected.
The fresh or frozen head of the harvested cervid can be dropped off at a Ministry of Environment field office, with results available in two to eight weeks. There will be no charge for the testing. To submit a head for CWD testing during the 2018 hunting season, please acquire a unique CWD tracking number using the new Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative/Government of Saskatchewan submission.
Drop-off is available at these locations. Hunters can also drop off heads directly at the diagnostic lab at:
Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC)
Prairie Diagnostics Services (PDS)
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 5B4
Submit a head for CWD testing
Getting trophy heads tested
If you were fortunate to harvest a trophy animal this hunting season, you can submit the head for CWD testing.
By removing the skull cap, your trophy animal’s head is still suitable for testing. Currently, the lab will only accept heads with antlers removed and will not return heads. If you’re submitting your harvested head to a taxidermist for a full mount, ask the taxidermist to save the caped-out skull. It can then be submitted for CWD testing.
Taking your own sample
You can collect your own samples by following the CWD collection instruction sheet or by viewing this video.
Follow the same instructions for submitting a sample as you would for submitting a head.
Samples can be dropped off at Ministry of Environment field offices.
- Fill out the online submission form at cwdsk.ca;
- Obtain a CWD tracking number; and
- Write the tracking number on the jar or plastic bag for the sample.
Note: The ministry is not responsible for sample quality or any samples that are untestable.
What if my animal is found to be CWD positive?
If a cervid is found positive for CWD, the meat and other parts should be double bagged and taken to a permitted landfill to prevent consumption by animals and minimize environmental contamination with the CWD prion.
Hunters should take precautions when field dressing, transporting and processing harvested cervids. Precautions when field dressing should include:
- wearing latex or rubber gloves;
- deboning the meat from the animal;
- minimizing the handling of the brain and spinal cord tissues; and
- washing hands and equipment thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
What can hunters do?
- Keep hunting.
- Get your deer tested. Find locations at cwdsk.ca or saskatchewan.ca/cwd.
- Avoid long-distance movements with your deer carcass.
- Handle and dispose of your carcass in a responsible manner.
- If you hunt out of province, only bring back low-risk parts (deboned meat, cleaned skull plate, antlers, finished taxidermy mount).
- Stay up to date on the latest hunting regulations.
Hunters can help reduce the spread of CWD to new areas of the province. Carcasses should be field dressed and deboned at the harvest location or, if dressing/deboning at another site, transported no more than 100 km.
If a carcass must be transported farther, all carcass waste should be double-bagged and deposited at a permitted landfill. For more information, contact your local Ministry of Environment office.
Further information for hunters on CWD can be found in the Hunters section of the CWD Alliance website. Videos are also available.
Read the Overview of Chronic Wasting Disease in Saskatchewan.