Hunters in British Columbia’s Kootenay region are required to submit deer heads for testing of chronic wasting disease following the discovery of nine cases along the Montana border.
From Sept. 1-Nov. 30 heads of mule and white-tailed deer caught in the wildlife management units of 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7 along the southern B.C. border must be submitted for testing, said a provincial government news release.
B.C.’s Wildlife Health Program is also calling on hunters in other parts of the province, especially the Peace region, to bring deer, moose and elk heads to drop-off locations for CWD testing.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported three cases this year, all in Alberta. There were two cases in white-tailed deer and one elk.
The Montana cases were confirmed in the Libby area, the first time chronic wasting disease has been found west of the Rocky Mountains. The discovery raises concerns deer could be moving between B.C. and Montana, where the disease was first found in 2017.
In 2018, Montana officials detected 26 new cases of CWD among wild deer, including 21 cases along the northern border in every county from Liberty County east to the North Dakota border, and five cases within the CWD-positive area south of Billings. Special hunting regulations are coming soon.
Chronic wasting disease is a progressive, fatal nervous system disease that affects mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose and elk.
The province has been monitoring for the disease since 2002 but has not discovered any cases in more than 3,900 samples.
Anyone encountering a thin animal that is drooling or shows signs of poor co-ordination and stumbling should report it to the provincial Wildlife Health Program at 250-751-3219 or the Report all Poachers and Polluters hotline at 877-952-7277.
For more information on chronic wasting disease in B.C., and for drop-off locations and instructions, visit www.gov.bc.ca/chronicwastingdisease.ca.