There’s still time to have testing done for chronic wasting disease (CWD) said Darrell Crabbe, Executive Director with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation.  

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that is common in deer, elk, and moose. 

“Unfortunately, Saskatchewan has the highest level of CWD in North America – therefore probably the world. The prevalence rate is very high, so we certainly recommend that people should take the extra precaution and time and get their heads tested,” said Crabbe.  

In some areas of Saskatchewan, they are finding a prevalence rate of CWD of up to 80 per cent in male mule deer, which are most susceptible.  

“Some areas we can’t even determine it because we don’t have enough sampling done to actually determine whether or not there’s any prevalence there to begin with,” added Crabbe. Approximately 300 samples are needed in an area to get an accurate measure.  

Heads can be dropped off at the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation in Moose Jaw at 9 Lancaster Road. “It’s very simple. You go online, you register to have your head tested, and it’ll print out a sheet for you. You bring it here, put it in a bag, put it in the freezer that we have sitting here on the outside of our compound,” said Crabbe.  

He said that they try to let hunters know the condition of the animal within four weeks. They will test for CWD along with other area-specific diseases like Tuberculosis (TB).  

A positive case of TB has been found in a domestic herd near the Manitoba border north of Yorkton, and they are currently testing wild populations in that area.

It is yet to be determined if there are negative health impacts on humans from handling or eating meat from animals infected with CWD. Tuberculosis can be contracted by humans handling infected meats. In either case, precautions should be taken including wearing gloves.  

To register your head for free testing, you can click here to find the form. Testing for the 2023-2024 hunting season is available until January 21st, 2024.  

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