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, 37, 47, 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: each self-serve drop-off site contains a kiosk and a chest freezer. Freezer space at high-traffic drop-off locations may be limited early in the hunting season when temperatures are not consistently below -10C and therefore do not allow for heads to be submitted within the kiosk. Prior to dropping off large elk and moose heads at these busy sites, please call ahead to the associated phone number to ensure there is adequate freezer space to allow for drop-off.
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.
Please refer to the below button for drop-off locations.
The last day for licensed hunters submitting heads for CWD testing is Saturday, January 21, 2024. Indigenous hunters can continue to submit heads for testing past this date.
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.
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 capped-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.
3. Taking Your Own Sample
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 for the sample on the jar.
Please note: Please use a rigid plastic container as samples may otherwise be damaged during transport and processing. We are not responsible for samples that are damaged or deemed unsuitable.
Samples can be dropped off at Ministry of Environment field offices or select Parks offices.
If taking your own samples, please ensure they are kept frozen and stored in a rigid container prior to dropping off at a ministry field office or self-serve location.
The ministry is not responsible for sample quality or any samples that are deemed to be untestable.
4. If Your Animal is Found to be CWD-positive
If a cervid is found positive for CWD, the carcass and parts or bone-in meat should be double bagged and taken to a ministry-approved landfill to prevent consumption by animals and to minimize environmental contamination with the CWD prion. Hunters are advised to contact landfill operators to make arrangements prior to carcass disposal. Meat may be double-bagged and disposed of in household waste in limited quantities. Meat from CWD positive animals should not be composted.
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 anima when possible.
- 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 40 per cent bleach solution (two parts household bleach to three parts water) for a minimum of five minutes to minimize contamination risk.
Although no human case of CWD has ever been identified, the ministry recommends that hunters avoid eating the meat from animals that are known to be infected. 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.