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Getting your animal tested

The Ministry of Environment offers free voluntary CWD testing for all hunters.

In order to obtain more reliable information about the presence of the disease in certain areas of the province, hunters are strongly urged to have mule deer and white-tailed deer from wildlife management zones 2W, 9, 10, 35 and 37, 50 and 55 tested for CWD.

Hunters anywhere in the province are able to test deer, elk, moose and caribou for CWD in order to help provide critical information on the presence and distribution of the disease in these species.

Fresh or frozen heads can be dropped off at select Ministry of Environment field offices, Parks offices or self-service drop-off locations, with results available in roughly six weeks. Please note: larger moose and elk heads should be dropped off at designated Ministry of Environment field offices and select Parks offices

NOTE: For best performance opening the above link, use the latest web browser version of Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Internet Explorer users should use version 11.

Ministry drop-off locations have changed. Please refer to the below button for locations.

The last day for licensed hunters submitting heads for CWD testing is Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Aboriginal hunters can continue to submit heads for testing past this date.

Download a pdf of drop-off location information


Map of drop-off locations


Map of targeted CWD testing zones

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1. Getting your head tested

To submit a head for CWD testing, hunters must first acquire a unique CWD tracking number by entering their harvest information online at cwdsk.ca. This tracking number is required to obtain your CWD testing results and must be submitted along with the head for testing.

Heads should be double-bagged and dropped off at a designated drop-off location. Tags with the CWD tracking number must be attached to the bag.

Testing results will be available as they are processed.

Animals under one year of age will not be tested.

Submit a head for CWD testing

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2. Getting trophy heads tested

If you were fortunate enough to harvest a trophy animal this hunting season, you can still submit the head for CWD testing.

If the skull cap is removed, your trophy animal's head is still suitable for testing. If you're submitting your harvested head to a taxidermist for a full mount, you can ask the taxidermist to save the caped-out skull. It can then be submitted for CWD testing.

The lab will only accept heads with antlers removed and will not return the heads.

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3. Taking your own sample

You can collect your own testing 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.

  • 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.

Samples can be dropped off at Ministry of Environment field offices or select Parks offices.

If taking your own samples, they must be kept frozen and must be dropped off at a ministry field office. Samples collected by hunters can't be dropped off at self-serve drop-off locations.

The ministry is not responsible for sample quality or any samples that are deemed to be untestable.

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4. If your 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 to 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 tissue.
  • Washing hands and equipment thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment (knives) should be done by soaking in 50 per cent bleach solution for a minimum of 30 minutes to minimize contamination risk.

Although no human case of CWD has ever been identified, the ministry strongly recommends that hunters avoid eating the meat until they receive their test results. In addition, hunters are strongly urged not to eat, or distribute for human consumption, the meat or other parts from animals that are found to be CWD-positive.

If you elect to wait on testing results prior to consuming the meat, please freeze the meat.

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